Sunday, July 02, 2006

Off the Rails

Apparently some looney tunes posted personal contact information for the New York Times photographer who worked on the Travel section article about Cheney's and Rumsfeld's vacation homes. The post has since been deleted, mercifully, but fear not: These douchebags are standing by their decisions to publish, link, and promote this information. They're the real patriots, see.

You know, I always did wonder what it'd look like when Timothy McVeigh rose from the dead and learned to use the internet. Now I know.

See further coverage here, here, and here. Now excuse me, please--I've got an overdue letter to write.

Querida Clearly Insane People:

Hi! Supposedly you clearly insane people are "on my side," but you know something? This is no "side" I recognize. This is utterly despicable, is what it is.

It'd be nice if some of the bigger bloggers on "my side" would denounce this insanity--after all, they reach far more readers than I do and their words have far greater influence--but somehow I don't expect anything of that sort will be forthcoming, either. I must say, clearly insane people (and your enablers), that it's just swell how, when I look around, I see the ostensible "party of grownups" tantrumming on the floor en masse screaming, "They did it first!" It's as though you want all the thankfully sane people to register Democrat, clearly insane people (and their enablers)!

Here's a thought: How about everyone quits sulking over who did it first and just STOPS DOING IT AT ALL, EVER, PERIOD. Okay, clearly insane people (and your enablers)?

Wait--that didn't translate in your clearly insane minds to something like, "Research more personal information on even more enemies of America and post it on the internet even more often," did it? Because that is not what I said, clearly insane people. You need to turn down the radio receivers in your heads and read more carefully, because what I said was, the next time your clearly insane minds start thinking it might be a good idea to post personal contact information on the internet and encourage your readers to make real-world use of it, please take your typing fingers and stick them all firmly up your asses UNTIL THE MEDICATION KICKS IN. Once the fog of insanity clears, I think you'll all agree that the only way doing something like that can appear to be a good idea is if you are clearly insane.

In closing, let me just thank you, clearly insane people, for really having a handle on how to fuck up a holiday weekend. I would say "Go USA!" but it seems I am mistaken and really, I live in the Balkans.

Love,

Ilyka

UPDATE: Thanks to some asshole who posted Rocco whatever-his-name-is's address in the comments to this post, I've had to enable comment moderation. Your comment will appear when I approve it, and not until.

I think you should all know that I HATE COMMENT MODERATION, because it's a pain in my ass and yours. But that's the way it has to be so long as imbeciles think the solution to this problem, this problem of people posting personal information on the internet, is to post more personal information on the internet.

Just terrific. I can't even take a nap without some dipshit bringing the crazy here.

UPDATE 07/03/2006: Happy It's-Not-Actually-Independence-Day-but-it's-What-We-Get-off-from-Work Day, Americans. Just a couple of links here: One, this piece at Obsidian Wings had me going for more paragraphs than I'd like to admit:

But as serious as publishing this secret information was, the disclosure of the location of Rumsfeld's and Cheney's vacation homes is far more troubling. Glenn Greenwald hinted at the scope of the problem when he noted that the Times had also published the location of Bill and Hillary Clinton's home. However, that just scratches the surface of this vast conspiracy. Here's the horrible truth:

The media has published detailed information about the homes of hundreds of government officials. As far as they are concerned, the entire federal government might as well be one big hit list.

(Emphasis in original.) My favorite example, and there are MANY, is the Times' publication of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's home, about which hilzoy says:

You might say: well, but they didn't publish the street address, did they? Think again: if you've ever seen a map of Searchlight, Nevada, population 798, you'd know that a terrorist wouldn't need one.

With that few people in town you could take the cold-call approach and eventually hit it. "Is Mr. Harry Reid at home?" "I'm sorry, you must have the wrong address, there's no one here by that name." And if small-town friendliness in Searchlight is anything like small-town friendliness in any other small town, I'd bet you wouldn't get far before one of the neighbors cheerfully provided you the right address.

Also, I've been meaning to link this even though he gets at least 5000 times the readers I do (and thus you've probably already seen it), but Jim Treacher's parody that was overtaken by events is the best counterpoint out there to the "oh everyone already knew that" argument being made in defense of the Times' article on Cheney's and Rumsfeld's vacation homes. It's not that everyone already knew that; it's the way "what everyone already knew" was presented.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the New York Times story wouldn't have elicited a peep anywhere if it hadn't led with a photograph of the hidden camera setup outside Rumsfeld's house. If I had a security system in place, and especially if I were as controversial a public figure as Rumsfeld, I sure as hell wouldn't want anyone pointing it out in the newspaper. Neither, I suspect, would any of the Times' staff. Really, how exactly is that a public service? To WHOM is it a public service?

Anyway, that's a point Jim makes better than I do, so see him.

17 comments:

Craig R. said...

I was reading some of the comments over on Glenn's thread, and some of those people are seriously 'round the bend.

I'm surprised that they don't accuse the U.S. Naval Observatory and the FAA as being treasonous, because the OSNO has previoiusly published arial photographs of the grounds that are not pixilated, and the FAA NOTAMS details the no-fly area above St. Michaels.

jim treacher said...

I'm not sure I agree with Feministe's contention that those UC Cruz students put their numbers on that press release "mistakenly." And she claims they didn't ask her to take it down. And now people are saying she shouldn't comment on this issue because she released "private" information, which makes my head hurt because they put out a press release... Anyway, I do agree that digging up people's private information and using it to try to intimidate them into shutting up is wrong. It's way too easy to do, and impossible to undo.

CathiefromCanada said...

Just a note to let you know that I also wrote a post based on Glenn Greenwald's article, and then this Rocko fellow, or someone claiming to be him, left a comment on my post with the travel reporter's name and address on it. I deleted the comment, needless to say. So now I am checking the other blogs listed at the end of Greenwald's post, to see if he is doing that to everyone.

ilyka said...

