craigconnects: Connecting the World for the Common Good
contact

Amber's "Ambush" – the Point Was What?

CNN's Amber Lyon has been crowing for weeks about scoring an ambush interview against me. Boy, if she only knew that successfully ambushing me is about as big an accomplishment as stealing nuts from one of the birds or squirrels I like to Tweet about.

Here's the deal. As old time craigslisters know, I'm a hard-wired nerd with symptoms I'm told border on Asperger's Syndrome. That means I'm too trusting, often socially inept, have difficulty shifting focus, and frequently am unsure what to do in situations others handle easily. And I don't have a normal person's ability to sense when someone might be looking to take advantage of these shortcomings.

Amber approached me after an event where I had just spoken about stuff like getting real support for our troops and veterans — a cause I care about and support whenever I can. She said because "I'm the Craig in craigslist," she expected me to have all the answers on the spot about anything to do with the company. Well, I don't. Jim Buckmaster, our CEO, has been running craigslist for the last 10 years. I am a customer service rep, and I still love being connected to our users and trying to help people. But I have no role in managing the company's operations because basically (a) I suck as a manager, and (b) while overall company direction matters to me as founder and a board director,  the deal was to hire good, trustworthy people and then get outta the way.

If Amber had done her homework, she would have known ambushing me with questions I am not qualified to answer, or even the right person to ask, would not get CNN's viewers the accurate information they deserve.

So I should have said, "Hey, thanks, but Jim's the guy your viewers should hear from." Instead, I froze and looked clueless, and, worse than that, uncaring. Clueless I definitely am sometimes, but not uncaring. Neither is craigslist and neither is Jim. I know our folks have worked very hard to identify and do the right thing with legitimate versus illegitimate adult service ads. From what I can tell that's a lot more difficult to do perfectly than is being portrayed by CNN and other media. I know we're also reaching out to lots of concerned groups and experts for help on these issues, which sure makes sense to me.

Meanwhile, Amber, CNN, and others are depicting Jim and I as profiteers oblivious to the welfare of women and children. Anyone that's followed us over all these years knows that's not at all what we're about. In reality, we're both pretty obsessed with trying to make the world a better place, and neither have much interest in possessions or fancy lifestyles. Me, I'll stick to my causes, like doing right by our veterans, keeping the faith on net neutrality, and working toward better governance. And hopefully be a little more perceptive about the true intent of reporters I talk to.

Wish me luck, I'll need it.

Tags: , | 18 Responses »

18 Responses to Amber's "Ambush" – the Point Was What?

Genuine says:

Thanks for this post Craig. Most people fail to see the human side of things and this allows us a look into your human side and that's a good thing. Good Luck!

Alicia says:

Beautifully said, Craig! I'll continue to tell them to back off, in my own letter-writing way. Hopefully all the voices of your supporters will be heard, and soon!

JamesKirk says:

Without even having to go into divulging personal information, you (nor anyone, ftm) should have to defend their actions, or reactions to being ambushed. The really sad note here is not whether you had the right answer at the right time, etc., it's about the unprofessional tact of a so-called reporter. Journalism is a LONG way from the days when reporters actually took a few brief moments to do research, check facts, and represent themselves and their "News" organizations in professional manner.
I'd say next time, just hand the person a card with the RSS feed address for this site. Nuff said! ;) Have a great day, Craig. And thanks again for turning me on to http://ReMind.org I've nearly given away all 20 of the dog tags I bought a couple of months ago as a result of your post about them. Are you making a difference? You are with me and the folks I talk to about ReMind. Not that you're thinking of it, but please don't stop being you!

Mimi says:

Omigod, next time feel free to share your thoughts, i.e. excuses, with the reporter instead of when it's conveniently and highly controlled by you.

kim says:

Saying Craig allows ads for sex with animals on his list is like saying the government allows human beings to murder each other. There are rules against it and people break them. Don't blame Craig that some people are sick.

Jim Love says:

Thanks, Craig. That was refreshingly honest and worth reading. For what it's worth, people who get their news from CNN are probably predisposed to believe whatever the headline tells them, so there's probably not a lot that you could have done in an interview anyway.

jessie tromberg says:

craig,
Stop being so sanguine about this scurrilous
treatment! Fight back. Even if you have to shut down the site for a period of time to clear the airwaves.
Where's your legal division? Are they asleep??
And you must never say ok to an interview without an advisor at your side. Red lights should flash immediately, Danger, danger.
Sanguine and mellow are nice character traits, in this society, it paints you as a target.
Those who responded in the negative apparently saw nothing wrong in repeating every offensive, disgusting detail they seemingly object to.
You do have the power, use it!!

Jeff Manes says:

Nothing wrong with ambition. Bad research and blindsiding is not ambition. She may be best suited as a production assistant than on air reporter until she can improve her skill sets as a journalist.

