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Top Republican blogger posts phone numbers of liberal college students on Web site, students say they're now receiving death threats

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And what's worse, Michelle Malkin, the blogger in question, who just happens to be the top Republican blogger, is refusing to take the phone numbers off of her Web site, even though the kids in question have evidence to show they're getting death threats as a result of Malkin's actions.

Posting phone numbers is a time-honored method of political activism. But, there are rules, albeit unwritten.

First off, I would never post the personal phone number of anyone (unless they posted mine first). And if I did so inadvertently, and the person notified me of that fact, I would take the number down - especially after people were getting death threats.

For example, last year during the Jeff Gannon/James Guckert episode, I had access to Gannon's home phone number. I didn't post it because I felt it would have been inappropriate to do so. Some visitors to this blog also posted in the comments what they claimed was Gannon's publicly available social security number - I deleted it as soon as I became aware of it. I also refused to post Karl Rove's home address last year when people were protesting him at his home for some cause or another. And just last month, I deleted Senator Frist's home address from a publicly available DC tax record, even though anyone could have found it on their own:

This isn't to say how wonderful I am, it's to show that there are limits to everything, and they are defined by your own sense of civility, or lack thereof.

Secondly, I can't recall ever posting the phone number of a kid. An adult working in a business, yes. A college kid living on campus, never. And again, if I ever inadvertently did post it, and the kid got death threats, I'd pull the number. (The lawyer in me wonders about the legal issues surrounding a desire to leave such a number up, alongside charges that the target is guilty of 'sedition,' which is a crime punishable by death, after the person has received such threats and begged you take the number down.)

Malkin, on the other hand, has posted the phone numbers and email addresses of college kids on her uber-trafficked site, and the kids are now getting deluged with hate. It's wrong, in terms of sicing your audience on kids. It's also wrong in terms of once kids are getting death threats and they ask you to stop, you really ought to stop (hell, even for adults, if things start to get THAT out of control, you really ought to reconsider your activism strategy). Not dig in your heels in order to prove some bizarre, and rather sick, point.

And finally, having her audience call these kids is a rather bizarre, and I'm not convinced defensible, practice. It's one thing to call a corporation to complain about their sponsorship of x, y or z. But having your audience call up individual activists and yell at them because of a protest they held, that seems to start bordering on creepy and un-democratic.

Here's a sample of the hate mail the students are now receiving:

From: Wayne
Subject: shame on you
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 21:30:26 -0400

You will pay for your seditious activities. It is only a matter of time...We are retired military snipers & we are watching you...


From: Hermy Flenagin
Subject: Military
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 07:24:54 -0700 (PDT)

Girls (and other assorted shitdicks),

My sincere hope is that a couple hundred of the local patriots take a day off work for your next anarchist event, and come down to your little shithole with some axe handles and bust your fucking heads.


From: Peter Peanut
Subject: I hope...
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 09:38:44 -0700 (PDT) a fine young American very, very soon puts his shiny gun barrel up to your left temple and pulls the trigger. Now THAT will make America a much, much better place to live for the rest of us, you utterly disgusting piece of shit...


From: "Tom Ault"
Subject: outrage!
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 13:19:52 -0400

You intolerant left wing socialist fucking cock-suckers. We're coming to get you and when we do we'll hurt you..REAL BAD!


From: Christopher Boylan
Subject: Go fuck yourself
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 21:50:35 -0400

Fucking pansy douchebag, you're lucky one of those recruiters didn't put his foot up your silly little ass. Get cancer, you traitorous shit breath cocksucker.
More from Keith Olberman and Crooks & Liars and Chris Bowers.

It's one thing for Malkin to believe, wrongly, that posting college kids' personal phone numbers (one would expect their cell or dorm phone) is the same thing as posting the work phone number for the communications director of Disney, for example. But it's quite another for her to dig in her heels and keep the numbers on her highly-visible Web site after the kids have presented evidence that Malkin's actions may be inciting numerous people to threaten violence. At that point, a decent human being, regardless of your political persuasion, takes the phone number down - your point has been made.

I don't often wade into the blog wars. I don't like personally going after bloggers on the right - it just isn't my style. But what Malkin is doing is extremely disturbing, especially now that she insists on continuing the harm after she's been notified of it.

Malkin is, unfortunately, yet another example of the true nature of far too many in the right-wing blogosphere and right-wing politics. There's a level of venom, and a degree of lack of civility and soul and humanity, that's simply creepy. For some reason, I'd have expected more of even someone like Malkin.

Then again, Michelle Malkin defends the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. So, perhaps I'm expecting a soul and a humanity where there is none.

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