Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Unjustly maligned

‘Guilt by association’ always unsound reasoning

My thanks to Glenn Greenwald, and my apologies to my readers. In reviewing the Nation commentary on the TSA backlash, I fell down journalistically: I looked only at the broad picture, and failed to take the authors to task for insidiously calumniating a private citizen, John Tyner, without a trace of evidence that he had done anything wrong other than being on the wrong “team” as a self-identified libertarian.

John Tyner

John Tyner: a person, not a symbol.
[ Image Source ]

I could excuse this by telling you I had only 4,500 characters in which to assess a rather complicated story, but the fact is, I was insufficiently vigilant and failed to observe and denounce an odious act of journalistic malpractice. Therefore I will now state this forthrightly: That some of the “whistleblowers” against the TSA are trying to manufacture public outrage for private gain does not mean that all of them are.

As far as I know and can learn from available material on the web, John Tyner is exactly what he says he is: a private but civic-minded citizen who objects to the Morton’s Fork offered by the TSA. He has done nothing wrong, and the insinuations made against him are all based on guilt by association, a logical fallacy and a sin against the canons of journalistic integrity.

Originally published as a review of a salon.com article rebuking The Nation for its reporting on the TSA backlash.

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