Awarding winning investigative reporter Lee Zurik
Lee Zurik, investigative reporter for Fox 8 Live, recently did a story about Levees.org’s quest to roll back the curtains on the practice of vicious online commenting.
But first a little background. In December 2008, using back end tools available to any amateur blogger, we discovered that employees with the Army Corps of Engineers were using government computers to viciously attack the leaders of Levees.org by leaving anonymous comments on nola.com articles.
We brought our discovery to WWL TV Eyewitness News who covered the story.
Our objection to vicious personal attacks online is not just about the anonymity. Our objection is to a very specific type of behavior executed by a very specific type of individual.
We object when people in a position of public trust 1) disguise their identity, 2) pretend to be impartial observers and then 3) use community features of media–like commenting on nola.com–to attack a person or group.
We object to the behavior because we believe it could frighten and silence people who might have spoken out for the public good. We believe it could intimidate people who might have taken a stand on an important issue.