I was gonna ask zuzu to clarify and/or source that claim about UC Santa Cruz, but then I took a look at the comments section there and let's just say you're not the only one whose head hurts, Jim.

Christ, it's not a partisan thing. It's an asshole thing.

ilyka said...

So now I am checking the other blogs listed at the end of Greenwald's post, to see if he is doing that to everyone.

Hmm, could be. Mine was an anonymous commenter posting Rocco's address, not the photographer's, but either way it's plain there are some obsessives out there.

Mona said...

Ilyka writes: Thanks to some asshole who posted Rocco whatever-his-name-is's address in the comments to this post, I've had to enable comment moderation. Your comment will appear when I approve it, and not until.

I think you should all know that I HATE COMMENT MODERATION, because it's a pain in my ass and yours.


Just FYI, the person who is likely the same anon posted that address and fone # multiple times in comments at Greenwald's, and Greenwald deleted them all. He also hates moderating (almost never does it) or comment deletion, but he has said he won't tolerate publishing contact info/home addresses. Certainly not when the clear message is: "Go ye and harass!"

Rob said...

In a possible minor quibble with Jim Treacher, I think Malkin was wrong, too. In her defense of publishing private information, she states:

"UPDATE: SAW has removed the contact information from its press release and is now lying about the fact that it made the info publicly available on the Internet. I am leaving it up. If you are contacting them, I do not condone death threats or foul language. As for SAW, my message is this: You are responsible for your individual actions. Other individuals are responsible for theirs. Grow up and take responsibility."

"If you are contacting them" acknowledges that some of her readers may do exactly that. It would be hard for me to believe that she didn't know that when she published them. This is unnecessary incitement on her part tantamount to throwing gasoline on the fire. This thing is ugly all around.

Darleen said...

Rob

Anything on a press release is not private information. Published contact information is there because ...like..they WANT you to contact them!

Sorry if SAW figured they would only get contacted by fellow lunar Chiroptera, but it still follows that published information is not private.

Also, if Malkin is admonishing "behave yourself" to those that do write to SAW, then she is being very responsible. Certainly you are not advocating that people only write fan letters? Heaven's it would certainly mean most Congress critters would never get ANY mail!

While the NYTimes Travel section, more likely than not, didn't published this info maliciously, the total tin-ear to the vast majority of people who are already rightfully annoyed with Times destruction of the Swift program are just in no mood to say "no harm, no foul, carry on."

I'd say no publishing personal info (residence addresses, phone #'s, etc). PUBLIC contact info? Hey, it's public for a reason and there is no ethical reason not to publish it (and as long as one is not advocating illegal/unethical/fattening behavior connected with the info).

jim treacher said...

"'If you are contacting them' acknowledges that some of her readers may do exactly that. It would be hard for me to believe that she didn't know that when she published them. This is unnecessary incitement on her part tantamount to throwing gasoline on the fire."

Huh? That's like saying Glenn Reynolds was calling Kos gay when he mentioned that Kos isn't gay. You think she was doing reverse psychology on them? "Whatever you do, DON'T threaten to bludgeon them with their own limbs. WINK WINK!" I'm not getting it. She gave out the information, some people abused it, she spoke out against that.

Rob said...

Jim & Darleen,

In the subsequent post, Ilyka says what I tried to say, only way better as she usually does but I still marvel at your logic.

There is only one outcome Malkin could have expected by publishing those names on her site rather than let them remain on an obscure press release. She filed her disclaimer in her defense of doing so but only after the fact. She knew what might happen, regardless of whether she condones it or not. She was wrong.

zuzu said...

Ilyka, here's one post supporting my contention that the students' posting their personal contact information (rather than that of their organization) was likely a rookie mistake, if nothing else.

From what I understand, Malkin got hold of this press release and posted it, in full, on her blog without first contacting the students. They're not professional flacks, but she's a professional journalist.

Follow the links in Ezra's post to Malkin's blog. She not only reposted the personal contact info even though she knew the students wanted her to take it down, she still has the contact information listed at her blog.

jim treacher said...

"There is only one outcome Malkin could have expected by publishing those names on her site rather than let them remain on an obscure press release. She filed her disclaimer in her defense of doing so but only after the fact. She knew what might happen, regardless of whether she condones it or not. She was wrong."

She knew people would issue death threats against those college kids, and that people on their side would issue death threats against her in turn. Well, it's a theory.

zuzu said...

She knew people would issue death threats against those college kids, and that people on their side would issue death threats against her in turn. Well, it's a theory.

Jim, she knew that people *did* issue death threats, and yet she not only did not take down the contact info, she reposted it and it remains on her site to this day.

ilyka said...

Hey zuzu, I tried to email you a "thanks" for the link there, but the main feministe address is bouncing it back to me. But thank you very much.

jim treacher said...

"Jim, she knew that people *did* issue death threats, and yet she not only did not take down the contact info, she reposted it and it remains on her site to this day."

So it's her fault. Hm.

ilyka said...

So it's her fault. Hm.

Sigh. Peter Parker was:

(a) at fault in Uncle Ben's death.
(b) responsible for Uncle Ben's death.
(c) Neither (a) nor (b), but nonetheless in a position to have prevented it.

/nerd

Darleen left a link in the comments to the other post to this, though--

Conservative readers have asked me to publish the private home addresses of NYTimes reporters, editors, and photographers.

My response: NO.

I refuse to do it. I strongly urge others not to do it. Your home is your castle. It should be, anyway.


--so as far as I'm concerned she's done good on this issue, anyway.

Jim Treacher said...

Yeah, but she still has those other phone numbers up! That's, like, bad.