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Hunt for Palin 'hacker': Journalism or mob mentality?

David Sarno has a thought-provoking piece on the blogosphere's track-down-cum-witch-hunt that fingered David Kernell as the "Sarah Palin Hacker" long before the feds indicted him or anyone else (which they still haven't done.)Indeed, a grand jury met today in Chattanooga and failed to issue any indictments.

David Sarno has a thought-provoking piece on the blogosphere's track-down-cum-witch-hunt that fingered David Kernell as the "Sarah Palin Hacker" long before the feds indicted him or anyone else (which they still haven't done.)Indeed, a grand jury met today in Chattanooga and failed to issue any indictments. (Times Free Press.)

Sarno's point, though, is that conservative bloggers (and commenters on this blog) rallied in an absolute mob mentality, screaming for the 20-year-old to be drawn and quartered, claiming the fact that his father is a Democratic state representative to smear the Democratic Party, and making the whole thing about MSM.

This comment on this blog typifies the more extreme viewpoint:

It is too bad we no longer hang low lifes, not that these are low life as that would be an insult to low lifes. Scum like this continue to propagate the understanding that those religious fanatics on the left (who are not conservative) can't abide life in a democratic society that is free to have its own views. For these scum jerks sob's, anyone who disagrees with them is stupid, uneducated, etc etc, and they will do everything to crucify them. Too bad the liberal scum in this country (US) are the most intolerant, racist, religious bigots, that are around.

As far as I'm concerned, the best remedy for the scum who hacked into someone else's personal information, irrespective of what that person's beliefs are, is to hand them, and the longest and highest, would still not be punishment enough. It's my opinion, and as a resident of the US of A, I'm free to it.

(sic)

For his part, Sarno basically apologizes for lashing out at the whole blogosphere in his disgust over the mob's readiness to lock Kernell away.

The reality, he says:

I was lumping together two independent phenomena of the social Web: On one side, you had bloggers in a reasonable collaborative search to follow up on clues and attempt to identify the hacker. That’s journalism ... But look at a few of the angry threats and accusatory headlines and you get the sense that as wise as the crowd may sometimes be, it’s still only a couple of pitchforks away from a mob.

Point taken.