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Joe Seahawk
08-22-2007, 04:32 PM
The Big Blog
SeattlenewscultureentertainmentSeattle


Ferry security, the FBI and a tough call

The FBI produces a picture of two men who indeed look like they could be Middle Eastern. Or Latino. Or Italian. Or any of several other nationalities/ethnicities. The FBI says the men have been seen on several ferries and seemed "overly interested in the workings and layout" of the ferries. They request help in getting information about them. They ask local media to run the photo.

What's an editor to do?

Ferry security is hugely important.

So are civil liberties and privacy.

The P-I last year reported that according to a Justice Department inspector general's assessment, Puget Sound's ferries were the nation's No. 1 target for maritime terrorism.

This may well be a case of alert citizens spotting a very real threat.

But running a photograph of two men who may as easily be tourists from Texas as terrorists from the Mideast with a story that makes them out to be persons of interest in a terrorism investigation seems problematic, to say the least.

The P-I ran a story about the FBI's alert, but did not run the photographs, because we didn't have enough information to warrant it. I hope that today we are able to get more information on this story, if it exists, from the FBI that would give us a clearer idea of the background behind their request.

Based on what we have, it seemed newsworthy that the FBI was trying to find these guys but it did not seem appropriate to run their photographs.

The Seattle Times ran neither the photographs nor a story.

TV stations ran the photo.

We'll see how the story develops today.

Tell us what you think, as many have already on Soundoffs.

Posted by David McCumber at August 21, 2007 10:58 a.m.
Category: The Managing Editor attempts to explain himself

patteeu
08-22-2007, 04:50 PM
I don't see the difference between running this photo and the photo of a man suspected in a child abduction which they would have done in a heartbeat. Of course they should have run the picture.

Fishpicker
08-22-2007, 05:24 PM
I don't see the difference between running this photo and the photo of a man suspected in a child abduction which they would have done in a heartbeat. Of course they should have run the picture.


thats ridiculous. having an interest in layout and workings of ferries is not in the same neighborhood as child abduction. abducting children is completely criminal. having an interest in ferries sounds like a hobby.

BIG_DADDY
08-22-2007, 05:26 PM
YEP

Cochise
08-22-2007, 06:20 PM
sort of reminds me of this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zacarias_Moussaoui#Capture

Joe Seahawk
08-22-2007, 09:03 PM
I think them not showing the pictures for the reason they stated just shows what a joke of a paper the Seattle PI has become..

This is a sample of how most local media reported the story..

http://www.nwcn.com/topstories/stories/NW_082007WAB_suspicious_ferry_passengers_TP.53aaa2a3.html

Taco John
08-22-2007, 09:16 PM
I think a key missing aspect of this is context. It's hard to make a determination on this story without seeing the pictures. If it looked like a couple of students trying to get good angles for their film project, that's one thing. If it looked like a couple of terrorists casing out the joint, that's something else entirely. It really depends on the profile of the individuals in question.

Joe Seahawk
08-22-2007, 11:01 PM
The Seattle PI decided to have a haiku contest about their decision not to run the pictures (I am not kidding) Even Liberal seattleites blasted them.. ROFL

Thousands more here.. http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/thebigblog/archives/120414.asp

Don't be proactive
More readers if ferry sinks
Post pictures after

Report violation
#47395Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 6:14 p.m.

Who are these 'masked' men?
Michelle Malkin has pictures.
Get your news from her.

HA!

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#47403Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 6:55 p.m.

The Seattle Post
to show they care will print a
floating edition

Report violation
#47405Posted by Brent Kinkade at 8/21/07 7:05 p.m.

Asking 'bout the boat
earned me no stares or scoldin's.
Of course, I AM white.

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#47407Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 7:09 p.m.

It's ridiculous
protect possible bad guys
than Americans

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#47415Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 7:28 p.m.

The Seattle Post
takes threat seriously, prints
floating edition

- ignore my previous post, I think this is better. Kind of reads like a headline, too.

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#47416Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 7:29 p.m.

Possible danger?
Political correctness!
Paper fails duty.

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#47419Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 7:38 p.m.

Puffing prideful chests
Seattle Post Editors
Pretense of standards

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#47424Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 7:55 p.m.