Joe in San Diego says:

To Craig:
Its clear to anyone who know anything about you, Craig's List and your causes, that you are not a greedy, selfish individual. You and Jim and the current shareholder of Craig's List could be filthy rich if you charged everyone for posting ads on Craig's List. But you don't, and that has helped many people, including me.
In addition, Amber seemed to imply that 50% of the adult ads on Craig's List are posted by kinder gardeners, and the other 50% are posted by people who have been placed into bondage as sex slaves. Nothing is probably farther from the truth! While I have no research or evidence to substantiate this claim, I would bet that the vast majority of post on Craig's List's adult section come from adults acting of their own free will. I am also sure that the people at Craig's List would be the first to cooperate with investigations into human trafficking of minors and people against their will. So once again you and the folks at Craig's List are not doing anything wrong.
Amber is lucky you and I weren't together when she ambushed you, because I would not have been as polite as you were in dealing with her tactics and innuendos.
I mean what does she think? Prostitution didn't exist before the Internet? Why did she decide to talk to you about it? Why didn't she try those same tactics on the Chief of Washington DC police? (After all they are the ones responsible for enforcing laws, not you, Jim and the employees at Craig's List.)
Keep up the good work, and thank you for all you do.

TerryHeaton says:

Craig, this makes me sick, because I know first hand what it's all about, having worked in TV news management most of my life.
My first job in the biz was at a small radio station in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. A rural nearby town had passed a resolution to not allow cameras in their public meetings, so teams from all the big markets (Milwaukee, Green Bay) sent camera crews to cover their next meeting. That was my story, not the meeting itself. Not one reporter was comfortable being interviewed. Not one. And you know why? Because they KNEW how what they said could be twisted in such a way as to make them look bad.
Be of good cheer, Craig, for those of us who know you know better than this bottom feeder.

Laude5 says:

Craig:
I'm not sure how many more ways you or Craig's List can say "we don't moderate every post". Your on your own when you read the postings! No reasonable person would hold the list responsible that the photos of a car for sale really match the one you see when you get there.

Arjun Singh says:

I agree with Jim Love, Craig. I thought your post was refreshingly open and definitely worth reading. I saw the CNN piece and was a bit jarred by your demeanour. I was really hoping I would find a post about it here. I so admire you and your work. Very best.

Frank says:

First of all, sex services are none of anyone's business other than the server and the client (and maybe the client's spouse if she finds out). If there is exploitation, abuse, or child molestation involved in these services, that should certainly be dealt with, but as a separate issue. Prostitution should be legal, and that is obvious to any progressive thinking person in 2011.

Second of all, Amber Lyon is a pathological troublemaker. She seeks attention, and the trouble she chases relates to her own insecurities (which also classifies her as a bully). During her "investigation" of craigslist adult services, she posted a picture of herself at 14 years old, in a bikini, as one of her entrapment tactics. She made sure to let the viewers at home know it was in fact her in the picture. Now, she can say she did this because it would be irresponsible and immoral to use another minor's picture (even though the face wasn't included). But the truth is that she wants the world to know she was once attractive. These days, Amber looks like an aging transexual, presentable enough to make you do a double take, but too large and masculine to pass as an attractive woman, and therefore to feel good about herself. So she is taking a stance against men's desires for younger, prettier, fitter women, in a campaign that can best be described with an urban phrase many of you may have heard – player hating. Amber Lyon is a player hater, and nothing more.

Everything about Lyon is dishonest, ugly, and backwards. She lowers the standards for journalistic integrity on CNN, she contributes to the conservative war against sexual freedom, she wears her self-loathing on her sleeve in as transparent and unprofessional a manner as possible. But worst and most ironic of all, she has prostituted this issue of sex trade child abuse to cash in on a career. She's a disgusting individual. I don't think she's even aware of how she appears. Just an oblivious moron, and an embarrassment to our culture.

Frank says:

First of all, sex services are none of anyone's business other than the server and the client (and maybe the client's spouse if she finds out). If there is exploitation, abuse, or child molestation involved in these services, that should certainly be dealt with, but as a separate issue. Prostitution should be legal, and that is obvious to any progressive thinking person in 2011.

Second of all, Amber Lyon is a pathological troublemaker. She seeks attention, and the trouble she chases relates to her own insecurities (which also classifies her as a bully). During her "investigation" of craigslist adult services, she posted a picture of herself at 14 years old, in a bikini, as one of her entrapment tactics. She made sure to let the viewers at home know it was in fact her in the picture. Now, she can say she did this because it would be irresponsible and immoral to use another minor's picture (even though the face wasn't included). But the truth is that she wants the world to know she was once attractive. These days, Amber looks like an aging transexual, presentable enough to make you do a double take, but too large and masculine to pass as an attractive woman, and therefore to feel good about herself. So she is taking a stance against men's desires for younger, prettier, fitter women, in a campaign that can best be described with an urban phrase many of you may have heard – player hating. Amber Lyon is a player hater, and nothing more.

Everything about Lyon is dishonest, ugly, and backwards. She lowers the standards for journalistic integrity on CNN, she contributes to the conservative war against sexual freedom, she wears her self-loathing on her sleeve in as transparent and unprofessional a manner as possible, and she has smeared the name of a good man. But worst and most ironic of all, she has prostituted this issue of sex trade child abuse to cash in on a career. She's a disgusting individual. I don't think she's even aware of how she appears. Just an oblivious moron, and an embarrassment to our culture.