Today SB Nation published and took down a very bad story about a convicted rapist that had no business existing. That’s bad. However it happened, the story was trash, and they know it. Twitter has made certain of that.
Without picking sides, I wonder why Twitter gets so mad about these things, so I’m going to project, hard-core. I think that there are so few ‘good’ jobs in journalism that the average person is probably working below their station and doesn’t feel good about it. That magnifies any real screw-ups from the people with the ‘good jobs,’ because they’re laid bare for the people without the ‘good jobs’ (i.e., us) to pick apart.
To that end, while the merits of this story are nonexistent, they are at least existent in theory, in that it is possible to write about a convicted rapist in a fair way. This was not it. Insofar as it caused damage to the victims of his actions beyond his actions, I’m not sure it did much. The stories to which it obviously compares, in terms of recently hyper-Internet-local journalism, are those of Dr. V at Grantland at the Geithner dude at Gawker, but I think both of those were orders of magnitude worse than this one — in both cases, there was an irreversible, negative first-order impact on its subjects. Not so with today’s disaster: only embarrassment.
So as bad as this was, it could have been worse, and it invariably will be, the next time.