Friday, March 30, 2007

There are no more journalistic ethics

At least, they haven't been taught to Gavin King, reporter for Aussie paper Cairns Post. This low-life-with-a-press-pass contacted blogger Sheik Yer'mami (who contributes heavily to the anti-jihad site Winds of Jihad) for comments on a proposal for building a local mosque, promising Sheik that his anonymity would not be broken. King subsequently not only published the actual name of the blogger, but his home address and telephone number, among other private data. From the letter (posted at Dhimmi Watch) Sheik sent to the Australian press council in complaint (with emphasis added by me):
Islamic terrorism is a scourge on humanity. Gavin King, the Cairns Post reporter who focused his article on me, ad hominem, my family, age, business, even listing my property holdings including where I live, is totally out of line. My identity was never a matter for the public record. Because of death-threats to anyone who opposes the spread of Islam I certainly see myself and anyone else in that regard entitled to anonymity. That should be common sense.

It would seem that common sense still isn't terribly common. At least among the news people.

(Full confession: I write a weekly column for a small-town paper. I even took a few courses in journalism in my feckless youth. But I do not want to be associated with those sorts of people who risk the lives of private individuals for their own agendas.)

King has not only endangered the blogsite by labeling it a "hate site" sight unseen, but he has endangered the lives of Sheik and his entire family, plus anybody else who is seen publicly as his friend and supporter.

As one commenter pointed out, this isn't the first time a journalist has endangered the life/lives of private citizens for no good reason. Earlier this month, a Virginia newspaper published the names and addresses of all its local citizens who had concealed carry gun permits -- without regard for the possibility that some of those people were (a) hiding from violent exes or (b) not actually carrying guns, only carrying permits, and (c) perfectly within their legal rights to own and carry guns for their own protection. The paper essentially printed a shopping plan for gun thieves.

And another case is cited of a paper which published the address of a battered women's shelter. Nice.

I hope Sheik and his family can find some satisfaction from the Cairns Post. I hope King gets his hindquarters tossed to the wolves in much the same way he has tried to do to Sheik. Not that I think anybody but the jihadis are likely to do anybody any physical harm. It's just that, when violence arises (and it will. There is jihad in this world, and people are really dying because they choose to think and live freely) I'd just like to see it come to the right people: the ones who would call it down innocents.

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