Today, The Washington Post reported that Jared Loughner, the man in custody related to Saturday’s massacre in Tucson, may have visited an alternative-discussion forum this past summer.
The information was relayed by me to my readers on the Tucson Citizen a couple of hours ago, after a bit of contemplation.
I posted without commentary. I did not go into detail about what the article said, only that Abovetopsecret.com (ATS) had a statement on their website, along with a quote from the website’s representative.
ATS is the largest alternative-topic discussion forum on the Internet, where users can discuss UFOs, conspiracies, the paranormal and other alternative topics. I do believe that the staff of the Scottsdale, Arizona-based ATS, were sincere in wanting to help in this ongoing investigation.
As far as the newspaper that ran the article, I am unsure of their intention.
The headline for the article by The Washington Post reads:
When I read the headline, my first thought was: “So what?”
When I read the article, it stated “the site’s operators believe [username] Erad3 was accused Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner, 22.”
The keyword in the headline is “apparently” and in the article is “believe”. It’s not 100% certain that Erad3 was Loughner, but the posts made by Erad3 used the same language that Loughner used in his YouTube videos. So, the ATS representative does believe that it was Loughner.
So, I tried to figure out what would possess The Washington Post to release a speculative article like that now, when we have not even buried the victims of the horrific tragedy in Tucson.
Well, we do know that this newspaper in Washington enjoys making light of UFO stories. When retired military men came forward in September, in a news conference to allege that UFOs interfered with nuclear facilities, the resulting coverage was inexcusable. Their journalist said that he only went to the news conference for the cookies and pastries offered at the National Press Club.
Basically, the cookies were the highlight of the resulting report of the news conference.
There were no references to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Erad3′s posts on ATS, as stated by the newspaper, so it isn’t apparent why the newspaper ran with a speculative article.
I can speculate, but I won’t.
My problem with the article, is not that it could be spun to assert that people who discuss alternative-topics, like UFOs and conspiracies, are “mentally unstable”. Instead, I would expect this newspaper to be 100% certain about the identity of the poster Erad3. The estimated 99%” certainty from the website owner that it was Jared Loughner isn’t good enough. The newspaper should have been 100% certain before running that article.
Also, running that article, which has been spreading all over the Internet all day, really could have waited.