Monday, December 07, 2009

Into The Ethical Woods - Griftdrift Edition

I've been bothered all day.

On the personal side, you may have noticed, I've been stepping further away from politics lately. A combination of shifting priorities and the sheer ugliness is driving me away from my favorite past time. It has been a quiet relinquishment - a slow break up.

But like a moth to the flame the Richardson story followed now by the possible Cagle story sucked me back in. What today has taught me is I do not like these stories. I wish I could rend the flesh of my prey the way my idol did back in the day, but I just don't have it in me. These are real people - not pieces on a political chess board as some would have. The universe has balance and I believe it does not take kindly to those who attempt to rise by climbing a pile of bodies.

As a writer, I've entered murky territory. In the past, I have prided myself that I've only published stories that I believed would stand up to scrutiny by the professional reporting class. Now, I find myself publishing a story no one on that side of the fence appears eager to touch (at least not yet). I know they've got it. I know they have everything I have and probably more.

Here's the fact which cannot be casually passed - even though I argue that a non-professional can report a story accurately and with relevance, there is a difference between a blog seen by a few hundred people daily and a media outlet that is seen by tens of thousands if not millions. I have the power to be an annoyance. They have the power to bring down a government. You have to respect this reality.

Dozens of times today, I've questioned if I should have published. My conclusion is although I may have dipped below my usual standards and certainly the standards of the professional class, there is fire beneath that smoke.

Bottom line - I stand by what I wrote.

To those in places of power who I know are regular readers, if you think I'm wrong, I'll be glad to hear it (off the record of course). You know how to reach me.

If you, my other readers, do not think this is correct or moral or professional, you have the same choices which have always been available - chastise me publicly, chastise me privately, continue reading but think less of me or stop reading all together. It is the risk I take every time I apply word to virtual paper and one which will not daunt me from facing the heat and light future stories may bring.


Sid Cottingham said...

Quit sweating this. Your handling of this matter, including confirming sources and patience, has been both professional and exemplary. I know regular journalists have their two sources rule, etc., but I try to follow a more basic one knowing reputations and family relationships, etc., come into play, this being the time-honored Golden Rule. You have navigated both.

Lucid Idiocy said...

I'll add: You should have stopped writing after "I stand by what I wrote" because I like to be an asshole about over-writing.

griftdrift said...

Absolutely right. I wrote past the close. And I do hate it when I do that

JMP said...

I'm with Sid here mainly. I do note however with some veiled amusement that the picture of the rack used to illustrate the point of the post seems to be among the most 'benign' of the species. Or at least it was the 'starting' version of the process as it began to be getting under way. Only part of the supplicant/victims body would have been in traction & tension. Perhaps even just the lower right leg here, which is pretty unusual I imagine to be depicted. Totally random example, probably. Right? JMP

They Call me Thunder said...

So was there a story published after the Cagle one that missed?

machine2473 said...

Don't don the cilice just yet. Even the most cursory review reveals your journalistic standards tend toward fairness and moderation.