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Re: “The Pitchfork and the Mouse

This is bad journalism for quite a number of reasons. First of all, this is clearly an opinion piece that is merely written to resemble a factual news story. The piece starts off with a conclusion based upon the author's personal opinion and then attempts to build credibility by adding carefully selected facts and conjecture presented as "evidence".

First of all, let's set some "facts" straight. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that any crime has been committed against a single homeless person in Humboldt County simply due to the fact that they were homeless, let alone that any crime was committed by anyone who was part of any online group discussion. This fact alone makes the entire article a non-story.

Secondly, the author's own credibility is severely undermined by the fact that she uses the same tactics of publicly "outing" people's identities that she so obviously personally despises. While she seems to be fond of using the term "vitriol" to refer to the free speech of anyone she happens to disagree with, her own writing is no less inflamatory nor is it unbiased.

If the author considers herself a journalist, she has failed at some of the most basic tenets of journalism: Avoid bias, do not lead readers to conclusions and present ALL the facts, not just ones that support a particular point of view.

If the author considers herself an "activist" who happens to write, she has also failed, as she has done nothing to contribute towards finding a solution to any perceived problems in this piece and has only contributed to the "vitriol" clogging the internet at the moment.

I have no no personal axe to grind with author. We have never met and the only thing I have to judge her by is her work here. If her goal was simply to further divide the community by politicizing and sensationalizing what is obviously an issue much more complex than the few facts presented in her article, I would say that she is off to a good start though.

If The Journal ever wants to be taken seriously, it really needs to take a look at separating factual reporting from Op-Ed pieces. If someone has an opinion, label it as such. If it is publishing a serious piece of journalism, then hold those pieces up to standards that reflect what real news reporters are supposed to do. No bias. No conclusions. No intimations. No leading the reader. No misleading headlines. Be transparent. Be accurate. Maintain author, editor and publisher credibility at all costs. Inform, don't preach.

Since the author went out of her way to single out Gene Bass by name, I would like to add that I know Gene and consider him a friend. I am admittedly biased as I know that Gene is someone actually out there on the front lines every single day as opposed to some nerd sitting at a keyboard adding their two cent opinion to something they do not have to deal with on a daily basis.

I should also state that I have absolutely no ill-will against the homeless in this community whatsoever. I am often only a single paycheck away from being in their shoes myself, so I can hardly condemn a group that I have much more in common with than a bunch of internet trolls. They are like any other group. Some are a clear asset to our community that have fallen on hard times. Others are clearly contributing towards crime and violence, just as with any other group. I do not know of any organized group or individual you mentioned that has claimed otherwise.


3 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by wvh on 10/23/2015 at 6:52 AM

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