The Blog With No Name

I pose a question: In its story on what seems to be petty allegations against Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein by rival Alex Areazza, why did the Sun-Sentinel choose not to publish JAABlog's name?

Here's the line from Jon Burstein's story:

"In his letter to State Attorney Michael Satz, Arreaza wrote that the allegations are based on anonymous information he had received and anonymous comments on a blog focused on Broward County Courthouse issues."

A blog focused on Broward County Courthouse issues, eh? Why not name the blog for readers and give the web address so they can check it out for themselves? Why withhold the information and leave a giant question mark in readers' minds.

Neglected Sentinel readers, it is JAABlog. Here's a link if you want to check it out. I asked one of the blog's main writers, Bill Gelin, what he thought of the strange omission.

"I can't say for sure what's in the mind of the paper or the reporters, but I know the powers that be are mighty unhappy about this blog," he told me. "Just the other day they blocked our site from the county law library. Maybe the reporters are just being sensitive to the concern over the blog."

I know how this feels. I've had the same thing happen to me in the the newspapers before (and even Vanity Fair, which cited a "weekly newspaper" in a story on Charlie Crist but didn't name us). Now I don't know who made this decision, whether it was Burstein or his editors, but the point is obvious: The newspaper suddenly thinks it's too good to validate the blog by publishing its name. Or it has cast a value judgment on a blog that has managed to have more influence on the courthouse in the past two years than the Sentinel has with far fewer resources (the Sentinel in the past has actually remarked on JAABlog's influence, name and all). Either way, it reeks.

-- While I'm here, might as well point to another no-name in the Sun-Sentinel. In what is a truly disgusting story about an 18-year-old guy who was having sex with his mom's male German Shepherd, the Sentinel decided not to name the guy because he was 17 at the time of the alleged canine canoodling. His mom, Mark Hollis reports, is a public school teacher. This one, unlike the case above, is actually a tough one to call. To name or not to name? Since it's so close, I say name the little bastard.

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Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman