The Vivek Kundra conviction for petty theft gets major media attention today with a new report from ABC News. They note that the disclosure of Kundra’s record has given some of the people who should be his biggests supporters some pause, and wanting to hear more than “youthful indiscretion” as an excuse for a 21-year-old man. And ABC actually credits the original published source:
As the government’s chief information officer, he has plans to put vital information online for the public to see, cut waste from government operations, and save taxpayers money. He wants to use things like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to speed the flow of information between Washington and the rest of the nation.
But first, he has to get past some nagging legal details. Though he’s not a target, the FBI is investigating his old office at the District of Columbia, where he was chief technology officer. Three members of his old staff there have been charged with bribery.
And one other thing: when Kundra was 21 years old, records show, he was caught stealing four shirts from a J.C. Penney store. …
The shoplifting incident was first reported on a blog called Hot Air.
Silicon Valley should be hailing Kundra’s appointment as White House CIO but …
But reporters, watchdog groups and information-technology specialists still ask about that perplexing 1996 shoplifting charge from Penney’s.
“We wish Vivek and his White House handlers would come forth,” wrote Eric Krangel of Silicon Valley Insider. “Because right now, we not only think Vivek is a petty thief, we think he’s a petty thief with bad taste in clothes.”
ABC becomes the first major media outlet to credit Hot Air’s reporting on this conviction first. The Washington Post and the New York Times both failed to credit the original report. Kudos to ABC for keeping on top of the reporting in this case — which, considering the technology spin on this story, seems a little ironic.
More importantly, though, ABC is pursuing the story. I wish more of the media would do so.
Update: Which makes this all the more ironic:
Major media companies are increasingly lobbying Google to elevate their expensive professional content within the search engine’s undifferentiated slush of results.
Many publishers resent the criteria Google uses to pick top results, starting with the original PageRank formula that depended on how many links a page got. But crumbling ad revenue is lending their push more urgency; this is no time to show up on the third page of Google search results. And as publishers renew efforts to sell some content online, moreover, they’re newly upset that Google’s algorithm penalizes paid content.
“You should not have a system,” one content executive said, “where those who are essentially parasites off the true producers of content benefit disproportionately.”
I agree. Parasites like the NYT and WaPo should not benefit disproportionately. I’m kidding, I’m kidding, but if “content executives” want to toss around the term “parasites”, then maybe they should be sure the term doesn’t apply to themselves.