TOE-TOUCHING. One of...

TOE-TOUCHING. One of the cliches in new media circles is the newbie technology reporter, the person who has not been following blogs and online media for a long time and who comes into the complex story in medias res and is consequently easily confused. Today's newbie example appears to be otherwise experienced New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye, who managed to pack three different errors into a single blog item on the Yearly Kos conference. She wrote:

at the first Kos convention, only one Democratic presidential candidate, Bill Richardson, showed up. (Unless you count former Va. Gov. Mark Warner, who tried to court the crowd with a lavish $10,000 reception that some found obscene.)

Actually, Tom Vilsack and Wesley Clark were there as well, along with Warner and Richardson, and all four were pegged as possible 2008 contenders by Seelye's colleague Adam Nagourney in his conference report. And the Warner party reportedly cost more than $50,000, not $10,000.

Those are quibbles compared to this doozy, however. Wrote Seelye:

While they are all still coming for the main show, it turns out that Senator Clinton is not attending the break-out session. Her campaign says it told the Kos organizers a week ago that she would not be attending the individual session, but the organizers did not announce it until tonight, at the opening dinner. The announcement drew big boos from the audience.

But hey, this is a tough crowd. Later in the evening, they booed Mother Teresa.

According to Ben Wikler of Avaaz.org, who was in the audience for that boo, "Mother Teresa was an answer to a pub trivia question about three people in the 20th century who were made U.S. citizens by an act of Congress." The boos were from one team of pub trivia players toward other teams. "It was because they were booing each other. It has nothing to do with Mother Teresa," he explained. "People were booing each other. They were also throwing paper at each other." It was late, dinner and speeches were done for the day, and people had had a few drinks and were having fun playing a game. It had nothing to do with people's sentiments toward Mother Teresa.

Another blogger confirms Wickler's account:

that was during a PUB QUIZ, and people were yelling because they got the question wrong. Thanks for the absolute slander. I'm sure to see it become wingnut mythology within minutes today, something we'll hear for the next 20 years.

It's a tough crowd, yes. But they're not wound up ad angry all the time. Sometimes they just want to have fun, too.

--Garance Franke-Ruta

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