Wednesday, 19 April 2006

MalContent

Some students from the University of California, Santa Cruz, calling themselves Students Against War (SAW), found themselves inundated with death threats after foolishly releasing their contact details via an online press release. They had apparently heckled some recruiters from the military at their varsity's job fair.

There are allegations that right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin was responsible for much of the death-threats by reproducing these contact details on her site for the viewing pleasure of her audience. To rub salt into the students' wounds, she reprinted their details in another post when they asked to have them removed. The students of SAW, she claimed, should pay for that mistake and their "seditious, thuggish behaviour".

The brickbats were soon flying between the US left and right regarding this issue, everybody scrambling for the moral or ethical high ground, regardless of who they trample on the way. It feels heart-warmingly like home.

As a pundit, Malkin is not obliged to be law-abiding, moral or ethical. But if a fire does break out, how much would she - along with all the other highbrowed armchair pundits and Neanderthals with a limited vocabulary who jumped too quickly into the burning bandwagon - get burned: lightly seared, medium or well-done?

Remember: It wasn't too long ago that a 12-year-old Japanese girl had her throat opened by a schoolmate with a box-cutter over a nasty online exchange.

"Ain't gonna happen", you say?

There are a lot of Americans in the US. The odds look pretty good to me.

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