The Steubenville rape trial has concluded and two defendants have been adjudicated as delinquent, i.e. convicted as juveniles for rape, and will spend a minimum of a year in a youth correctional institute and have to be registers as sex offenders.
And now we can see how much justice was in fact obstructed by Anonymous, which I have reported as involved in this case in an opportunistic way as part of its revolutionary hacker's movement to undermine American institutions and distract from its own nature as an extremist and misogynist. I've been harassed a number of times by Anonymous over the years, but never so much as in blogging about their vigilantism in this story -- it was truly appalling, yet just as strangely as it began, it dissipated as murky figures in the upper echelons of their creepy cult sanctioned those below for harassing me.
The reporting that Lee Stranahan of Breitbart News has done on this story is superb and he should be commended. The world of journalism prizes is controlled by liberal and leftist media, so he won't get a prize for journalism and regrettably previously more reputable organizations like Index on Censorship have been busy giving prizes to the disreputable anarchist collective WikiLeaks for "freedom of expression" and would never consider what it means to battle the meme-stream as Stranahan has. But he should get an award.
He reported it at Breitbart, but most of it went on his own blog -- not only because it seems Breitbart News itself didn't want to make this as the important story he saw it as, but because to pursue all the angles that sounded like inside baseball and he-said, she-said after awhile, you really needed a blog.
What emerges -- as nowhere else in the media! -- is a picture of the "hacktivists" -- call them hacknarchists -- actually achieving the opposite of their fake stated goals (in a classic Leninist-style active measure, I might add):
Breitbart News spoke exclusively to Frank Bruzzese, an assistant prosecutor for Jefferson County, Ohio who assisted in the early stage of the investigation. Bruzzese says that when Anonymous became involved in the story in they created an vigilante atmosphere that had dire consequences for both the case and the people of Steubenville.
“The internet lynch mob did damage to their own stated goal of helping the victim by putting her in an international spotlight that only served to humiliate her. Anonymous claimed to want justice but their threats had the opposite effect; by calling for the scalps of eyewitnesses and other completely innocent people, the result was a hampered prosecution where people were afraid to testify and where the judge was forced to grant three witnesses immunity.”
As Stranahan had earlier explained, Anonymous even outed the identity of the girl, which had been carefully kept hidden by mainstream media and other bloggers as is the norm with rape cases. Awful!
Again and again I pointed out that what was happening is called "re-traumatization of the victim" -- in wider and wider circles of now thousands of people, this girl's humiliation was being replayed over and over again, ostensibly in the quest for justice, but which inevitably increased the number of people calling her a "slut" as well.Stranahan said Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong and then summed up after the trial, when we now had the facts examined by a court of law, and crossed out everything that in fact was proved false. That's pretty astounding stuff to get wrong -- and yet the blogosphere, Twitter and even the mainstream media did get it wrong.
That doesn't mean that he got every political or social aspect of this story "right" -- because there is a range of opinion on this subject. Lots of feminists and leftists and the shadowy Anonymous thugs wanted him to cave to their pressure and see the story as they did. He didn't. I don't agree with his every take on it, starting with his airy dismissal of the football culture. Maybe you have to live through such a culture in a small town to feel it. Maybe he didn't. Maybe you have to be female. I take the point about football rape culture, although I concede it was exagerated for a political agenda here.
Even so, whatever my difference in emphasis with him, what Stranahan did with this story was *reported it*. He found facts. He made cold calls. He went to the town. He talked to officials and townspeople. He didn't just cut and paste from the Internet or follow thread-bare Marxist political narratives from the 1960s.
I feel he was too harsh on the New York Times, which I found a welcome antidote from the shrill take that we got at The Nation or of course the many Anonymous accounts. But they didn't report this story as he did. He covered every angle and highway and byway, and shows everything we know about the case that is false -- crossed out from the original narrative fomented by an Anonymous fugitive hacker. This should make every editor in America and every serious journalist re-think every single fatuous and naive and gullible thing they've been saying about Anonymous -- sadly it won't.
And he earns this page of rebuttals because he himself has tracked every story and side-story, documented the claims and counter-claims, and blown certain things out of the water on his own blog and Breitbart.news.
You don't have to endorse rape culture -- I sure don't -- or diminish the victim's status -- I sure don't -- or find that there is nothing to prosecute -- I sure don't -- to say that the liberal media got this story wrong and fell into the dangerous clutches of a riotous and vicious online mob that was obscuring the truth and thwarting justice, not helping it.
Anonymous did not help the victim, but harmed her, as Stranahan explains:
Anonymous promoted a pack of rumors that spread like wildfire on the internet, involving complex conspiracies involving what they termed ‘a brutal gang rape’ in Steubenville. Bruzzese says “For months now, I’ve watched the internet lynch mob spin a tale from nothing. They sold the media a story where an girl was drugged, carried from party to party in the trunk of a car, photographed by dozens of party goers as she was raped at series of parties, urinated on and finally dumped on the front lawn of her parent’s house. The trial showed that none of that was true.”
