File this in the corner of your mind where you're a least a little concerned about editorial standards at the new AOL, and what they might mean for local news coverage at the Patch sites and at AOL acquisitions like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch. OK, so here we go. Alexia Tsotsis, the former LA Weekly blogger now writing at TechCrunch, wrote a story at SWSX about "The Source Code," Jake Gyllenhaal's new movie for Summit Entertainment. Tsotsis was flacked onto the story by somebody at AOL's Moviefone. All good so far. But Summit didn't like the story, passed the word to Moviefone, and the AOL unit asked another AOL unit — Tsotsis in this case — to change her already published story to "tone it down."
I don't know what the editorial culture of AOL allows — at some publications, that would be the end of the Moviefone guy. What Tostsis did was publish the offending note and say, essentially, screw you buddy. The background is that TechCrunch used to be independent in ownership as well as soul, and had vowed to readers to resist meddling by AOL. So far, the stream of comments is a mix of support for Tsotsis's action, cynicism toward AOL, derision aimed at Tsotsis for being "petulant," and criticism of her use of the term blowjob as a brazen bid for traffic. There's also a truly idiotic side debate on whether it's OK for men, but not women, to say blowjob in a story.
For me, the last word goes to Alexia:
The most ridiculous part about this whole episode is that the post in question wasn’t even that “snarky,” whatever the hell that means. I mean it’s not like I wrote “Movie Studio Creates ‘Game’ In Order To Get People To Spam Their Friends On Facebook” in the headline.
* Another last word: Moviefone responds: "We take editorial integrity seriously at Moviefone, and it's painful to be depicted as a pawn of the studios when that is emphatically not the case."