Richard Jewel Redux?: The way

Richard Jewel Redux?: The way the media casually destroys people’s lives is sickening at times. Whether we’re talking about Linda Tripp, Paula Jones, William Kennedy Smith, Katherine Harris, Gary Condit, etc, the media can loot, burn, and pillage someone’s reputation and character like Rome destroyed Carthage. Now you may say some of these people brought the media attacks on themselves by doing things that they knew would draw the media’s attention. That’s a fair point but it doesn’t make the media’s vile smear campaigns any more ethical. But when you have a private citizen, someone who never sought the spotlight, who’s picked out & savaged by the media I think it’s repulsive. Take the case of Dr. Steven J. Hatfill for instance. I’ve seen several stories about this guy, all of which painted him as a lying, anthrax slinging, whacko. Why so?

“…The FBI has identified Dr. Steven J. Hatfill as one of 30 scientists and researchers with the expertise and opportunity to conduct the anthrax attacks.

FBI and Postal Service agents wearing protective gloves searched his apartment in Frederick, Md., for the second time last week. A senior U.S. law enforcement official said the agents took some items that have undergone a preliminary review.

Investigators have not classified him as a suspect, only as a “person of interest.”

So because the FBI has searched him the media is all but fingering him as the culprit in the anthrax mailings? Has anyone in the media ever considered that maybe, just maybe, they shouldn’t start tossing this guy’s name around and detailing his life story for the public when the FBI hasn’t even CHARGED him with anything? But it gets worse for Hatfill…

“He claimed to have served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and was discharged after his plane was shot down and he broke his back. However, his military record showed none of that to be true.

He joined the military in 1975, as Vietnam was ending and was discharged in 1978.

In a 1997 resume, Hatfill claimed to be a member of the special forces. But Walter Solkowski, spokesman at Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, said Hatfill attended special forces training in 1976 but failed after a month. “He flunked. He was in training for only about 30 days,” Solkowski said.”

So now Hatfill is the guy who probably sent anthrax to everyone as well as a pathological liar. If you read this about the guy, would you hire him? How many of his friends do you think are no longer returning his calls? How many people are now snickering and laughing at this guy behind his back? Do you think he’s getting death threats? What about his job?

“Hatfill has denied being involved with the anthrax mailings and has complained that the media attention led to his firing from a defense contractor.

Because of the FBI investigations, he was recently put on paid administrative leave for 30 days by Louisiana State University’s National Center for Biomedical Research and Training — where he worked as an associate director”

The article tosses in a little more suggestive criticism near the end just in case anyone might have a sympathetic view of this guy…

“Several of his colleagues described Hatfill as bright, but abrasive and difficult to work with.

“He was unpopular because he just did not respect other people’s lives and their work and their needs in the lab,” said Lothar Bohm, professor of medicine at Stellenbosch. “He was the sort of person who would go in the labs late at night at take pieces of equipment without asking.”

Now is this the guy who sent out the anthrax letters? I don’t know and neither does Jeremiah Marquez, the reporter who wrote this savage attack on Hatfill’s character that’s being passed off as a news story. But how do guys like Marquez sleep at night after aiming this type of character assassination at someone who hasn’t been charged with a crime, who has never sought the spotlight, who may very well be totally innocent of any charges? If Hatfill does turn out to be guilty of sending out these letters no one will bat an eyelash about his reputation being sullied like this but what if he did nothing wrong? How does he get his life back after dirtbags like Marquez & company have moved on to juicier targets? The answer is that he won’t and that’s what’s wrong with this sort of “journalism.”

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