Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Invasion of the "Carpet Bloggers" Part Chartreuse

I'm generally not late to a party, but let me see if I can re-cap and put in my own two cents on this dust-up.

As I previously posted, there is a group of bloggers from California and Tampa who are calling themselves "Team New Orleans", and who are venturing down to our tattered city to "discover the truth" about what's going on down here.

The "Team" leader is someone who calls himself Chartreuse. Apparantly one day his wife received an email from someone over at the ACLU detailing how life in a FEMA trailer camp was and I quote here:
Out of control... the complaints for racial profiling and police harrassment…are starting to take a more military influenced direction….the torture techniques made public with Abu Gharib and Guantanamo …are now becoming routine down here.
...they shut down public religious services and have to sneak in ministers and religious service providers to do private ceremonies in people’s trailers in what residents call the “concentration camps”, you have to show an ID to enter, armed (with machine guns) national guard walking around everywhere like it is a prison, many complain of having to pay the FEMA people for gas and water and other stuff they aren’t supposed to have to pay.
Sounds pretty terrible right.

Well the problems with this email are several. While claiming to be a "Citizen Journalist", Chartreuse will not provide any sourcing on, well, anything.

Secondly, that email goes into the bin along with all of the other myths that have propogated out of New Orleans over the last year. They're all bullshit. Or it's only an event which has been completely blown out of proportion ala "They blew up the levees."

Most of these myths have been properly investigated and finally put to rest.

Enter Chartreuse and his merry band of forthright citizens who all just so happen to have headshots and some of which are armed with highly dubious claims to New Orleans.

Outraged by this email, these posing 'rockstars' mercilessly tried to drum up funding for an excursion to New Orleans to uncover the "TRUTH" and received it from a business blogging company named Know More Media.

No big deal right. Just another media group coming down to feed on our decaying carcass.

Well here's the issues.
  • This "Team New Orleans" is re-sensationalizing old myths about New Orleans in the aftermath, which only deflects focus off of our real problems.
  • They've already generated some great publicity for themselves, something which they deny they are interested in, yet have zero links on their website for their audience to donate time, money or something as simple as writing their congressmen regarding the true major issues we have here in New Orleans.
  • They then pissed off the local blogging community who have been tirelessly working their collective asses off trying to spread the word about the predicament this region is in by blowing off our invitations to the Rising Tide Conference and then declaring that they are, in effect, bringing this new fangled internet world of blogging down to us backwards Southerners and will now discover the "TRUTH".
There are also a few more concerns that I have on the whole "altruistic" and "citizen journalist" aspects of their story.

For one, do a search for Chartreuse on Technorati and the things (tags) that he normally blogs about are as follows: Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, hype, money, music videos, pregnancy, sex, sexy, white girls and YouTube.

Not one mention of New Orleans or Katrina.

Next, do a search on Know More Media and like I said earlier, they are a business that runs blogs about businesses. In fact, they pay their bloggers, and as quoted from their website:
When we at Know More Media learned about Chartreuse’s commitment to send citizen journalists to New Orleans, we immediately knew that we wanted to participate and support this cause. So we committed the following... Paying the video crew to write daily posts about their trip, their interviews, their pictures, their observations, and publishing it on this blog.
And then finally an admission from Easton Ellsworth himself, of Know More Media:
We are a publishing business, and I think most people would agree that as long as our content is original and useful, it's okay to try make a few bucks with it.
At our expense Easton?

Did you try and make a few bucks off of 9/11 too?

You're sounding less and less like "citizen journalists" and more and more like Main Stream Media wannabes.

And to you Chartreuse... are you really doing this to discover the truth... or are you just getting your idiot name out there and getting paid while nibbling at our wounds.

Moreover, Chartreuse, do you and your "Team New Orleans" plan on gutting any houses while you're down here? Y'all working in any soup lines down in St. Bernard?

Wanna know more about NOLA blogger's reactions to this along with a few replies from Chartreuse himself... click here, here, here and here.



Blogger Easton Ellsworth said...

