Posted on April 22, 2013 by Bordeos2000
Journalists across the country are really stepping up to bat for the mug shot extortion industry by lobbying against legislation aimed to stop it. In order to fully understand the imprudence behind why they are doing this, we must commemorate the public outrage that ignited on Dec. 24, 2012 after staff at New York’s Journal News thought it would be a good idea to use public records and put together a map revealing the home addresses of gun-owners in the area.
When licensed gun-owners caught wind that these reporters decided to chart their home addresses by publishing them as red dots on a map, they fiercely rejected these actions. Asserting the newspaper had flagrantly disregarded their privacy, the dissenters attempted to prove their point by turning the tables on the Journal News’ staff. The newspaper was also unable to successfully fool anybody into thinking their project was simply about utilizing public data. Many pointed out that the newspaper’s intentions were tinged with a political motive meant to somehow imply gun-owners should be singled out and ashamed for exercising their 2nd amendment right. Lo and behold, there is now a law in New York exempting this information from public access.
Now let’s turn our attention back to those hideous mug shot tabloids. Some reporters claim these shame rags should be legal. That’s not surprising– American journalists are, after all, the undisputed champions of mocking people who wind up posing for booking photographs. Justly, legitimate news organizations like the Richmond Times Dispatch deserve to be handsomely rewarded for their creativity and expertise.
Professional journalists know better than anybody the vast importance of maintaining an open government. This importance goes well beyond the Mugshot Racket. Therefore, I do not understand why those who only exclusively deal in mugshots for commercial purposes seem determined to prove to the world that they are the most outspoken defenders of the entire Freedom of Information Act.
When it comes to policies about public arrest records journalists need to be honest with themselves on privacy issues or we are all going to be sorry.