Summary: Disclosure of conflicts of interest isn’t enough, in fact in may make matter worse. But conflicts of interest may also be inevitable. Integrity is what matters, but that’s hard to measure.
Disclosure: I work for SiliconAngle, a TechCrunch competitor.
I love transparency. I think it’s an important for governments, and institutions like the press, to be as transparent as reasonably possible. I also agree with Jay Rosen that if the “view from nowhere” – the faux-objectivity of the mainstream press – were replaced by “this is where I’m coming from” we’d all be better off. Everyone has biases, and it’s better to get those out of the way than to pretend they don’t exist.
But transparency isn’t a cure-all.
In the debate over Michael Arrington’s “Crunch” branded venture capital fund, many suggest that Arrington if discloses to his potential conflicts of interest, and therefore his biases, that will be good enough. In fact, that might be better than pretending to be objective. But is this the case?