David Lazarus: A Journalist Who Can’t Rise from the Dead

Ethical Question: Aren’t you really setting yourself up for disaster when you email naked photos of yourself to “a variety of online correspondents?”

The whole idea that this “Gene” character is complaining after he was foolish enough to send off photos to random strangers strikes me as naive and a bit self-serving. Further, if a person attending a sex party doesn’t already know that the San Francisco sex community is a small and tight-knit group (and, by damn, they should know) and that they should be highly circumspect, do they really have the right to complain? Here’s the question: what happened at the disrupted party and why didn’t the reporter push “Gene” for an answer?

The interesting thing about David Lazarus’s “The Internet is Evil” article is that we don’t hear the other side of the story. Why didn’t Lazarus try and get in touch with “Reality Check” or other members of the Yahoo group? Surely, “Gene,” if he had any brains at all, would have had records or emails from the disabled site. Oh yeah. His story angle was the “victimized” Gene and the evils of the Internet, as pronounced from Ray Everett-Church’s high horse. Never mind that Lazarus’s article still presents us with the possibility that “Gene” could have tipped off campus police about the party and that Lazarus doesn’t even bother to get a firm “No, I didn’t call the police” from “Gene” to make his case more airtight. Nor do we have any idea about how “Gene”‘s reactions to his accusations could have provoked the fury of his cybersmearers. Did he egg them on? I’ve seen a lot of flame wars over the years, and, in most cases, it takes two to tango.

The other thing that makes this story suspect: If Gene was told implicitly by Yahoo! that he needed a subpoena, why didn’t Gene figure out that maybe he just might need an attorney to file a civil suit and hammer Yahoo! with discovery? Perhaps because Gene either lacks the funds, can’t find an attorney to take his case, or implictly knows that there’s a bit of bullshit to his story.

Sure, cybersmears are certainly a threat and I don’t mean to suggest that “Gene” is without innocence. But “Gene”‘s case is a poor example, and Lazarus’s findings here are so full of holes, lack of specifics and unanswered questions that I simply cannot buy his premise.

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