And now Rachel Marsden has a problem with the ACORN investigations: the undercover journalists were too… something. I think that she wants to argue that their journalism is too amateur, but it’s hard to tell because her writing (i.e., journalism) is too amateur.
At reader request, I’ll examine this article, paragraph-by-paragraph.
Everyone is so full of admiration for the ACORN stunt…
…because it is undeniably badass. Two kids took down an enormous corrupt national organization with nothing more than pimp and ho costumes and a video camera.
– but what about the ethical and legal implications of “citizen journalists” doing whatever the hell they want because they’re feeling “brave”?
Rachel Marsden is earnestly concerned about this but not about the “ethical and legal implications” of a group meant to aid the poor approving of and trying to aid in the forced prostitution of immigrant children for political purposes.
You can’t just affix a pinhole camera on your “pimp and ho” costumes, go into the offices of a group you don’t particularly like, record what they say and publicise it. Especially when the state in which all this takes place has laws making it a criminal felony to record a conversation in the absence of both parties acknowledging or consenting.
And yet that’s exactly what James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles did!
Yet that’s exactly what a couple of twenty-something conservative activists did…
…but you just said? Marsden’s priorities are bad but her logic is much worse.
At least one major media television outlet has gotten their hands on the tapes and has been playing them on a near endless loop. It’s the journalistic equivalent of sending underaged kids into a liquor store or getting them to steal cars because the penalty would be more lenient.
Is Marsden writing from a state or country in which kids are allowed to buy liquor but adults over a certain age are not? Because if she isn’t, the penalty for underage kids buying booze obviously isn’t more “lenient” (Marsden’s priorities and logic are bad but her tendency to anthropomorphize penalties by attributing lenience to them is worse).
The reason major news outlets aren’t pulling similar stunts isn’t because they’re too liberal, biased, cowardly, or lazy. It’s because they’re professionals who are legally advised to avoid committing criminal felonies in the course of carrying out their professional duties.
As if the evidence of ACORN’s corruption were only available to rogue “criminal felons.”
If investigative journalism was as simple as this, all of us in the business would walk around with a pinhole camera on our lapel, infiltrating various groups of shady people.
Rachel: do you really purport to be an investigative journalist? If so, I have a few recommendations for you before you write up your reports. First, learn the subjunctive mood. Second, learn the difference between singular and plural — I assume you did not mean that all of you in the business would walk around with a single pinhole camera on your collective lapel.
If so, kindly let me know if the authorities will look the other way while I pursue what I feel to be truth and justice against people I dislike
Third, you cannot “pursue against” anything, grammatically.
…because I have a list the length of my arm of people I would really like to go after.
Little known fact: Marsden writes in size 48 font — the only people she would like to go after are James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles. That’s the whole list.
So what are these kids now left with? … Will the people cheering them on be willing to cover their legal fees in the face of felony criminal prosecution? And at worst, does the adulation compensate for a possible criminal record? Did they play this chess game out in their heads and come to the conclusion that, in the worst case scenario, Barack Obama will pardon them?
Not your concern, Rachel. They are responsible for their own decisions, and probably reckoned that when their videos came out ACORN would have bigger fish to fry, legally speaking, than suing two bloggers. Unless you’re saying that ACORN should suffer no consequences because they were taped illegally.
Journalism isn’t a game. Actions have consequences. And even reality shows have teams of lawyers. But if we’re now in some kind of new era where anyone with a blog who picks up a pen and notepad can be a journalist free of the usual legal and professional constraints, then let’s clear that up.
If you are going to assert that there are professional constraints to being a journalist, then you must include the ability to write with some kind of precision or meaning. Marsden would fail on both counts. She attacks two journalists for their journalism directly after they produced the most damning piece of investigative journalism in a long time. She condemns them for flouting the profession’s ethical and professional rules, and yet admits that she would do the same in a heartbeat if she could get away with it.
Rachel, stop whining because you’re jealous. Get a pinhole camera, attach it to the label of investigative journalists, and start walking around.