Blogger Death Threats
Markos Moulitsas Zuniga is skeptical of the widespread claims of death threats aimed at blogging, thinking most are ploys for attention and the rest are “just the rantings of a lunatic.”
For my part, I’ve gotten my fair share of such vile emails. Some of them have threatened my children. One or two actually crossed the line into “death threat” territory. But so what? It’s not as if those cowards will actually act on their threats. For better or for worse, this isn’t a country in which media figures — even hugely controversial ones — are routinely attacked by anything more dangerous than a cream pie.
Email makes it easy for stupid people to send stupid emails to public figures. If they can’t handle a little heat in their email inbox, then really, they should try another line of work. Because no “blogger code of conduct” will scare away psycho losers with access to email.
Kos is certainly right that implementing a code of conduct, with or without fancy badges to display on sites, will hardly dissuade the type of person who might potentially react to words on a blog page by stalking down the writer and performing criminal acts.
I do believe that a handful of bloggers have gotten legitimate threats about which they were rightly concerned. While it’s doubtless statistically true that emailed death threats virtually never manifest in actual death, it’s nonetheless prudent to take them seriously and take appropriate action to protect your family.
UPDATE: Interestingly, several liberal blogs are much more outraged by Kos’ remarks than I am. Then again, I was one of a handful of bloggers who addressed his infamous “screw them” comments on the merits rather than a “how dare he!?” so maybe my outrage meter needs recalibration.
Skippy has an excellent roundup. His uppercase-free take: “we, for obvious reasons, will not link to the markos post today which, in effect, calls for whiny girls to stop crying because they have to deal with inconsequential things like death threats and stalking and violence on the web and off.”
Amanda Marcotte notes that “Markos is not a woman.” This is followed by a set of arguments with which I generally agree couched in a screed about The Patriarchy.
echidne (of the snakes) makes essentially the same argument, with somewhat less vitriol against men.
Melissa McEwan also thinks Kos’ perspective is sexist but she’s merely “disappointed” rather than outraged by it. She thinks cross-gender discussion here is bound to be fruitless because, “Every male blogger to whom I’ve ever spoken about receiving rape threats reacts with horror and shock because they don’t get them.”
Stephen @ The Thinkery thinks it all yet another example of the immaturity of the A-list Democratic blogs.
Lindsay Beyerstein (whose response is lacking in outrage) believes “the person who is best-situated to appraise the threat is the target, in consultation with police and other authorities.”