Thanks for responding to me. I do continue to disagree with some of your assertions. I hope we can reach a better understanding of each other in the future. Hopefully NewOrleansTruth.com will help the New Orleans area improve by pointing its readers to excellent resources that show them what is happening and give them ideas on how to improve the situation. I include your blog in that; in fact, we've linked to it from that blog. We'll continue to try to offer people as wide a variety of perspectives as possible, not only on what is and isn't occurring in the New Orleans area, but also on what is and isn't being published about it.

11:53 PM, August 15, 2006  
Blogger TAG said...

Nice and pretty words Easton, but the fact remains that you are digging up old myths in order to earn you money.


12:08 AM, August 16, 2006  
Anonymous Hal said...

How is Know More Media making money by trying to support bloggers writing about New Orleans?

12:19 PM, August 16, 2006  
Blogger Dangle 24-7 said...

Off the subject but of great importance…..Clayton James Cubitt http://operationeden.blogspot.com/2006/08/katrina-every-day.html will be here over the next week making portraits of survivors for use in public service announcements highlighting the need to reach out for help when it all gets to be too much. Anyone who would like to participate, contact: travelingmermaid@gmail.com

12:30 PM, August 16, 2006  
Blogger TAG said...


By Easton's own admission.

I also see you are involved with KNM. So prove to me that this is not a publicity stunt and a way to capitalize on our problems.

There is such an easy solution to all of this but y'all are too hardheaded to see it or it just doesn't fit into your business model.


12:39 PM, August 16, 2006  
Anonymous Hal said...

Hey Tag,

Thanks for the invitation.

There are no ads on our New Orleans blog nor any other way to make money from this blog. We have tried to support causes that we think are important. See this post and thought we were helping the NOLA cause. Some NOLA bloggers have appreciated that based on the comments on Turning up the volume. And some have not.

We clearly did not understand or appreciate all the information made available by the local bloggers. Our mistake. We did see a disconnect between the mainstream media and what Chartreuse received in an email. Like many in this country, we have been faced with trying to understand the mixed signals in the press.

However, since hearing from local bloggers, we have listened, linked and promoted them. We see how our intentions have been misperceived and accept responsibility for the misperception. It is our bad. But our intentions were never to make money from this situation or in any way take advantage of the people or situation in New Orleans.

I cannot prove to you our intent altough I have proved that we will not make any money from blogging about New Orleans. That was never our purpose. For KMM, this is not a publicity stunt.

We may not be able to satisfy you on our purpose and intent, but it does not change what that intent was and is.

We would like to help promote the needs, issues and concerns of the people of New Orleans to larger audience. We hope that is additive. We appreciate your feedback and hope you will seek to understand us.

We have heard the resounding voices of local bloggers and we are listening and trying to echo the truth. We aren't a large network but one more voice may help.

Whether we went about this correctly or not, our purpose in getting involved had nothing to do with a business model.

You raised several fair questions and I hope the answer shed some light on the truth.

1:30 PM, August 16, 2006  
Blogger Easton Ellsworth said...

Hal, thanks for clarifying some things. GulfSails, please re-read the quote from me that you interpreted as an admission that Know More Media's intent with NewOrleansTruth.com is "digging up old myths in order to earn ... money" (your words above). Here's what I said:

"I think most people would agree that as long as our content is original and useful, it's okay to try make a few bucks with it."

By "our content," I meant our network's content in general. I wasn't referring specifically to NewOrleansTruth.com's content. I'm sorry I didn't make that clear. We have several dozen blogs, most of which do have advertising on them. But repeating what Hal has said, we're not planning to make money with NewOrleansTruth.com.

Let's keep the lines of communication open so we can continue to understand one another better.

2:56 PM, August 16, 2006  
Anonymous Yellow Dog Democrat said...

"I'm From New Orleans"

I'm a New Orleans native. Although I haven't lived in New Orleans for over 20 years, I've always considered myself to be a New Orleanian. Most of my extended family remains in Louisiana and I've returned many times over the years -- including three or four times since Katrina. My family has its own supply of Katrina stories, which I won't bother sharing here.

I've always defended my native city from people who would disparage it for any reason.

But something changed after Katrina; something that might not have occurred to the people who never left.

For the past year, whenever someone has asked me where I'm from, my simple response "I'm from New Orleans" has been met with an awkward silence. It's almost like asking innocently about the health of a family member or a close friend, and being told that the person has died.

