As we previously reported, not only is Canada’s state-funded public radio/TV station CBC disgustingly sifting through information illegally obtained by hackers into the GiveSendGo database about Freedom Convoy donors, but they’re also using the info to harass the donors by calling and/or emailing them to find out out “why” they support the movement.
It’s not surprising that the U.S. media, including the Associated Press, are looking into the donor information posted online by self-confessed hacker. Washington Post who are hungry to find supposed “evidence” that supporters of the trucker convoy are dangerous, “white supremacist” insurrection-y types who nobody but the federal authorities should pay attention to.
On Wednesday, however, donors to convoy received a surprise defense from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), an unexpected response that slammed media outlets for exploiting the hack information and likely placing private citizens at greater risk.
It is hard to believe that a journalist would feel the urge to write about a shop owner giving such an insignificant amount rather than harassing them. It’s unconscionable and journalists need to do better. https://t.co/oF7WIoS1jp
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 16, 2022
Omar tweeted the tweet from Alison Mah who edits the Ottawa Citizen/Sun. It’s not visible now because Mah locked down her Twitter account after she received backlash from Omar and others for promoting a story her news outlet wrote about the owner of an Ottawa cafe who donated a small amount to the Freedom Convoy but who now supposedly regrets it. From the hacker database, the Ottawa Citizen obtained the information it needed to reach the donor.
In response to Omar taking the right stance on an important issue for a change, so-called “journalists” and other media figures pounced and seized, proclaiming that Omar got it all wrong and that it was vital that reporters be able to use all tools at their disposal including illegally obtained information about private citizens in the name of the “public interest” or something.
One that stood out to me was self-described “CBS Sports alum” and digital media expert Jason Kint who, ironically, was very fauxfended not over the fact that the cafe owner was on the receiving end of harassment as a result of media exploitation, but that Omar may have brought harassment on … the journalist.
“[N]ot helpful, Rep Omar. You’ve now caused *more* harassment,” he tweeted. “This journalist was doing her job; and now she’s being harassed. If you read the report she shared, you’ll see it covered how the shop owner was already being harassed as her name was in the leaked database.”
Note how there was no concern from Kint expressed whatsoever about the fact that the Ottawa Citizen likely brought on “*more* harassment” against the citizen.
Byron Tau, a Wall Street Journal reporter inquired about the Washington Post’s report on donors. He asked them why they were so eager to grab the information.
“Am confused how this is in any way objectionable,” Tau wrote. “What else is a reporter supposed to do — not look at it? Not try to confirm that it’s authentic? Not try to call people to understand their views and what motivated them to donate?”
He did not reveal much, but he said that it was journalistic to contact anonymous people if they wanted.
“I agree that publishing people’s names, especially small donors with no public profile, who wished to remain anonymous raises a thorny set of questions,” Tau opined. “But calling them to talk and see if they want to speak to you… is journalism?”
Other critics of Omar pointed to Fox News’ reporting on the cafe owner, which referenced the Ottawa Citizen piece, as supposed “proof” that the doxing/hacking into the information of private citizens should be considered okay, but such arguments completely miss the point.
Everyone, including journalists and citizens today has inherent responsibilities. Among them is to weigh the benefits versus the risks of sharing certain information publicly, whether it’s already available for public consumption or not.
Anything that is related to government officials can be shared, except private information regarding family members. There are different rules for Average Joes and Janes.
For instance, there are stories my neighbors share with me that I’m not going to put on full blast on Nextdoor because that would be wrong to do. The same responsibility applies to journalists, and maybe even more so due to the reach and impact of their reporting. The Freedom Convoy’s donors were not public officials, with rare exceptions. However they donated knowing that the information would remain private. Except it wasn’t. It was uploaded to the internet for everyone to see.
Do journalists The technical aspectYou have the right of obtaining illegally obtained information from hackers and to use this info to reach people for their stories. Yes. They should. Outside of a rare instance where they may have info from a credible source that the person they’re contacting means to harm someone, my view is no, they shouldn’t.
The old saying about “with freedom comes responsibility” comes to mind here. It doesn’t matter if one is rich or poor. You are right to do something doesn’t necessarily Make it RightMedia outlets are doubly responsible for this. The interests of the public must factor into a proposed story – in other words, what benefit does it serve the public to put out private information about a rank and file citizen whose apparent “crime” was to make a donation to a non-violent cause they support?
Also, this scenario is not about who gave the convoy its money.
Despite this, the hit pieces remind us how inconsiderate media can be when it comes to donating to extremist groups such as Black Lives Matter. Here’s an example.
Hi @byaaroncdavisWhen the Freedom Convoy is being dragged by the WaPo, can they please investigate the donors? Thanks. https://t.co/K1r1EFkwTY
— Sister Toldjah 😁 (@sistertoldjah) February 16, 2022
Let’s not hold our breath on that one, though, because narratives and stuff.
Related:Freedom Will Win At the End Of The Day