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“Ironic, no?” Jezebel headline repeats false Anonymous claim that they’d found Michael Brown killer


Just days after writers at Gawker’s Jezebel site complained that bosses were enabling bullying by allowing trolls to post comments without moderation or oversight, Jezebel published this headline…

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The post continued:

This morning Anonymous tweeted the name of the police officer they claim killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday, August 9. The name has not been confirmed by national media nor Ferguson police because of death threats that have been levied against the officer and his family. Ironic, no?

A few hours later, after it was confirmed that the officer named by Anonymous was neither responsible for the killing, nor… um… actually a cop, Gawker.com posted this

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Everybody knew there would be repercussions if “Anonymous”—or whoever runs the now-suspended @TheAnonMessage Twitter account—released the name of the police officer it thought killed Michael Brown and turned out to be incorrect.

Well that is what happened, and here are the repercussions: A 48-year-old handicapped woman crying on the porch of her home.

Shockingly, Gawker’s second report neglected to note that just a few hours earlier, its own colleagues had been amongst the first to repeat as fact what later turned out to be unsubstantiated crap, leading to unimaginable distress for the disabled mother of the falsely accused man.

Emotional distress caused by lack of editorial oversight: Only bad if it happens to Gawker.

“Ironic, no?”



Half of L.A. Times’ staff say they’d quit if Koch brothers take over


A newspaper owner more polarizing than Rupert Murdoch or Sam Zell? Yes, we have a new front runner (and two of them, at that!): the Koch brothers.

Charles and David Koch are rumored to have an interest in buying all eight papers owned by Tribune Co., including The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, and Hartford Courant.

The Huffington Post reports
that at an L.A. Times awards ceremony the following exchange took place when columnist Steve Lopez addressed the staff:

“He said, ‘Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Austin Beutner’s group.’ No one raised their hands.

‘Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Rupert Murdoch.’ A few people raised their hands.

Facing the elephant trunk-on, ‘Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by the Koch brothers.’ About half the staff raised their hands.”

L.A. Times employees aren’t alone in their resistance. A MoveOn.org online petition:

Stop the South Florida Sun-Sentinel from being sold to the Koch brothers

has just over 640 signatures and counting.

The source of all this angst? The L.A. Times editorial board leans left, while the brothers are staunch conservatives who have helped fund the campaigns of right-leaning politicians.

Regardless of an editorial page’s general bent, politics shouldn’t influence the direction of any paper’s newsroom staff, but by the show of
hands, the brothers should expect to be greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism.

L.A. Times column David Horsey seems to sum up the sentiment of many in his recent column, “Koch brothers want to make your newspaper their megaphone.”

The last time an outsider ran the Tribune Co. ended in disaster. In 2007, previous owner billionaire Sam Zell bought Tribune Co. In his short tenure, his
“accomplishments” leave many still shaking their heads. He changed the corporate culture and
alienated employees.
In less than a year, the company filed for bankruptcy, from which it emerged four years later in December 2012.

Times staffers hope its new owners, whoever they may be, will avoid similar mistakes. 

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