Seattle P I
Is a joke to sane people
God help Seattle

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#47426Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 8:01 p.m.

We must just stand by
We must not participate
Ethics are our god

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#47432Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 8:22 p.m.

Too much estrogen
single mother capitol
where are all the men?

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#47434Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 8:24 p.m.

Hold Liberal convention
On the ferry, then
Sink that sucker!

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#47436Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 8:28 p.m.

Dead beat dads abound
Two terrorists on a trip
Much less dangerous

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#47441Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 8:31 p.m.

How irrelevant
The Post Intelligencer
Goodbye dinosaur

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#47442Posted by Brent Kinkade at 8/21/07 8:31 p.m.

Check out all the spam
from a kid in his basement
scared of his shadow.

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#47444Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 8:38 p.m.

Left wing reporter
I hope you ride the ferry
or a plane sometimes

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#47449Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 8:48 p.m.

Who's more of a threat?
The FBI? Al Queda?
Or witty rednecks?

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#47462Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 10:05 p.m.

Our lives endangered
Sanctimonious P-I
Editors -- BONEHEADS!

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#47463Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 10:11 p.m.

Deadbeat Dads
Don't Kill
Socialism does

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#47465Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 10:32 p.m.

Only pictures if
left wing newspapers threatened,
commuters get lost

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#47466Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 10:39 p.m.

a magical place,
where 9/11 never
happened. Seattle.

Report violation
#47468Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 10:42 p.m.

summer vacation
measure the thickness of hulls
oh sweet summertime

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#47469Posted by unregistered user at 8/21/07 10:43 p.m.

PI wants Haiku
To justify its dumbness
Task Impossible

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#47487Posted by spindy at 8/22/07 5:16 a.m.

This is a tough call
How to maintain a balance
In this brave new world

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#47489Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 6:13 a.m.

Willful blindness
your heads
stuck on stupid

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#47490Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 6:28 a.m.

Seattle P I
Helps narcissists wear smileys.
Bombs will STILL go off.

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#47495Posted by laketrout at 8/22/07 6:48 a.m.

Harmless travelers
PI won't forever taint
Reputation sinks

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#47496Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 6:54 a.m.

Why post the pictures?
You could protect our lives, but...
CAIR might sue your ass.

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#47498Posted by laketrout at 8/22/07 6:56 a.m.

Summer breeze on waves
Push ganja cloud to Vashon
Jihadi not real

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#47501Posted by TBRSteve at 8/22/07 7:03 a.m.

A haiku contest?
Intelligent as a post
So much for terror

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#47504Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 7:08 a.m.

Moslems target boat.
Polite to run a picture?
I'd better write poem.

Report violation

alanm
08-22-2007, 11:01 PM
In instances like this, being politically correct can get you dead. :shake:

Logical
08-22-2007, 11:06 PM
I guess running the pictures would be ok but to ask for info about the people pictured is an infringement on privacy rights. Fine line, I would hate to have to make the call. I voted Gaz.

alanm
08-22-2007, 11:18 PM
I guess the P.I couldn't take the pounding any more. They cut off the reply's at 10:24 this morning. ROFL

Joe Seahawk
08-22-2007, 11:23 PM
I guess the P.I couldn't take the pounding any more. They cut off the reply's at 10:24 this morning. ROFL


Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 9:33 a.m.

Just doing our part
Haikus but not pictures
The war at home evidenced

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#47576Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 9:37 a.m.

No pictures
No cartoons
Embrace dihmitude

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#47578Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 9:38 a.m.

Help the Feds? No Way!
Better to die in flames
Than to hurt feelings

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#47579Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 9:45 a.m.

Pointless haiku while
Monica laughs at us while
Jihad sets the switch

Report violation
#47582Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 9:51 a.m.

Puh-leeze! No Pictures!
Can't risk my moral standing
with leftist colleagues

Report violation
#47587Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 10:00 a.m.

Civil Liberties?
What happens to the victim's
Civil Liberties?

Report violation
#47588Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 10:00 a.m.

World comes to an end;
Women, poor, minorities
Hardest hit. Bias.

Report violation
#47589Posted by laketrout at 8/22/07 10:01 a.m.