Now, here's what Stranahan says about the reasons for why the liberal media got the story wrong:
The actual story, disturbing enough on its own was far less salacious than the Anonymous embellishments. Why did a sexual assault that involved three drunken sixteen-year old in a small Ohio town became major news? The narrative that the media pushed is a mixture of an easy to explain premise: Friday Night Lights with rapists meets cultural Marxism, taking cues from academic radical feminism and just good old Red blooded hatred of the United States. Steubenville became a way to belittle middle-American values like ‘football culture’ and to promote the idea that America, distinct from the rest of the world, foments ‘rape culture.’
And here -- while I'm certainly alive to the problems of "cultural Marxism" and "academic radical feminism" I think he goes too far with ascribing the liberal media's take due to those biases or eev the "hate America stuff". I think the idea that there might be problems like the prosecutor's son was involved or that the coach had connections to the police were powerful factor in shaping the "gotcha" narrative but it wasn't without reason for the media to question those dynamics.
Even so, Stranahan was particularly successful in gathering and publicizing the information around Commander X (Christopher Doyon) the Anonymous bad actor responsible for the lynch mob in Steubenville. This fugitive from the FBI had fled to Canada after being indicted for hacking the city of Orlando, and then sneaked back into the US to cause mayhem around this trial in Ohio. No other newspaper would cover the sinister side of Anonymous in Steubenville, but only cheered their "hactivism" and sometimes sucked a thumb for a second about vigilantism, but never for long and always ensuring the comments below from the legions of /b/tards drowned out the qualsm.
Maybe Stranahan was less successful in covering the other figures in the story, like the football team's coach, who sounded ominous when the Times covered him -- a story Stranahan doesn't quite successfully dispel.
But I can understand how that happens, because he's up against the feminist Marxist types who are trying to shut off any discussion of nuances or debates about morality and accountability by implying that we cannot find ranges of awfulness in rape stories and that if we do, we are condoning rape in the first place.
The horrifying gang rape in India in which a woman was raped, beaten severely and ultimately died is one extreme of the rape range; an appalling tragedy this week where a 10-year-old girl was raped and her mother was murdered by a convicted sex offender who broke his ankle monitoring bracelet is yet another range on the horror spectrum; and the rape of a 16-year-old girl who went along willingly at first with her football team friends to party and got drunk and got raped is rape, but "brutal" may not be the word to describe her.
Maybe you need to save that adjective for those who die themselves or watch their mothers die, you know? Instead of for what happens when you party in a football town. And I said that with the firm conviction, as I've maintained all along, that the punishment for getting drunk with a frat boy in his dorm shouldn't be rape, but a hangover, and in this case, too, also shouldn't have been rape, which is wrong, and illegal, and punishable.
What we really have to ask is whether the punishment is commensurate with the crime -- should it be the absolute ruination of the rest of the lives of these young people and other townspeople caught up in the maelstrom incited by Anonymous? How is the brutal realm of punitive authoritarianism ruled over by shrieking Marxist feminists and cynical hacker collectives that savage and demolish people for life -- a world as brutal and awful and unrelenting as anything Margaret Atwood or George Orwell might create -- better than the small town susceptible to its alliances and its cover-ups? It's not, of course.
The mob that descended "from the Internet" didn't bring justice but vigilantism. It makes me consider whether towns should have ordinances against demonstrations in masks. After all, if the KuKluxKlan is denounced for putting burning crosses on lawns in hoods, why are Guy Fawkes masks okay even for a just cause? Anonymity is what breeds vigilantism. If you believe in a cause you should step up for it with your face. Sure, I get it that victims of domestic violence and rape may need to shield their identities. But then they can do that without leading unaccountable mass movements from the Internet, you know?
Nobody else tackled this story as seriously as Stranahan in anywhere near the level of detail and diligence and consistency. Almost none of them covered the wild phenomenon of Anonymous itself and its obstruction and mayhem, except occasionally to pat what they saw as sincere demonstrators on the back without analysis. For his trouble, Lee was viciously harassed for months on end by a gang of really sophisticated leftist cadres and psychopaths mixed with the troubled kids that Anonymous picks up in its wake and whose Internet histrionics it worsens. In fact, I reported one account to the company this week as needing urgent intervention for fear of self-harm and attempted suicide -- it's scary to watch these things unfold on the Internet with nothing but other freaky Anonymous kids to incite and abet it and no grownups in the room. Where's Mom and Dad?
Because Stranahan got at the truth, the Anonymous mob was endlessly trying to pin him with various horrors -- oh, he pimped out his wife for BDSM orgies...or something. It would all be laughably amateur hour if it weren't at times sinister in the way some of the persecutors invoked his children's names or the fact of the death of his infant in childbirth.
With the failure of the media to cover this story fairly and accurately, with the casual cynicism involved in a Reuters journalist serving as accomplices to Anonymous, you can see how a situation begins to emerge as in the UK right now over press regulation. Press commissions are completely alien to media freedom, but if the media is not responsible then the government begins to step in to regulate them under public pressure particularly from the victims of their media malpractice.