mybottlesup

Think the Drama Doesn’t Affect You? Think Again.

The last few days have been a bit rough in the blogosphere as many were rocked by finding out Nic, aka My Bottle’s Up fabricated a story regarding the TSA “kidnapping” her son for a full 10 minutes despite their clear policy to never separate a parent and child. With no hesitation do I use the word ‘fabricated’ because as of the time I write this post, TSA has updated their blog on this, and have now released ALL footage related to the incident, from every angle, and at no time was her son ever removed from her presence, period.

Oddly enough, the worst part in all this wasn’t finding out she lied. Yes, it was disturbing.  After all, before this, I followed Nic myself, and liked her sense of humor. I respected her.

Yet worse than discovering she lied was discovering how sadly apathetic the blogosphere could be.

People twittered saying she fucked up, leave it alone, why does anyone care?

Blog With Integrity, whose badge she displayed on her blog (no small irony there), posted a statement taking no stand at all.

Other bloggers blogged, many with no real opinion either.

It has actually gotten to the point that those of us choosing to voice our opinions are being called out, at times rather rudely.

This is truly disturbing beyond words to me that people actually think this doesn’t and shouldn’t affect them.

The blogosphere is at it’s heart a community. An incredibly diverse, rather disjointed and often dysfunctional family of sorts consisting of those who enjoy writing and sharing their lives and opinions with the world. There are relationships among bloggers, and between writers and readers that on some very basic level must contain an element of trust to be maintained. Writers must trust those they link to to be accurate, and readers must trust the content they are consuming and the emotional relationship they develop with the writer are what they are represented to be.

Trust which is shattered when a blogger chooses to lie to their audience and to their fellow bloggers. That breech of trust makes everyone question whether anyone they read or know online can be believed, and in the end that affects how the blogging community is perceived as a whole.

While one can argue a few bad apples shouldn’t spoil the barrel, I point to the Blogging With Integrity movement itself as a case in point. Clearly many ARE worried that the ethical lapses of a few could spoil it for us all for the pledge to even exist.

Bloggers are at a disadvantage to begin with in terms of credibility. Traditional journalists are assumed by their title to be strictly reporters, with no bias, and with all the resources and skills to fact-check everything before they put a piece to press. That they are human and naturally will be biased, and that many news pieces have been printed and retracted due to errors or untruths is of no consequence. At the end of the day, bloggers are people behind a screen, and are not considered reliable. (A fact I’ve seen many a blogger rail about.) One of the biggest difference between bloggers and journalists comes down to accountability. A reporter fucks up on their facts, they can get fired.

Who is the blogger accountable to?

In my opinion, we are all accountable to each other. The blogosphere is and should continue to be a self-policing entity. That doesn’t mean letting bad behavior go without comment for the sake of peace or ‘respect’. It means doing as we have for the most part always done, and calling out those who do things to damage the reputation of all of us involved- those who fabricate, those who plagiarize, those who attempt to take advantage of the community for their own personal gain.

That’s not to say this should be abused. There has been behavior this weekend that clearly crossed boundaries. It’s one thing to call someone out on your blog, it’s something else to potentially put someone in danger by posting things like their home address online. There is a difference between policing and vigilantism.

At the end of the day, all bloggers have are their reputations, both on their own and as part of the community they participate in. When one part of the structure becomes unstable, it throws off the balance for all the parts, not just those closest to the weak link.

The only way we can maintain our integrity as a whole is to be willing to take a stand, and not sweep things under the rug after we’ve shot the messenger. It is not just the wrong-doer’s reputation at stake here, it’s yours as well.

Why the @mybottlesup Story Really Chaps My Ass

Yesterday a fairly well respected mommy blogger began a series of Tweets that went wild with retweets nearly from the second it was posted- TSA allegedly broke it’s own rule about never separating a parent and child, and ripped a baby from the arms of his distraught mother, taking him away from her and out of her sight for a full 10 minutes because of a pacifier clip that went off in the security checkpoint. She posted the very emotional story on her blog, describing in detail all that happened. Mothers were outraged, and everyone sympathized with her fury over this mistreatment as she called for heads to roll. She encouraged people to contact news organizations and TSA on her behalf.

This morning’s light however, showed a different story. A very, VERY different story.

Not to take this sitting down, TSA responded to the firestorm with the security footage of the Atlanta airport that morning. Footage that quite clearly shows that the incident detailed on her Twitter stream and blog never actually occurred.

Yes, she and her son were there. Yes, they were briefly detained and she was searched, but the mysterious phone call she made when the agents weren’t looking, the separation of mother and son..None of it is seen on the camera footage.

Footage which is clearly dated and timestamped, without any more than a second or two’s jump as they show film from the next camera when she moves.

Footage which ends with her clearly walking away with her son after she is searched with no lapse at all in time.

The best explanation she seems capable of offering in her response refers to things that supposedly aren’t shown (bolding for emphasis)-

in the video, it looks as though my son is playing happily in his stroller while i am being searched with a wand. obviously this is the big discrepancy with my story, since he was not in my sight at that time, and one that i too am thoroughly looking into. neither of the two phone calls i placed while seated in security are in the video either. what is shown in the video is incomplete as it leaves out when the security agent took my son to a separate area and out of my sight. this matter is one that is being handled between my family and the TSA.

In short, she seems to be accusing TSA of doctoring the footage. An extremely serious charge.

So what’s the real story? If TSA was covering this up, why? It’s not like they haven’t fucked up and had to apologize for things before. More likely, what motivation would she have for lying?

I have seen it mentioned several times now that some believe that she truly believed this happened, and that her anxiety caused her to hallucinate.

I find it more interesting that this is never the case when other bloggers online have been ousted as frauds. As Paul said in a comment on his post about this today, had this been a man who posted a story like this, he’d have been ripped to shreds by the blogging community, no questions asked. I’ve actually been a bit surprised at the huge number of people who have been quite adamant that this should be swept under the rug and allowed to blow over without comment.

I understand compassion, I understand wanting to protect your own, but I also understand the damage done to the credibility of the blogging community by bullshit publicity stunts like this.

I’m not trying to imply anything, but when you want to be taken seriously, you might not aught to be posting stuff like this on the internet less than 24 hours after the incident…

money2

crazymoney2

You wouldn’t want to look like you were…I dunno, trying to make money off something that caused you, in your own words, to have an anxiety attack and horribly traumatized you…

moneycrazy

It has dawned on me as I write this that it should be simple enough for Nic to prove at least part of her story is true, if she so choses- posting a picture of her call log would prove the calls she claims are missing from the security footage. I’m raising the suggestion, but I doubt it will be taken up.

Insanity indeed.