I first want to get what get into what civil disobedience is all about. It is about getting arrested over an unjust law, in order to bring light to it and to bring about change. And you accept the punishment afterward. Like my friend Moe Lane once said, civil disobedience is “how you make people ashamed at the injustice, and at the system that created the injustice.” It is sitting in the “whites-only” front of the bus. It is NOT squatting in some park and demanding rich people be poorer.
Martin Luther King Jr. said it best:
In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
So you can understand my opinion of a gyrocopter landing on the National Mall (and endangering human lives I might add) in order to protest, not the “no-fly zone” over Washington DC, but campaign finance laws, is not what I would call civil disobedience! Not by a long shot!
And so it stands to reason that since that Doug Hughes’ politics are left-wing, that the Tampa Bay Times and Ben Montgomery not only knew of this dangerous stunt, but did nothing to stop it whatsoever:
The Secret Service was aware of (Doug) Hughes and had interviewed him twice over the past few months, according to (Ben) Montgomery. But it is unclear whether it knew when Hughes intended to act.
But Montgomery and the Times had a pretty good idea. On Monday, he and Times photographer James Borchuck traveled to Washington in anticipation of Hughes’s flight. Rain delayed takeoff on Monday and Tuesday, Montgomery said. But around noon Wednesday, Hughes called Montgomery from Gettysburg and told him that he was on the runway, prepared for liftoff.
At that point, the newspaper did two things. It posted Montgomery’s story about Hughes on its Web site while a reporter at the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based newspaper phoned the Secret Service. A public information officer told the newspaper that the agency was unaware of Hughes’s flight and referred a reporter to Capitol Police. An unidentified officer told the Times, “He hasn’t notified anybody. We have no information,” the paper reported.
Nevertheless, the Times made the wrong decision, said Fred Brown, a former longtime chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics committee. “I think the newspaper had a responsibility to alert authorities” well in advance of Hughes’s takeoff. “There are too many things [the paper] didn’t know. Was he carrying an incendiary device or a weapon? There are many ways to weaponize [the aircraft] or create a danger.”
Wasserman points out that the Times, a recipient of 10 Pulitzer Prizes over the years, benefited from its own inaction: It released its story just as Hughes was making news, ensuring that readers would flock to its Web site to learn more about him. “As a news organization, you can’t be complicit in this,” he said.
When a newspaper becomes the story, they fucked up. And the Tampa Bay Times and Ben Montgomery fucked up hard. You see, they interviewed this guy and then waited until he was committing a crime before doing anything. The thought of someone getting hurt even crossed Ben Montgomery’s mind (do not click the link to give the Tampa Bay Times more business and I’ve screen-capped this, so no deleting):
This is one of the craziest stories I've ever done. I so hope nobody gets hurt. http://t.co/9MMtdabNJu
— Ben Montgomery (@gangrey) April 15, 2015
As of this writing, Ben Montgomery is completely unrepentant. He likely thinks “no harm, no foul” and is patting himself on the back for being on the scene of the crime ahead of time. This is why people no longer likes or trust the media.
They should be ashamed of themselves for this ugly display of ethically challenged journalism. I don’t know if the Tampa Bay Times and Ben Montgomery should face criminal charges, but I do know they are both morally bankrupt and should both be put out of business. You have to have morals in order to feel any shame. I think it is about time we start calling their sponsors and tell them how they put people in danger.
Well, see ya’ later!