Update (4:45PM): The AFP has corrected the story. The new version sent out across the wires now reads at the top “ATTENTION – CORRECTION: REMOVES quotes from blogger Marc van der Chijs in paras 15-19 which were mistakenly taken from comments made in a blog dated 2007. Here is a corrected repetition.” In an email to Shanghaiist, an AFP employee wrote: “The story went out this morning so it should be corrected before it is published in any Australian newspapers and web site versions should also be updated and corrected automatically.”
UPDATE 2 (11:40PM): While the AFP has corrected their story, Jane Macartney of The Times is still happily using the quote. (h/t to mickey)
Oh, old media! While us blogs can go off and spout any number of theories on topics like the Youtube block, legit news organizations have to find someone expert-sounding to quote. That’s not a bad policy in itself until – either because they’re super rushed or super lazy – they end up pulling those quotes from us blogs.
A recent AFP newswire story that ran in the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Shanghai’s own Marc van der Chijs:
Marc van der Chijs, a Dutch Internet entrepreneur who co-founded Shanghai-based video-sharing website Tudou.com, offered another theory for the YouTube blockage in a Tuesday message on his website.
“I suspect the real reason might be that YouTube just launched a Chinese version, which would make the site much more accessible for Chinese users,” van der Chijs wrote.
“Not a very smart idea to do that in the middle of the National Congress, and I am surprised nobody at mother company Google’s China offices rang an alarm bell about this before launch.”
California-based Google bought YouTube in 2006 in a 1.65-billion-dollar stock deal.
“I don’t like sites to be blocked; even not those of our competitors,” van der Chijs wrote. “But, it will be an interesting discussion point for our Tudou board meeting tomorrow.”
Interesting theory! Only… Youtube hasn’t just launched a Chinese version, and we’re pretty sure the last National Congress (we believe it was the 十七大) ended almost two years ago. So why would van der Chijs even think of putting the two and two together? Maybe because:
The article from the Sydney Morning Herald quotes a piece from my blog from October 18, 2007 (when YouTube was also not available for a few days) and says I posted this yesterday to explain why YouTube would be blocked. Because it’s a syndicated article it will likely appear in a lot of other newspapers tomorrow (or today, depending in which time zone you are in). The content is total bullshit. There is no National Congress going on, nor did YouTube just launch its Chinese version. Check your facts before you post an article like this Mr. Chapman. Just Googling and copy/pasting is only what bloggers do, right?
Take that traditional media! In all fairness though, we’d like to point out that most bloggers know how to check a time stamp.