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While I don’t think anger and writing mix well, I’m going to take my chances here. In an act of childishness and just outright douchebaggery, Richard Blakeley from Gizmodo got his hands on a TV-B-Gone remote and caused chaos at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The TV-B-Gone remote will turn off just about any TV with an active LED port, and that’s basically what Blakeley did. He made his way through CES, turning off televisions and ruining presentations and exhibits left and right. The Motorola Press Conference in particular suffered from his actions, as the representative on stage had to apologize and improvise when the monitors continuously shut off during his presentation.

The internet is already ablaze with opinions on the situation and I’m firmly in the “it was stupid and immature” crowd. I’ll freely admit that the idea is funny – I do have a sophomoric sense of humor – but not nearly funny enough to justify the hassle that the Motorola rep or any of the other victims were put through.

A lot of people view bloggers as amateurish and unprofessional when compared to “real” journalists and it’s garbage like this that gives them that impression. CES only recently started granting access to bloggers – and it’s still limited – so the timing on this couldn’t be worse. Even if CES still allows bloggers in the future, it still hurts us all in the public eye.

This was a real step back for everyone involved.

Via FiringSquad

UPDATE: According to Webware, the CEA (which runs CES) had this to say about the situation:

“We have been informed of inappropriate behavior on the show floor by a credentialed media attendee from the Web site Gizmodo, owned by Gawker Media. Specifically, the Gizmodo staffer interfered with the exhibitor booth operations of numerous companies, including disrupting at least one press event. The Gizmodo staffer violated the terms of CES media credentials and caused harm to CES exhibitors. This Gizmodo staffer has been identified and will be barred from attending any future CES events. Additional sanctions against Gizmodo and Gawker Media are under discussion.”

So it looks like the guy is banned for life. A fitting punishment, if you ask me.

27 COMMENTS

  1. What a foolish act. So much work and effort goes in to a presentation before the actual event. Stunts like that waste others peoples time, effort and causes embarresment to individuals just doing their job. I sense not a lot of concern for consequence was applied when this stunt was thought up.

  2. Discombobulator,

    I agree with you 150%.

    John,

    While it may be marginally funny initially, when he starts to turn the sets off during the presentations, it quickly loses its humor.

    The worst thing here is that blogs and bloggers who are trying very hard to be respected as members of the media will suffer because of this.

    Gizmodo is a very large blog part of an even larger network, so while I definitely believe they owe an apology to CES and the presenters they disrupted, I also firmly believe they should apologize to the bloggers out there who will no doubt be affected adversely by this stunt.

    Chad-

  3. Actually, Bloggers pretty much will never be journalists. They may have interesting opinions, and I may find their commentary on the world valuable, but they aren’t journalists. Just as talented amateurs in any given fields are not their professional counterparts.

  4. Actually,

    Thanks for the comment, however I disagree with your outlook.

    The definition of journalist according to Wikipedia is as the follows:

    A journalist is a person who practices journalism, the gathering and dissemination of information about current events, trends, issues and people.

    Reporters are one type of journalist. They create reports as a profession for broadcast or publication in mass media such as newspapers, television, radio, magazines, documentary film, and the Internet. Reporters find sources for their work, their reports can be either spoken or written, and they are often expected to report in the most objective and unbiased way to serve the public good. A Columnist writes pieces which appear regularly in newspapers or magazines.

    Depending on the context, the term journalist also includes various types of editors and visual journalists, such as photographers, graphic artists, and page designers.

    If respect is given to the subject matter being discussed, and the individual does his or her homework on the topic before diving in head first, there is no reason that a “blogger” can not be added next to “reporter” and “columnist” underneath the category of journalist.

    There are many different types of journalists out there, and I am sure you would agree that some are better than others. The same applies to writers who chose to publish their articles via a blogging application.

    To those who say that a crucial part of being a journalist requires that you check your opinions and personal flare at the door, I say this; it was not long ago when reporting sports news was bland and lacked the colorful comedic delivery we have become accustomed to today.

    ESPN changed all of that in the mid to early 90’s, and you would be hard pressed to find a room full of viewers who would tell you that ESPN does not employ talented reports and journalists.

    Chad-

  5. Jamie,

    I simply cited the definition of the word as an introduction, and proceeded to follow it up with several points of my own.

    Feel free to pull it from another location if you like, but being the blogger that I am, Wikipedia just seemed so damn tempting.

    Chad-

  6. The idea, albeit stupid, is hilarious. The exectuion of said idea was horrible. Ruining a press event, and disrupting someone in the middle of guitar hero, is just flat out rude.

    Something to pull on friends who are show-offs with their new electronics, not at a major electronics show.

  7. When journalism first began there was no such thing as professional journalists. Journalist Bloggers of today are just the beginnings.

  8. An articulate and well structured journalistic response like this makes the incident, to me, even more funny. I laughed almost as much while reading it. Thank you. It seems to me that the purpose would be to deter him and others from behaving in a similar way by banning him specifically. I’m sure that he knew that was coming – if not, then indeed, he may be a moron. But it’s good fun to have those around just the same.

    J

  9. Jamie,
    From dictionary.com (my printed dictionary had the same definition), ‘journalism’ is defined as:

    “the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or of conducting any news organization as a business.”

    A journalist, as defined from the same sources, is merely one who practices journalism.

    If you want to go back even further (and Wikipedia is great for this), the French ‘journal’ is rooted in Latin for ‘diurnal’, or daily. Since a great many popular blogs are updated daily, even several times a day, often by just one person, a blogger is truer to a “journalist” then a professional reporter who comes out with an article or two a week.