Unfairly target
Innocuous ferry dudes?
PI lists to port

Report violation
#47590Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 10:01 a.m.

"Floating edition";
Whether the ferry floats too
The PI cares not

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#47594Posted by Izzy Weird at 8/22/07 10:10 a.m.

Allahu Akbar

The Koran says kill kafir

The foolish obey

//---------------------------------------
Copyright (C) 2007, Izzy Weird. No Rights reserved.

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#47599Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 10:18 a.m.

The PI cowers
Thinks poetry is answer
Will blame Bush after

Report violation
#47601Posted by unregistered user at 8/22/07 10:24 a.m.

Cow farts
Moose burps
P.I. spits in wind
Ferry go boom...
Bush did it.



Pretty good stuff..

Maybe someone wants to add some?

Cochise
08-22-2007, 11:31 PM
These are the two men, but the only one of the pictures I could find.

alanm
08-22-2007, 11:42 PM
Pretty good stuff..

Maybe someone wants to add some?
The last one cracked me up. ROFL

alanm
08-22-2007, 11:45 PM
These are the two men, but the only one of the pictures I could find.
The military haircuts is a nice touch.

alanm
08-22-2007, 11:48 PM
World comes to an end;
Women, poor, minorities
Hardest hit. Bias.

ROFL :LOL: ROFL

Saggysack
08-23-2007, 12:09 AM
Israeli Mossad. ;)

patteeu
08-23-2007, 08:54 AM
thats ridiculous. having an interest in layout and workings of ferries is not in the same neighborhood as child abduction. abducting children is completely criminal. having an interest in ferries sounds like a hobby.

:rolleyes: Then I guess our FBI shouldn't be harassing these hobbyists either. If there's a good reason for the FBI to want to talk to them, there's a good reason for a responsible newspaper to publish the photo.

BTW, you're making the wrong comparison. In the child abduction case that I hypothesized, there's no certainty that the person the FBI is searching for actually committed the crime, but they might have. In this case, there's no guarantee that these guys were planning a crime that could cause multiple deaths and millions of dollars of damage, but they might be.

HonestChieffan
08-23-2007, 09:04 AM
Hell yes..publish the pic and find out what they are up to....good lord....what has happened to common sence

Nightwish
08-23-2007, 09:58 AM
The should or should not of this situation can only be known at the end, when and if the identities and affiliations of the two men become known. If they turn out to be innocuous tourists, film students, or whatever, then the PI was right not to run the photos and contribute to a panic. If they turn out to be Al Qaeda operatives, and they were caught before they could do any harm or convey blueprints to those who can do some harm, because other media outlets showed the pictures, then whether the PI was right or wrong not to run the photos will be determined by how it affects their readership and circulation - it'll come down to business sense. If they turn out to be Al Qaeda operatives who then carry out an attack because the one person who might have been able to identify them and point to their whereabouts happens to never watch TV and only reads the Seattle Post Intelligencer never saw the photos, then they will have been wrong not to run them. In the end, they have no duty to the FBI to post the photos, and it's really up to the editor. He'll live or die by the decision.

Nightwish
08-23-2007, 10:02 AM
BTW, you're making the wrong comparison. In the child abduction case that I hypothesized, there's no certainty that the person the FBI is searching for actually committed the crime, but they might have. In this case, there's no guarantee that these guys were planning a crime that could cause multiple deaths and millions of dollars of damage, but they might be.Your own comparison is flawed. In the child abduction case, a crime is already known to have been committed. Your comparison would have been better if you'd said the FBI believes this person looks like he could be a child molester (or better yet, is a registered sex offender), has been seen hanging around playgrounds and other places where children are at, and suspects that he might be planning to abduct a child. How many newspapers do you suppose would run that photo in that circumstance?

alanm
08-23-2007, 10:04 AM
Hell yes..publish the pic and find out what they are up to....good lord....what has happened to common sence
It would seem that the powers that be, running the P.I., are devoid of common sense.

HonestChieffan
08-23-2007, 10:07 AM
If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, looks like a duck......and if ducks begin a war with us....then we have every right to stop every damn duck we want and make sure its a good duck and not a bad duck.

