A quick story: Back in the 1990s when I was writing Amiga software, we sent our products to magazines for reviews. Most of the time, we basically told the reviewer what to write, because the reviewers were usually too lazy or too rushed to really look at the software. You may be surprised to learn that we usually got good reviews. :) (This practice is not unusual in the software industry, by the way — remember that when you’re reading a rave review of some product or another.)
I mention that story because an article at The New Dominion today reminded me of those old magazine reviewers. There was so much quoting of Jim Riley in Chris Green’s article Prank – or dirty trick? that I’m surprised Riley didn’t get a writing credit.
[Quoting Jim Riley of Virginia Virtucon] “A number of people saw this [Joe Stanley’s redirect of olddominionblogalliance.com to NAMBLA], and they were clicking on the link, and were shocked at what they saw,” Riley said. “One friend of mine works at the Pentagon – and he clicked on that while he was working at the Pentagon. He has top-secret security clearance. Places like that, they check what websites you visit. Fortunately, as soon as it came up, he clicked off of it, so there wasn’t any conflict to him.
There was no mention that Riley belongs to the same ODBA that Alton Foley does, who happens to work for the candidate that benefits from attacking Joe Stanley and his client Roscoe Reynolds, which seems like a pretty significant piece of information to leave out if you’re really looking “for perspective on this.”
Also, for people who may not be technically saavy, if Riley’s friend at the Pentagon clicked onto the NAMBLA site, no matter how fast he “clicked off it,” there’s still a record of his going there, so obviously there must not have been any ill effects from clicking on it even at the super-sensitive Pentagon, which renders the argument of “accidentally clicking on the NAMBLA site could be catastrophic” moot.
Also, even more significantly, if I remember right, Joe Stanley the Cybersquatter had nothing to do with people accidentally clicking on NAMBLA — the accidental link was an error on the part of Daily Whackjob, who put the link up without telling anyone what it really went to (which is a very common and somewhat annoying practice by bloggers, actually), which they have since apologized for. Otherwise a person would have had to accidentally open a browser and accidentally type “olddominionblogalliance.com” into the address bar to accidentally visit NAMBLA. (It’s not on Google either.) (And by the way, it doesn’t go to NAMBLA anymore, in case you’re curious.)
Shouldn’t the journalists be doing the writing instead of the story subjects?