Bear baiting at the NYT

Trolls are what they are called in the online discussion community. They bait the bears by tossing out ‘red meat’ to see if they can get a reaction and start a flame war. They depend upon anonymity and social and legal restraints to keep them safe from reprisal. Shrinkwrapped has dealt with such self destructive behavior in his clients and notes similarities to media behavior.

The Times imagines the government is constrained by the chain of laws and cultural protections built up over the years for the protection of the press. They do not realize that most Americans recognize the greater threat to be from terrorists who want to kill us rather than from the NSA trying to protect us. They also do not recognize that by going too far they endanger all of our freedoms; the risk of an angry government over-reacting to the treasonous behavior of our major news organizations would endanger freedom of the press for all (including bloggers, whose freedoms have been under attack under the guise of the exceptionally misguided McCain-Feingold for some time now.) The New York Times in their zeal to harm George Bush are threatening to destroy themselves, harm our country and its citizens and destroy the structure of freedom of the press that has been such a vital part of our social contract. Their “bear baiting” has gone much too far and the best hope for the future is a vigorous, but limited, investigation by the DOJ and appropriate jail sentences for those who treat our security so lightly. Their is honor and dignity in taking real risks for your principles; their is only dishonor and shame in teasing a chained up, helpless bear. Let us allow the national press the opportunity of regaining their honor and dignity by exacting some real costs for their efforts, even if inadvertent, to endanger all of us.

As with any right, there is a responsibility. Terrorists make irresponsible use of their rights to privacy and access in order to carry out their campaign. They hope to limit the rights of all by expressing the irresponsibility of a very few. Criminals also impinge on our rights by their activity causing us all to have to lock doors and watch out for each other.

A politcal party has picked up on this theme by shifting from a ‘culture of corruption’ meme to a ‘invasion of privacy by big brother’ as the theme of attack. (they seem to miss the fact that Orwell’s big brother used dishonest communication as a major feature and they also miss that there has been no established abusive outcome to any supposed invasion of privacy established).

The media, with a large mouth, has a responsibility to exercise to maintain its rights of free expression. These are responsibilities for intellectual integrity in their product. It is becoming clearly evident that many in the MSM have abrogated any sense of responsibility in this area and, by Shrinkwrapped’s analysis have gone so far as to bait the bear. They troll for a response that is not constructive, does not help social cohesion, does not lead to understanding, and attacks the very foundation upon which their right to express is based.

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