On November 10, the Independent devoted a full page to reporting on a “Santa Ynez Official Identified Among January 6 Mob.” The person who provided information for the story is cited as being “a Santa Barbara-based sedition hunter,” yet every other salient point about this source is clouded in obscurity.
Who, exactly, is going after our fellow citizens in such an aggressive, yet clandestine, manner? Should people who make allegations of disloyalty toward an increasingly authoritarian regime be able to safely hide behind a protective cloak of anonymity? Where is the incentive to not do such things to people who hold views you simply don’t like? Should the Independent be running feature stories based on allegations that could ruin lives, while the accusers remain safely incognito?
“The Santa Barbara investigator asked to remain anonymous, though their [sic] identity is known to the Independent.” Really? Did the Independent contact the subjects of these allegations regarding whether or not they might wish to remain anonymous?
Multitudes of our fellow Americans remain incarcerated as political prisoners; some have committed suicide rather than face incarceration — possibly in solitary confinement — all while our government’s political adherents engage in behavior equally riotous, and often more injurious and destructive, with few or no consequences. It isn’t beyond the pale to consider that the intent of the anonymous accuser is for his targets to face the possibility of a similar fate.
The Independent delves into arduous detail about the professional and personal lives of the persons allegedly at the protest on January 6, 2021, yet there is nothing of substance revealing exactly who is making these life-altering, potentially life-ending allegations against their neighbors. The Independent describes the pro-state activist behind it all as merely part of an “online group of amateur sleuths” who use facial recognition technology in order to turn politically misaligned citizens over to government intelligence agencies. Based on such a vague description, one can only make rational assumptions: imagine the Hitler youth, take way the uniforms and any inclination toward personal hygiene, and you’d have an approximate profile of these “sleuths.” That isn’t enough: too much anonymity remains, and, therefore, far too little incentive for judicious accusations.
If one is going to make these kinds of allegations against people — and the Independent is going to print them — then there at least needs to be balance and fairness given to those so accused, beginning with equal exposure for those initiating the fray.