Over the weekend, Michael Arrington (of the popular tech blog TechCrunch) caught Valleywag trying to confirm a rumor. A sharp man, Michael decided to out the investigative reporting before any, well, reporting had been done. He published an e-mail I sent to one startup founder (the head of the trust-monitoring startup Rapleaf — OMG irony!), who only sent it to Michael as an FYI.
Had I known I was writing for Michael's blog, I would have added this context: It's unlikely that Michael has serious conflict-of-interest problems. But a reader showed me a comment (basically reading "Michael Arrington has an undisclosed investment in Rapleaf") that Michael deleted from TechCrunch.
Since most bloggers leave silly stuff like that up, and just reply with "That's so wrong I won't bother correcting you," I thought the deletion was fishy. But thanks to that e-mail, I knew Michael was clean and Ii avoided posting an embarrassing rumor. Valleywag gets to stay honest, and Michael still gets to attack those goll-darn investigative gossip bloggers — everybody wins!
And that was no mass e-mail — I'm far too lazy to assemble a "send to" list. That was just one note to a startup founder.