UPDATE: Well, the SPI has decided against holding the haiku contest now.
The paper’s decision not to run photos of the two Seattle ferry passengers sought by the FBI didn’t take long yesterday to become part of a widespread debate that provoked readers around the country.
It also spread throughout the blogosphere. While most blogs pointed directly to the debate, some made some poignant comments about the topic of yesterday’s Daily Haiku contest, a topic that — considering the sensitivity of the issue — was probably not the best we could have come up with.
While the Big Blog mixes fun and news on a daily basis, in this case we undermined a serious issue and a serious debate, and made it seem as if we in the newsroom didn’t acknowledge its importance.
So thanks to all the bloggers who pointed this out. We agree it was a bad call and will learn from the experience.
P.S. — We’re not going to pick a winner.
Darn it all! I was just getting ready to make my submission.
Fortunately, folks more conscious of their civic duty to do their part are coming forward and the FBI has been flooded with tips.
H/T to Brennan at The American Pundit.
Now, let’s see. The FBI ask for your assistance in finding to suspicious characters possibly planning a future terror strike. What do you do? Well, if you are the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, you have a haiku contest instead. Why didn’t everyone else think of that?!
But, why didn’t the SPI run the photos? Well, they gave an excuse.
The P-I elected not to publish the photos, citing civil liberties and privacy concerns, which editors felt outweighed the newsworthiness of the images. “We have no confirmation that these men’s behavior was anything but innocuous, and to forever taint them by associating them with terrorism under these circumstances is not consistent with our policy,” said David McCumber, P-I managing editor.
As Michelle Malkin points out, “There’s no taint if there’s no terrorism. Were their actions nefarious or misinterpreted? The men could clear that up in a split second by coming forward and saying so.” Bill Hobbs at Newsbusters weighs in on this.
Of course it would be easier to find out which is the case if the FBI could find the guys. And it would be easier to find the guys if the Seattle P-I would publish the photos, so that Seattle-area residents would know what the men look like whom the FBI has asked the public to help them find. As it stands now, in the name of being politically correct, the Seattle P-I has decided to alarm the people of Seattle and leave them looking suspiciously at just about anyone who fits the general description of male and looking like they might be from the Middle East.