17 June 2009

The Times...

…used to be a quality respected newspaper with a fairly middle of the road view point and excellent writing. Times journalists were respected the World over.

This week those respected journalists took time off from dealing with really important stuff (like Iran) to expend effort "outing a blogger". They applied the best of their hooned journalistic skills to unearthing and then publishing the identity of someone who was publishing a popular and interesting blog under an anonymous identity. This was supposedly done "in the public interest".

The blog in question was NightJack and the blogger was a serving police office. So it's pretty easy to see why he would want to stay anonymous, both from the perps he put away and his bosses. The blog was honest, gritty and fairly entertaining. It was also very popular, read by literally hundreds of thousands of people per week and winning the Orwell prize for political writing in April 2009. It provided a great insight into the trials and tribulations of being in the force and put a human face on a bunch of people who are not always super-popular with the public. And now thanks to some scumbag jorno at the Times it's gone.

A few points that should be considered here…
1. The guy blogged anonymously for a reason.
2. Journalists are the first to try and protect the anonymity of their sources, how is this different?
3. The Times online actually includes an anonymous blog called babybarrista which is an inside view of the legal profession. How hypocritical is that?
4. The Judge at the case, Mr Justice Eady is at best inconsistent, having ruled that Max Mosley could get beaten by german hookers in private.

On top of the sheer hypocrisy, I simple fall to see how this piece of tabloid style gutter journalism has done anyone any good. A cheap story at the price of the loss of the blog. Worse than that, this case has huge implications for bloggers in the future.

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