Saturday, January 10, 2009

Anybody want to buy a 'decider'?

Ace of Spades has never forgiven Seattle Post-Intelligencer managing editor David McCumber for one of the more arrogant quotes of 2007:
"I understand that people have a hard time with the concept that we get to decide what is news and what isn't, and what is fair and what isn't."
Which was McCumber's defense of this:
The FBI is asking the public for help in identifying two men who were seen behaving unusually aboard several Washington state ferries.
About four weeks ago, the FBI fielded several reports from passengers and ferry workers about the men, who seemed "overly interested in the workings and layouts of the ferries," Special Agent Robbie Burroughs said Monday.
The FBI also publicized photos of the men, which were taken by a ferry employee, Burroughs said.
The Seattle P-I is not publishing the photos because neither man is considered a suspect nor has either been charged with a crime.
Hey, fuckstick: On Sept. 10, 2001, Mohammed Atta was not "considered a suspect" and hadn't "been charged with a crime," either. If the FBI had issued a BOLO on Atta the day before 9/11, are you saying you wouldn't have run Atta's picture?

The FBI is not the Gestapo. As the name of the bureau implies, their job is investigation. Just because they wanted to question two guys doesn't mean the guys were pre-booked for one-way tickets to Gitmo.

An editor is, of course, free to decide what he does or does not publish. But to decide that being "fair" to two people wanted for questioning by the FBI trumps the potential threat to the lives and safety of your own readers -- dude, what were you thinking? And then to lecture your readers to the effect that they are too stupid to understand journalism -- sorry, you lost me around one of the hairpin curves of that fine specimen of pretzel-logic.

Well, good-bye, Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
The newspaper's staff was called into a closed meeting today by Publisher Roger Oglesby. Present at the meeting was Hearst Newspaper President Steve Swartz, who told the newsroom that Hearst Corp. is starting a 60-day process to find a buyer.
If a buyer is not found, Swartz said, possible options include creating an all-digital operation with a greatly reduced staff, or closing its operations entirely.
In no case will Hearst continue to publish the P-I in printed form, Swartz said.
Welcome to the free market, David McCumber, where the consumer is the ultimate decider. And maybe those consumers figured they had better things to do than to spend money on a newspaper whose managing editor didn't think himself obligated to protect them from a potential terrorism threat.


  1. The P-I has been a wreck of a paper for generations.

  2. Actually, the paper did the right thing. The folks in question were not dangerous and were, in fact, innocent bystanders to somebody's paranoia. Would you want your picture on the front page as a terrorist because your neighbor said she thought you might be one? Once labeled a terrorist, always a terrorist.

  3. Is it at all relevant to you that the people in question were not, in fact, terrorists, and that the FBI has, in fact, hustled thousands of people off to detention centers without acknowledgment or due process?

  4. And the papers have printed no news of the thousands "hustled off to detention centers" eh, Mr. Keith?? Where do you get your news, the internet? Oh, that's right, all the papers were in the tank for Bush.
    And you're also right that very few of the inhabitants of
    Gitmo should have been there. Those found on the field of battle trying to kill Americans, meaning most of the detainees, were armed irregulars who, according to the rules of war should have been shot on the spot.

  5. PHD in Philosophy! Mr. Keith is surely a sooper genyous!