Broadway Joe or Drunk Joe?

Broadway Joe or Drunk Joe? Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes and one of the most influential magazine editors of the past 15 years, has started a blog. Yes, it’s with somewhat ironic (translation: obvious) timing considering this issue’s cover story, that his regular column gets augmented with a new blog, but I think whenever someone with Rich’s stature, skills and smarts starts blogging, it’s a great day for the blogosphere.

Nevertheless, one of his first posts seems, uh, like someone has taped a sign on his backside that says, “kick me.” So, I volunteer.

Rich says bloggers remind him of the young Joe Namath. If bloggers remind Rich Karlgaard of the young Joe Namath, this week’s Forbes cover story reminds me of the old Joe Namath.

I can understand the need to blow air-kisses in the direction of tech bloggers among whom are some important opinion-influencers in an important advertising market segment.

Yet rather than admit the cover story is greatly flawed (at least Namath admitted he was drunk), Karlgaard defends it as “brave” story and describes it as “righteous.”

Self-righteous, perhaps.

If Karlgaard is going to praise blogs for their democracy and free-market capitalism, then, geez, at least he should admit that Forbes editors were wrong in suggesting corporate lawyers go after bloggers and ISPs with frivolous lawsuits.* I can’t help but believe there are at least two late, great magazine legends named Forbes who are spinning in their graves over that advice.

*I am in no way suggesting that bloggers who are engaged in criminal activities (like securities fraud described in the article) should not be prosecuted or sued. I agree, the SEC and other authorities should go after such fraudulent and, frankly, criminal bloggers with the full force of the law. But the Forbes sidebar advice is presented in a way that is, no doubt, being circled this week by hundreds of CEOs and sent to corporate legal departments with notes that say something like, “Hey, let’s try this!” with regard to any blogger who may be “attack-blogging” the company with a legitimate complaint. A company that attempts this could do themselves more harm than good.

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