What is it with curmudgeonly journalists who jump at any opportunity to blame the internet? JJ sends in a link to a bizarre column by Christie Blatchford in Toronto's Globe and Mail where she appears to simply go off on all of "cyberspace"
due to something having to do with a murder... though, the connection isn't clear at all. Perhaps this is par for the course for Blatchford, who we also mentioned last year when she wrote a nasty column slamming
blogging and the idea that readers might want to comment on news stories. To her, "journalism is a monologue." Yet, this latest column seems somewhat disconnected from reality. It pieces together a few separate and somewhat unrelated things to effectively try to indict the entire internet and internet culture for the death of a teen.
To be honest, Blatchford (the professional) does a pretty poor job even explaining what she's so upset about -- but she seems pretty sure that it's the internet to blame. From what I can gather, a woman (or maybe a teen? it's not clear) was killed by a teen, and another teen was convicted of first degree murder for being the "mastermind." Fair enough.
So why is the internet evil?
From what I can parse out, there are four main complaints:
- Friends of the convicted girl have set up a Facebook group supporting her, despite her conviction.
- They dared to use her real name as you would expect friends to do -- rather than obeying the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which forbids naming such juvenile offenders.
- The messages in support from her friends have terrible spelling and grammar.
- The two teens involved in the murder text messaged each other a lot -- including at least two conversations where they discuss going to the bathroom, and a few conversations where they discuss sexual acts.
And, that's about it. But, you see, all this points out how the internet is such an evil influence. In fact, Blatchford seems quite upset that in the trial convicting the girl, no one has focused on "the role that was played by the web - enabling and empowering at the least" the murder itself. First, it's unclear what the first three awful points raised above had to do with the internet's influence on the murder itself. As for the final point -- it's about SMS text messaging rather than "the web" (but I guess we shouldn't expect a luddite to distinguish), and it's still not clear what role it actually had (if anything). The same conversations could have (and perhaps would have) taken place via voice over the phone as well if SMS wasn't around. These kids were obviously troubled, but there doesn't seem to be any indication (at least from what's presented) that technology (let alone the web) had anything to do with it, whatsoever. But why should that stop an angry columnist from blaming it?