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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bloggers vs. the MSM in the Emerald City

A correspondent who watches over things to our north sends along an interesting story:

The P-I reports on story but makes big deal about not publishing pictures.

The blogsters go nuts and put in links to pictures.

Day 2, almost all other media print story and pictures.

And things are a little tense.

And the P-I goes off its rocker!!!

Then admits it is stupid!

Best quote:

"It's amazing to me to think that, in this internet era, the [paper] is arrogant enough to think that they can 'hide' something from the public. By not publishing the pictures, they are making themselves less relevant -- additionally, through the controversy, they are making the story bigger than it would be otherwise. This is a perfect example of why newspapers, and big media in general, is losing readers by the thousands."

Neither the Seattle Post-Intelligencer nor the rival Seattle Times is the gatekeeper of information in the greater Seattle area anymore, if they ever were. Neither are any of the local TV news stations. There are just so many news outlets and distributors now -- cable networks, websites of out-of-town papers, and blogs -- that no matter what the Seattle Post-Intelligencer did, the people of Seattle were going to see these photos.

We live in amazing times.

Comments (10)

As I said on September 12, 2001: "The good news is we know what they look like."

The Seattle PI wasn't trying to be a gatekeeper, and never implied as much. They were trying to be ethical and responsible -- perhaps too much for today's blogosphere to understand. There's no need to put completely innocent people's pictures in the paper implying they did something wrong. To do so is just bad journalism. At least someone still has some standards.

Ken, how the hell do you know, with any degree of certainty, that the two individuals in the photo are "completely innocent"?

As I recall, the police or FBI in Seattle indicated that they were reported by third party civilians to be acting in a suspicious manner while on the ferry.

The authorities asked the public's help in identifying them. Ferries, like other crowded public places, are high value targets.

You have the right to risk your own life for your nonsensical notions of "ethics"; however, there are a lot of folks that are extremely happy things like this pursued.

Maybe they're buddies of the idiot that wanted the bomb the Space Needle, ever consider that?

Don't let your ethics get you (or someone else) killed sport.

"[...] how the hell do you know, with any degree of certainty, that the two individuals in the photo are 'completely innocent'?"

Well, I don't. But there is that little principle of American justice called the presumption of innocence. Maybe you've heard of it?

I think the paper made a reasonable call. Maybe not the right one, but a reasonable one. The FBI has lots of ways to get that photo out; they don't need to commandeer the newspaper.

Besides, I gotta say that - on the off-chance they actually were actual terrorist scouts - they're complete idiots. Drawing attention to themselves by poking around in non-public spaces was a good way to get their whole plot rolled up. With enemies like these...

They look plenty guilty to me.

Wow! I was looking at the ferry operations with my 6 year-old in June. Motors and engines, car loading and other interesting stuff.We even wandered around the loading area before hand. I could have been profiled.

All the tension over the package found in one of the bathrooms of the largest ferry went up in smoke when the FBI disclosed the suspicious package contained a bong.

"Commandeer"? So the Cops rolled up in front to the Post Intelligence in an M1A1 & said "print this or die?"

The presumtion of innocence does not preclude reasonable investigation of reported suspicious persons by appropriate law enforncement authority.

A stop, or temporary detention for a reasonable period (based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause) for purposes of identification would be a legitimate law enforcement function in this instance.

One of the lofty goals reporters alway yap about is keeping the public informed.
The authorities asked for public's help in finding these guys.

Asking the press to disseminate a photo isn't "commandeering" anything, it is simply asking for help. Given the fact there have been failed terror plots aimed at Seattle in the past, it dosen't seem that unreasonable of a request.

The Post seems to have adopted a mindset similar to that idiot Bill Walton when called the FBI "the enemy" during the days of the SLA.

Of course that bong was a weapon of a drug "terrorist".

See what happens when the war on terra and drugs collide. An entire ferry run shut down to defuse a bong.

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