Editorials

Editorial: Bleeding Cool’s Unprofessional Behavior

bleeding cool logoBleeding Cool is not known for being the New York Times of the comic book news world. In fact, it’s much more like the New York Post, stirring rumor and controversy and presenting it as fact. And when it comes to DC Comics you can bet that Bleeding Cool, and it’s editor/chief correspondent Rich Johnson will twist and pull the story to slam DC. While he has occasionally come up to bat for DC, Rich is also the one who likes to light the fire when DC has messed up (and it has, pro-DC as I am, I admit that there was a weekend not too long ago that was FUBAR for DC in the public relations department). And when he makes a mountain out of a dirt clod, it harms not only DC’s reputation, but that of the fanbase and those of us who report on comic book media through his unethical and unprofessional behavior.

And now he’s done it again.

Recently, Newsarama editor Lucas Siegel released a series of tweets that blasted DC Comics. Apparently DC, who recently gave an exclusive about 3D covers and a third weekly, refused to talk about certain subjects until a later time. What DC did is perfectly acceptable; media companies have done this before without a fuss from reporters. Siegel instead went into full-on temper tantrum mode; screeching that Marvel will now be getting more coverage than DC due to this perceived slight. He gloated that recently a former Newsarama editor who was working in the DC Public Relations Department was now at Archie instead.

Lucas Siegel
Lucas Siegel, editor, Newsarama

This is disgusting and unprofessional behavior that smacks of entitlement. Sorry Siegel but DC doesn’t have to give you what you want when you demand it. If it’s a potential spoiler risk (a lesson they learned with Damian’s untimely, and unnecessary, death), DC doesn’t want to talk about it. In turn, they don’t want the creative teams to talk about it. It’s kosher, and that’s the way it’s been. So don’t be throwing a tantrum because they told you “not now.” They just gave you two exclusives, that should be something. Secondly, your temper tantrum is unprofessional in ANY profession. Thirdly, your childish actions will risk you not being able to get information from DC about anything in the future. Sure that might play into your present “Marvel will get all the attention” scheme, as you so childishly said on Twitter; but in the end people also want more DC news and will go elsewhere to get it. Last time I checked you needed readers for ad revenue, right? Not only is this behavior unprofessional, it’s unethical; if DC starts getting constant bad press from Newsarama from this supposed snub, Newsarama will have sacrificed any attempt at impartiality in a childish revenge attempt for not getting what they wanted.

So what do Bleeding Cool and Rich Johnson do? Do they condemn such behavior? No, they run an article and try to make DC look like the bad guy (please do not click the link to the article,

Rich Johnson
Rich Johnson, Founder/Editor/Chief Correspondent, Bleeding Cool

we do not want to give Rich the click bait he wants; instead watch this video of puppies). This is  also unprofessional, because it’s stating a bald faced lie about the situation. What’s funny is that Bleeding Cool listed the tweets, which obviously shows Siegel is the one behaving like a child. They try to spin it, painting DC as a bully that is constantly blundering with the press and public relations. They ignore the simple reality that what DC did is perfectly fine. Ironically, in the comments section of the article, several commentators have pointed this out.

Of course, bashing DC Comics has been lucrative for Bleeding Cool. As of now, slamming DC for perceived slights towards fans or creative teams has been very popular, as one can see in various comment sections. Also, Bleeding Cool has a major conflict of interest as it is financed by Avatar Press, which automatically raises questions of objectivity on any article about rival companies. By attempting to legitimize an unprofessional temper tantrum by another journalist and slamming a company who was actually in the right, Bleeding Cool has engaged in unprofessional behavior of its own. This would make more sense if these two reporters worked for a gossip magazine, a supermarket tabloid or Fox News. But given that they are presenting themselves as comic book journalists, who have to at least try to be impartial, they have failed in their obligations to the public and must be condemned for their behavior.

We journalists should be better than to smear a company because they said they weren’t willing to provide what we wanted just yet. We should be better than throwing a temper tantrum on social media about it. And we shouldn’t smear a company just because that smear brings clicks from those who would bash said company at the drop of a hat.

Newsarama’s Lucas Siegel and Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnson have failed in their duties as journalists and editors; they should suffer consequences for their actions.

And now some puppies as therapy to calm us down.
And now some puppies as therapy to calm us down.

About the author

Daniel Kalban

Daniel is the writer of The Eagle webcomic and aspires to one day join his favorite writers at the Big 2. Until then, he keeps plugging away at various projects, as well as serving as a reporter for Word of the Nerd on various subjects, especially the DC Comics "beat".

Contact him at danielk@wordofthenerdonline.com

4 Comments

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  • I’ve never cared much for Bleeding Cool and I really didn’t have an opinion either way about Newsarama. However now my opinions are certainly changed. I agree that as journalists we should strive for a higher standard.

  • I believe you’re reading far more into it than was intended. It was a slight piece, an aside, it was meant to be funny more than anything.

    We don’t stir rumour and controversy and present it as fact. We stir rumour and controversy and present it as rumour and controversy.

    And I do not twist stories and use them to slam DC. I have no anti-DC bias whatsoever.

    In this case it wasn’t Newsarama and certain subjects. It was Newsarama and any subject. I thought that was newsworthy enough to reproduce, and it is part of a series of issues that DC have had with a number of media folk, from CBR and the Bobbie And Bob column, Fast Co Create and the Before Watchmen article and Outhousers. I thought this was certainly worth adding to the list.

    But no company were slammed. I received no notes or instructions on the piece from Avatar who give me a pretty long leash. You say “We journalists should be better than to smear a company because they said they weren’t willing to provide what we wanted just yet.”

    Well you seem to have smeared Bleeding Cool with a number of statements that are blatantly untrue. But that’s okay, I won’t write an article about it.

    • If I may be polite, yet blunt, you are criticizing DC for what is accepted standard operating procedure for any media company.

      Not to mention that Outhousers etc have also been incredibly rude to DC. Just because DC snubs them or doesn’t hand over things when asked isn’t grounds for being bigger jerks and smearing them. It’s the guy at Newsarama that is acting entitled, it is he who is the villain of the story because he’s throwing a tantrum for not getting his way. DC is in the right in this.

      Plus not letting DC get a word in edgewise is of course going to put them on the defensive; if you’re going to be rude to them, do you think they will want to talk to you>

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