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Monday, August 27, 2007

Ohio Blogger's Online Debate With New York Times Reporter: Loons Jump In With Death Threats

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Ohio Bizzyblogger Tom Blumer's online clash of the economic Olympians that pitted him against New York Timesman David Cay Johnston has been marred by death threats against Johnston. Cincinnati-area blogger Blumer commendably reports that he will actively cooperate in any effort to pursue those who expressed intention to hurt or menace the Pulitzer Prize winner.

Blumer and Johnston were engaged in heavy but not heated sparring while debating Johnston's analysis of personal income data -- whether incomes had grown during the George Bush years. Unfortunately, somebody jumped in and suggested extermination for Johnston and his family. He is the father of eight.

Blumer is an economic conservative who has described himself as an independent Republican, and his post about the death threats correctly denounced them. Blumer noted that Johnston told him the threats were based upon his blogging.

"Of course, I condemn those threats unconditionally, and I encourage David to pursue those who have made the threats, and to contact appropriate authorities. I will co-operate in any way I can. Yes these posts have been contentious . . . But how anyone can get so bent about posts relating to the accuracy and propriety of reporting on economic and tax data boggles the mind."

Blumer views death threats as serious business that shouldn't be tolerated or ignored. Another right wing blogger earlier this month seemed to feel that they shouldn't be taken seriously and were part of life on the worldwide web. John Hawkins of Right Wing News said nobody should have gotten worried when Sen. John McCain's life was threatened via the 'Net.

"However, here's an honest question: Is there any well known public figure in the United States of America who isn't occasionally getting death threats? More of the point given the article, is there a single U.S. Senator who hasn't received a death threat in the last year? My guess would be that there isn't.

"Unfortunately, that's just the nature of the beast as you make a name for yourself in a world where people believe that they can get away with saying anything they want, anonymously, over the Internet."

Blumer's reaction was the superior. He would not accept evil as the nature of the beast. And, of course, threats and intimidation can lead to criminal prosecution.


  1. Ya know... I'm not sure I even believe DCJ. There, I said it. He may have gotten "death threats," but that they're attributable a BizzyBlog reader(s) is somewhat suspect. I have no way of knowing, but I'm so cynical about anything coming from the NYT - with good reason. I hope it's not true, and DCJ is just bugging out.

  2. Hi Joe C.

    Well, Bizzyblog knows the most, and he wasn't doubtful about the threat. He even said he didn't want to hear from folks contending it was a false scare.

    And DCJ was willing to enter the online fray about the numbers, which was quite valuable and worth the time it took to read through. He wasn't chicken, nor did he run away from his reporting. I salute him for that.

    Now, you may have issues with the Times, it is not your cup of tea. Understandable. And no problem.

    But I think you sounded a bit too insenstive to a fellow fellow citizen who seems to have been threatened.

  3. Bill,

    As I said, my doubt is that they are directly attributable to BizzyBlog readers, not that the threats don't exist - "He may have gotten 'death threats,' but that they're attributable (to) a BizzyBlog reader(s) is somewhat suspect."

    Considering his recent confabulation - regardless of where he works - I think my minimal skepticism is warranted. I am not publically demanding proof or anything like that, and I align myself with BB's response.

  4. Hi Joe --

    I'm with you. Skepticism is always warranted. Your most recent comment is appropriate and full of wisdom. Joe, maybe I read more sniping into your first comment than was actually there. If so, I stand corrected.

    However, I find it deeply disturbing that somebody out there who read the Blumer/Johnston back and forth got so upset they commented inapproprately, or hinted at violence. That stuff creeps me out and gets my bilous side amped up.

    . apologzthe first commentdwlaway