Nightwish
08-23-2007, 10:10 AM
If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, looks like a duck......and if ducks begin a war with us....then we have every right to stop every damn duck we want and make sure its a good duck and not a bad duck.
Define "duck." What exactly is the variety of duck that "started a war with us" that these two men walk like, sound like and look like? I'm not saying they're innocent, or making any judgment on whether or not the PI should have posted the photos, but since it was only Al Qaeda, and not the whole of the Islamic/Middle Eastern/Arabic world that "started a war with us," then what are these two men doing that makes them walk like, sound like or look like Al Qaeda?

patteeu
08-23-2007, 10:41 AM
Your own comparison is flawed. In the child abduction case, a crime is already known to have been committed. Your comparison would have been better if you'd said the FBI believes this person looks like he could be a child molester (or better yet, is a registered sex offender), has been seen hanging around playgrounds and other places where children are at, and suspects that he might be planning to abduct a child. How many newspapers do you suppose would run that photo in that circumstance?

I guess I can understand that kind of rationale if you're the kind of person who thinks you have to wait until something really bad happens and then pursue the criminals after the fact instead of trying to prevent the bad thing from happening in the first place. Personally, I don't think that's a very wise course of action.

The operative factor, afaic, is whether or not the FBI has a good reason to be seeking the person. If they do, the paper should print the picture. If they don't, the paper should refuse. The weight of the evidence in this case suggests the FBI is acting reasonably IMO.

patteeu
08-23-2007, 10:46 AM
Define "duck." What exactly is the variety of duck that "started a war with us" that these two men walk like, sound like and look like? I'm not saying they're innocent, or making any judgment on whether or not the PI should have posted the photos, but since it was only Al Qaeda, and not the whole of the Islamic/Middle Eastern/Arabic world that "started a war with us," then what are these two men doing that makes them walk like, sound like or look like Al Qaeda?

Acting in a manner consistent with casing a component of public infrastructure for a possible terrorist attack.

Count me among those who applaud the practice of profiling. In this case, it's a combination of having an appearance consistent with being a middle easterner and acting suspiciously.

Nightwish
08-23-2007, 11:09 AM
I guess I can understand that kind of rationale if you're the kind of person who thinks you have to wait until something really bad happens and then pursue the criminals after the fact instead of trying to prevent the bad thing from happening in the first place. Personally, I don't think that's a very wise course of action.
Causing a public panic when you don't even know if something bad is going on is equally unwise, if not moreso. There is a happy medium. This is the sort of situation where the FBI should conduct its investigations low-key for as long as it is practical to do so. There may very well come a time when it is prudent to appeal to the public to find the men, and none of the articles I've seen on the subject are very informative on that score. At best, they say they've tried to locate them through "law enforcement means," but does not indicate that those means have been exhausted. Whether the local FBI authorities exercised due diligence and exhausted all available means before appealing to the public (maybe they did, but given their track record, who knows?), or whether they got antsy and nervous, thinking they might have a terrorist attack on their doorstep and unable to locate the men within the first couple days of searching and jumped the gun is anybody's guess. At any rate, appealing to the public and risking a panic should be the very last resort, it should not fall somewhere in the middle.

The operative factor, afaic, is whether or not the FBI has a good reason to be seeking the person. If they do, the paper should print the picture. If they don't, the paper should refuse. The weight of the evidence in this case suggests the FBI is acting reasonably IMO.
I would agree that whether or not the FBI has a good reason to be seeking the person is "an" operative factor. But "the" operative factor is whether or not the FBI has exhausted all available search methods before going public.

patteeu
08-23-2007, 11:16 AM
Causing a public panic when you don't even know if something bad is going on is equally unwise, if not moreso. There is a happy medium. This is the sort of situation where the FBI should conduct its investigations low-key for as long as it is practical to do so. There may very well come a time when it is prudent to appeal to the public to find the men, and none of the articles I've seen on the subject are very informative on that score. At best, they say they've tried to locate them through "law enforcement means," but does not indicate that those means have been exhausted. Whether the local FBI authorities exercised due diligence and exhausted all available means before appealing to the public (maybe they did, but given their track record, who knows?), or whether they got antsy and nervous, thinking they might have a terrorist attack on their doorstep and unable to locate the men within the first couple days of searching and jumped the gun is anybody's guess. At any rate, appealing to the public and risking a panic should be the very last resort, it should not fall somewhere in the middle.

