The person (or persons) behind an online shame campaign against South Florida journalists has released a video explaining why. For the past three weeks, DeadBeatLink.com has gone live with the home addresses and phone numbers of Broward and Palm Beach's Fourth Estate. The video, which was passed along late last week from the purported mastermind, is an old-fashioned j'accuse.
It's also a little freaky -- what with the digitally scrambled vocal chords and the Guy Fawkes mask, the preferred visual symbol of Anonymous and other online hacktivists. Here it is below, uploaded courtesy of Gossip Extra:
After our initial coverage of the site, the figure behind DeadBeatLink sent New Times an email outlining the same themes contained in the video.
[M]ost of the reporters in South Florida will ONLY report on matters that pose no threat to them or their career and if asking hard questions of government officials is politically unpopular, they avoid it at all costs. Instead, big South Florida news outlets are replacing the real news stories of uncovering corruption in local government with stories of petty crime committed by powerless dolts.
The end result: this situation is unacceptable and the people are fed up with it. These people include me. I don't own these newspapers and I don't sign the paychecks, and standing outside the Palm Beach Post with a silly protest sign won't amount to much, so this is my protest of these news agencies that are filled with reporters that should look in the mirrors and be ashamed of themselves.
So far, still no official word from any of the news organizations targeted, although Post columnist Frank Cerabino did talk to Romenesko. "I think it's pretty silly," he told the news watchdog last week. "And obviously the work of somebody looking for attention. To contend that everybody in a news organization is a 'deadbeat' because they're not helping you go after your political enemies is a little twisted."
True to promise, this morning, the website published the personal information of about a half dozen staffers from the Palm Beach Daily News.