Thursday, April 20, 2006

Malkin vs. SAW

Michelle Malkin is at it again. She has recently come under fire for posting the contact information for the ‘Students Against War’ (SAW) organizers who kicked military recruiters off the UCSC campus a week or so ago. SAW’s actions at this career fair, which consisted of about 100 protestors stopping anyone from talking with the military, appears to be the biggest news in SC Indymedia history. They can’t get enough of it; there are a good 10 articles about it up on their site at this moment. Of course, any honest discussion about the objectives and actions of SAW is censored, but this is Indymedia so that is to be expected.

SAW had released their personal contact information on a press release, so it was not exactly private information. In fact, I can effortlessly find all of the information posted on Malkin’s site on a slew of others endorsed by SAW itself. Because of Malkin’s blog post, the SAW organizers have received a slew of unsavory phone calls and emails. The discussion now taking place is whether or not Malkin was unethical in posting that contact information.

I personally feel a bit torn on this issue. Press releases often contain contact information; how else would the press be able to contact the organization? SAW has all of this information available online. If someone wanted to give SAW a piece of their mind, a quick google search would produce the required information. Malkin on the other hand, posted their numbers specifically so that her readers would bomb the organization with angry calls. Malkin often complains about receiving hate mail and having her opponents give out her personal contact info, so it seems a bit hypocritical that she would then turn around and condone the same behavior.

On the other hand, SAW did not plan their actions accordingly. I have yet to see a protest conducted by the group that was anything but symbolic and press-centered. They did not stop the military from recruiting on campus; they just made a big fuss at a career fair. The organization is interested in media coverage, and these types of stunts get them that. I would even wager that SAW hurts that anti-war movement with its extreme rhetoric. None the less, with the increased media coverage and criticism the group is facing, I am sure its organizers will think twice about giving their personal contact information on a press release again.

None of this excuses anyone who called and left death threats. I think it is reasonable to contact SAW and explain why you found their actions reprehensible, but if the best you can muster is personal threats, then you need to just shut up. The world needs fewer bullies who result to that kind of behavior every time things don’t go their way. Write letters, debate, protest the group if you like, but keep it civil. SAW needs to have these types of threats and confrontations. It is what feeds the ego’s of its members. They can now walk away from this career fair ordeal feeling like young Che Guevaras.

Let us confront SAW from a practical and liberal standpoint, and not engage in the very behavior they routinely practice.

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