Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tattle tale journalism

In today's ABJ, Bob Dyer reports about a city worker who forwarded a funny email joke about George W Bush. In the grand manner of the investigative reporter uncovering massive waste of tax payer dollars, Dyer tells the story of how this email ended up in his lap after five plus hours. It got forwarded to someone who sent it to Columbus, who sent it to Dyer's editor who sent it to him.

In the article, Dyer gives the name of the city worker, who forwarded the email. He doesn't give the names of the people who passed it along or their particular circumstances: were they at work, what was the company computer-use policy and so on. He only gives the details of the worker in question.

What was in this email that upset someone enough to forward it to the Akron Beacon Journal? Take a look:
The e-mail in question consists of a picture of Bush on a condom wrapper, with the headline ``Bush Condoms'' and the caption, ``For the dumb (expletive) who doesn't know when to pull out.''
The city computer usage policy grants "limited personal use" of city computers. That certainly sounds limited to me. It would seem that the disgruntled nameless one in Columbus was more upset by the content of the email than the fact that a city employee was forwarding jokes on company time.

The article has receive a lot of attention online. It has collected almost 24 pages of comments from a vast majority who think that the premise of the newspaper story was morally bankrupt. One person referred to the story coming across as "tattling" and I agree. Dyer's series on local teens using My Space was another form of tattling. He didn't need to give out details that would lead to actual identification in order to make his point about staying safe online.

Read the story and the comments here. At one point, Mr Dyer actually responds to the comments and he seems to be shocked that:

1. People actually make anonymous comments on public bulletin boards
2. People think his outing of the city worker is wrong.

From that point on, the local Commenters let him have it. Fun reading!

1 comment:

microdot said...

The comments were great! Is this all this Dwyer guy can find to write about? He's the one who should be worried about his job performance!
I thought the joke was pretty funny!
By the way, in the Presidential Elections here, the major parties are giving out free condoms with political logos.....