I would agree that whether or not the FBI has a good reason to be seeking the person is "an" operative factor. But "the" operative factor is whether or not the FBI has exhausted all available search methods before going public.

Not only is there is no need to cause a panic, we have pretty conclusive evidence that no panic would have occurred. The picture was actually published by a wide variety of news outlets but yet there has been no panic.

Nightwish
08-23-2007, 11:20 AM
Not only is there is no need to cause a panic, we have pretty conclusive evidence that no panic would have occurred. The picture was actually published by a wide variety of news outlets but yet there has been no panic.
Doesn't make the situation any less risky. Just one wrong word in any one of those articles could have very easily changed the entire landscape. You can bet that those editors worked overtime to make sure every word was exactly proper before they released the story and photos. But the bottom line is, they didn't have to, and they had no duty to do so.

patteeu
08-23-2007, 11:27 AM
Doesn't make the situation any less risky. Just one wrong word in any one of those articles could have very easily changed the entire landscape. You can bet that those editors worked overtime to make sure every word was exactly proper before they released the story and photos. But the bottom line is, they didn't have to, and they had no duty to do so.

There are far greater reasons for the government to keep the NSA terrorist surveillance program secret than this. In fact, I don't think there is really any reason to keep this secret. I don't think there is any real danger of panic at all.

Nightwish
08-23-2007, 11:35 AM
There are far greater reasons for the government to keep the NSA terrorist surveillance program secret than this.Whether the NSA surveillance program should have been kept secret is a topic for another discussion, and a wasted one at that, since the cat's already long out of the bag. Once it was exposed, the issue was whether or not it was legal, and whether or not it was really limited to only terror suspects. Whole nother topic.
In fact, I don't think there is really any reason to keep this secret. I don't think there is any real danger of panic at all.You don't think people being told that people suspected of being involved in Al Qaeda (despite the efforts of the media to specify that they weren't suspected of anything, you know darn well that plenty of readers read exactly that) were in their home town and maybe planning an attack could stand a good chance of causing a panic? Mmmmkay.

patteeu
08-23-2007, 12:06 PM
Whether the NSA surveillance program should have been kept secret is a topic for another discussion, and a wasted one at that, since the cat's already long out of the bag. Once it was exposed, the issue was whether or not it was legal, and whether or not it was really limited to only terror suspects. Whole nother topic.
You don't think people being told that people suspected of being involved in Al Qaeda (despite the efforts of the media to specify that they weren't suspected of anything, you know darn well that plenty of readers read exactly that) were in their home town and maybe planning an attack could stand a good chance of causing a panic? Mmmmkay.

I've got the fact that no panic ensued on my side. You've got nothing but speculation that's already been discredited by the facts. Honestly, I don't know why you'd go on about this, but I'll let my case rest.

Nightwish
08-23-2007, 12:13 PM
I've got the fact that no panic ensued on my side. You've got nothing but speculation that's already been discredited by the facts. Honestly, I don't know why you'd go on about this, but I'll let my case rest.The whole thread is about speculation. It's not about absolutes, what did or did not happen. It's about whether or not it was wise or unwise, right or wrong, sound or unsound business sense to post the photos. The fact that a panic did not break out in this instance is a testimony to luck more than anything else. The fact is, a panic very easily could have broken out (especially thanks to the fear-mongering that Bush and his cronies, as well as people like yourself have continually foisted on the public). We should be thankful that all that fear-mongering proved impotent, at least in this instance. But the fact remains, and you cannot dispute it, that the conditions you people have bred are such that a panic could very easily occur with just the wrong implication at just the wrong moment in just the wrong place, and that keeps the question of the wisdom of going the route they did very much in play. An unwise act will not always, automatically have dire consequences, but that doesn't make the act any less unwise. If you go prancing naked through a nest of rattlesnakes, and somehow make it through without getting bitten, that doesn't suddenly mean that prancing naked through a nest of rattlesnakes is a smart or wise thing to do.