- A quick addition: I appreciate what you are trying to do here. I am happy SourceWatch exists, but it bothers the hell out of me that people here seem to engage in the same tactics they complain about when it comes to PR firms and political organizations. I'm a little shocked that, considering your position, you wouldn't grok what you are doing. Fighting fire with fire is -not- the right thing to do.
I'm deeply offended by your lack of ethical treatment of this subject. This is supposed to be an information source that provides readers with the tools to make their OWN decisions. Nothing is "inherently" offensive, since offense is subjective. Your lack objectivity is inherently offensive -to me- yet I wouldn't edit an article about you with comments such as "like most ignorant pedlers of disinformation, Sheldon peppers his comments with just enough support to sidestep direct accusations of lying." Why, because that's opinion. Furthermore, it is engaging in exactly the kind of behavior that SourceWatch was meant to expose. I really suggest you get a handle on your prejudice and start writing like an objective editor. You've obviously decided how you feel about D'Souza, and now you want to convince other people to feel the same way. Well guess what, that's not your job. That's called propaganda, and we should be doing our damndeds to stop that kind of thing on this site.
As for public need, that's great, but again it calls for a subjective view of what a public need is. And as you might notice if you weren't too busy trying to paint people's opinions, my edits aren't designed to make people like D'Souza, but rather to erase your attempts to characterize him. These pages, this entire site, is filled with subjective opinions about people, with inflamatory section headings, and a clear bias in a political direction. Regardless of wether one agrees or disagrees with the bias, we should be stomping it out on this site, not embracing one form of PR manipulation in an effort to stop another.
I'm quite frightened that people like you are out here, trying to shove opinions down the throats of others. I think its fairly ironic, don't you?
- I've rewritten the discussion of D'Souza's statements from The End of Racism, providing additional context. It's absurd to claim that the statement about blacks being treated "pretty well" because they were treated as property was taken out of context. This statement is inherently offensive, regardless of "context" (which, by the way, you haven't provided). Poultry and hogs are treated like property too, which these days means that they are raised in confinement and slaughtered for food. There is nothing innate about being treated like property that means any living creature will be treated "pretty well," and this is especially true when human beings are turned into property. Blacks in the Old South were often forcibly separated from their wives and children. Beatings and even killing were used to terrorize and coerce uncooperative "property." Many of the Africans who were shipped to the Americas as property died en route due to the horrific conditions in the holds of the ships that carried them. It's inherently offensive to pretend that this amounts to being treated "pretty well."
- Finally, you seem to have no understanding of journalistic ethics. In the section dealing with D'Souza's publication of stolen correspondence from gay students at Dartmouth, you write, "acquisition of undisclosed documents is a technique widely used in journalism despite ethical concerns." Actually, there are clear ethical standards regarding the use of "undisclosed documents." Here, for example, is a relevant passage from the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists:
- "Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect. Journalists should: Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects. ... Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone's privacy. Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity."
- Clearly, D'Souza violated these ethical standards. The gay students whose personal correspondence he stole and published were not public officials engaged in public behavior. They had a right to privacy, and he violated it. His actions are not even remotely comparable to the actions of the New York Times when it published the Pentagon Papers, or of a journalist who publishes internal tobacco industry documents that have been leaked by a whistleblower. In those cases, there is a clear "overriding public need" that justifies publication of those documents. There was no "overriding public need" that justified D'Souza's violation of the privacy rights of gay students at Dartmouth.
- --Sheldon Rampton 23:58, 29 Jun 2004 (EDT)