I remember, years ago, watching Ken Burns' brilliant series on the Civil War. In one episode, he spoke about the Union song "Marching Through Georgia," which was sung to a jaunty, almost happy tempo. But after Sherman's march to the sea, the song's tempo was slowed to almost a dirge. The utter devastation wreaked upon Georgia kept people from singing it in any other way.

How much longer will I be met with an awkward silence after I tell people "I'm from New Orleans"? It's impossible to tell. But it's been almost 150 years since Sherman marched across Georgia. The jaunty, happy tempo hasn't returned yet.

8:23 PM, August 16, 2006  
Blogger Zihuatanejo said...

Are there going to be outsiders are carpetbaggers coming in with hidden agendas and self interests. You bet there will! But is that any reason to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world and believe that every outside group is totally against us and out to get us? I don't think so. Lets let them use us if we can use them and we will both use each other. A sort of use- use win-win situation can be formed. There are many and much worse groups taking advantage of us we speak. For all the money that goes to you from the federal government only a little bit gets to those who need it. You all say the blue tarp thing in the paper where tons of people were making money off of Katrina and you were pay more for the tarp than you did for gold. I don't think these guys are going to rip you off like that. In fact I would sic these guys on the real crooks. Right now we need reforms that bring lots more people into the process. The real heroes moving these issues should be the taxpayers: members of the community and unions, neighborhood groups , bloggers, budget watchdog groups, human rights groups , budget watchdog groups, investigative journalists, environmentalists and land-use activists and whoever else in interested in making our government more transparent. Lets encourage Diversity and create a better and reformed democratic process that benefits the whole community and not just the politically connected.

10:40 PM, August 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to sneak in here to mention that this post will be included in today's edition of the Carnival of Hurricane Relief. ( See http://www.cehwiedel.com/cohr/ ) Earlier posts from this blog and the blogs of other commenters have been included in prior editions of CoHR. One reason I'm "sneaking in" is that I myself live in Orange County, CA -- but I don't want CoHR to become collateral damage from activity by Mr. Ellsworth. I've been putting out CoHR for almost a year now. Today's edition will be the 51st. I recently added a Squidoo Lens to help organize information (see http://www.squidoo.com/cohr ). Please check out both, and consider submitting posts or information. I am especially interested in finding charities to register with Squidoo so that any income (currently zero) generated by the CoHR Squidoo Lens can be directed to where it can help.

11:13 AM, August 17, 2006  
Anonymous Loren Feldman said...

It's pathetic how short sighted you are. You think you are the only ones who care about New Orleans? We will bring more attention to this in a week than you have in a year. That's the truth of the matter, and that's why your angry.

No one is making money off this, and you're accusations are despicable.

1:52 PM, August 17, 2006  
Blogger TAG said...

Loren you don't know what you're talking about sweetie.

I suggest you do a little research...

3:44 PM, August 17, 2006  
Blogger Loki said...

Loren, you are officially unwelcome in New Orleans.

11:39 PM, August 17, 2006  
Anonymous greg said...

I thought they were supposed to be in town by now. I hope I didn't miss the truth coming out. That would suck.

6:34 AM, August 18, 2006  
Anonymous ashley said...

Loren, oh great scholar and enlightener, it should be written "and that's why you're angry" instead of "and that's why your angry."

And, no, I'm not angry. But if the term "fuckmook" fits, well, you know...

10:29 PM, August 18, 2006  
Anonymous Frolic said...

Loren should be happy he's getting links from the New Orleans bloggers. His piddly blog is ranked 51,841st on Technoratie. Gulf Sails is ranked higher at 48, 528.

The mighty b.rox ranks at 25,340.

2:38 PM, August 21, 2006  
Blogger Dread Pirate Yarr said...

To answer the question "when will they be here," this was posted at my blog, Jack of All Blogs, by Chartreuse:

"But I think what you and others missed about the project (which I will not be showing till after all the other ‘anniversary’ stuff goes down’) is that it was not really about the people of New Orleans.

It was about ME verifing things I had heard. Not about publisizing problems or shit like that."

Whether that means they're in town earlier and posting later, or actually posting live from New Orleans, I have no idea.

10:45 AM, August 28, 2006  

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