    While citing Wikipedia as a reference sounds like an unprofessional act to you, please know that many of the sources we have used (and still use today) for our facts and figures had to gain that credibility. Just because Wikipedia is a collaborative effort of a great many people, does not mean that it is an inaccurate source of information.

    Regarding the prank, I’m of the opinion that the prank was a bit over the line. While humorous in some circles, mostly those whose jobs were not affected by this event, a greater majority took offense and a ban from all future CES events was warranted.

    That being said, I would hope that they do not try this again at Macworld 08. I’m looking forward to the Gizmodo coverage of it since I won’t be there in person. Just leave the uni remotes at home, please.

    -Cheers

  10. Why would gizmodo screw itself like this?

    as for the commenting rules. Whats hate speech? Who decides what is intelligent? What are the selected keywords. Who is ripten, and what are the rules? Who is anyone? Your welcome

  11. I’d be shocked if at least one lawsuit didn’t come out of this. After all, if you’re doing a demo, and you lose potential clients because it looks like your software sucks, you’ve lost revenue.

    The biggest problem, for me, is that the guy obviously doesn’t care about the people doing the presentations. I’ve done lots, and do well I think, but it can get stressful when things aren’t working.

    It’s unfair to place people in those kinds of situations, not to mention cruel, whatever you might think of the corporations that pay their salaries.

  12. All of Gizmodo should be banned. Whats to stop them from hiring some douchebag off the street next year to go to CES for them and to pull another stupid prank. He gets banned but so what as he’s not a member of staff.

    If all Gizmodo was banned then it would send a message and provide a deterant to this kind of asshatedness. This is after all how they get journo’s to behave so well at white house briefings, step out of line and your whole media outlet will be banned.

  13. the vendors who were affected at the show should sue. A lot of time and money goes into setting up a booth for the show and Richard Blakeley should be responsible for his actions. Gizmodo should also have to cough up – especially with Editor Brian Lam’s response to the affair.

  14. Helps if your post uses the correct terminology.

    “turn off just about any TV with an active LED port”

    That would be an IR port.

    That aside I thought the Gizmodo stunt was one of the funniest things I’d seen in a long time – true the continual attack on Motorola was mean but then again who knows what grude the B Gone operator had against the company.

    I quite like the way that they decided to interact and indulge in some school boy pranks – a bit of a change from the norm where bloggers are just regurgitating news from other sources, and I doubt that it caused any long term problems for attendees. Look at Bill G’s demo of Windows when he plugged a scanner in and it BSOD’s right there on stage with the world watching. Still sold a lot of copies of Windows didnt he.

  15. Jaime,

    just because he used wikipedia as one reference to build his comment on, doesnt mean that you should deny the importance of what he is saying right away. The points are valid.

    Dont be so fast at judging next time ;)

  16. Lighten up. You take yourselves far too seriously. A good presenter is able to improvise and make her point without monitors and other aids (crutches). I think the humor you fail to appreciate is at least as needed as a few suits hawking their over-priced gadgets (crap). Maybe you should consider reading a book for a change. I am sure no remote will turn it off and maybe venturing outside of your techno shells would do you some good.

  17. My god you are a bunch ow whiny little peckers.

    It was a prank. A funny prank that might have crosse the line but honestly, I could care less about Motorola.
    As for the ‘blogger’s who are afraid how this is going to affect them; it wont you egomaniacs. Chances are most people dont care about your little blog about Brainfart, Iowa.

    As for credibility, the jerkoff who pulled the stunt in no way affects the blogs I read.

    I still believe and respect teh bloggers I read a lot more than I do the printed media BS we are fed with.

    Our media lies to us non-stop and actively participates in our governments propaganda campaigns (see our last two wars: Iraq/Afhanistan and Yugoslavia). The government lied about the reasons for war as well as our involvement (the albanian terrorists we armed and trained in teh balkans were number 1 on the CIA list for most powerful terrorist group in the world) and helped drum up public support for wars. Based on that alone we should never believe a word ABC, CNN and others utter.

    THAT is more important than some juvenile prank.

    Gizmodo’s act will not affect me because CES is an industry show. It is meaningless compared to how big media lies to us.

  18. @Jaime, hehe

    This is an odd one and I know people, such as Chad are very professional in the way tho conduct business. Chad, I would say, is a Journalist. I however am not.

    I am a blogger and I am very happy to be one. There is a huge scale of people who blog. 7 year olds can blog and people paid huge sums per day can blog. Hence why in my opinion it’s all very grey-scale.

    Saying that, most people find it much easier to say bloggers are simply not journalists, it’s easy, and stops them having to worry. They are noobs, as gamers, we can ignore noobs.

    It’s a tough one, I think it’s down to where you would want to be when you are “successful”. I would love to be doing this, maybe getting free games, free cars, free house etc, but essentially what I do now, talking about games, playing games and writing my opinion about games and gaming news. Ok…. that’s not much different to where most people want to end up.

    And on that note, I’ll stop this long, pointless ramble and just say that if you want to be a journalist you can be, if you want to be a blogger you can be, and if you want to be either or none, you can be that too. For the Games!

    All that, and I didn’t actually say anything. The power of the pen people.

  19. The fact is that Richard Blakeley, the Gizmoron in question, was issued a press pass for CES, not a “blogger” credential. If he wasn’t a journalist (and he certainly wasn’t, he was, at best, a saboteur), he was definitely impersonating one.

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