… the blogger.

Precisely 21 hours ago, a blog put up this scanned letter:

2009oscarsleakedThe Oscar guys are, of course, vehemently denying the veracity of this document. Their spokesperson Leslie Unger said that no such document ever floats around and that two people in Pricewaterhouse Coopers are still counting the ballots so this can’t be genuine. I’m going to side with Unger but then again, we in India know that PWC isn’t necessarily the sharpest tool in the shed. After all, they were the auditors of Satyam Computer Services and failed to notice “the marginal gap between actual operating profit and the one reflected in the … accounts”. A marginal gap of about Rs. 30 million.

Once upon a time, this sort of thing showed up in newspapers. Breaking news was what newspapers did. Now, however, news has broken into irrelevant little sensationlist capsules on the television (I can’t remember the last time I turned on a tv news channel and didn’t see “Breaking news” flashing luridly at the bottom of the screen) and the print media’s awareness that they can’t get the information to the consumer first has made it lazy. For many Indian journalists, research means searching for a term on Wikipedia and Google because the news is there first. Because some enthusiastic cutlet has reported it on their blog or Twitter feed after overhearing a conversation or attending an event. Today, it’s the bloggers who do investigative journalism, often unwittingly and frequently incompetently but the internet is where we turned to find out how people lived in Iran, what was happening in Iraq, where the gunmen were in Mumbai and, of course, how tackily or bizarrely celebrities dress for the popping flashes. Amidst all the personal whines and compulsive confessions, there are some blogs who are doing what journalists and columnists were supposed to do in an ideal world: write honestly, provide information, have opinions.

The writing on the internet comes with the problem of being unreliable but then, as journalists like Anand Giridharadas have proven, so does the newspaper. What is an advantage with the interactivity of the internet though is that a comment can add to the information originally provided and often correct mistakes. When Reuters printed a doctored photo of a bombed Beirut, for example, it was Little Green Footballs that exposed the Photoshopping and the incompetence of Reuters’ photo desk.

Of course, if PWC and the Oscars scramble to make sure these are not the winners on the 22nd, just to prove that the blogger was a liar, Kate Winslet might just kill Sid Ganis and  the two PWC dungeon rats. Me, I’m hoping it’s a fake because I really don’t want “Slumdog Millionaire” to win Best Picture; not when “Milk” is in the running.