More upsetting are the bloggers who criticize individuals by name, make accusations against rabbis and communal leaders, but don’t have the guts to identify themselves, or bother to interview the people they write about.I haven't been following JWB very closely so I'm not sure which particular episode sparked this off (something specific clearly did -- I'm sure someone will enlighten me in the comments section). Indeed, just because it's now appeared in two major Jewish newspapers two weeks in a row, I'm not sure you can call JWB 'one of the better known Jewish reporting blogs.' Interestingly, it has introduced a type of yellow journalism which is virtually unknown in the Diaspora Jewish print media, and thus has attracted a certain audience. In the context of the rather respectable J-blogosphere, however, it is regarded as peripheral by virtue of its reflexively 'guilty until proven innocent' attitude and incessant self-promotion, which I think have proven untypical and unpopular. Unfortunately, a compliment like Rosenblatt's will probably only encourage JWB and cause people to flock to his/her website, and will probably have the exact opposite effect that Rosenblatt intended with his column.
One of the better known Jewish reporting blogs calls for “accountability and transparency within our institutions and leadership,” a noble goal, indeed. But the “About me” area on the home page where the blogger usually posts some details about him or her self is empty. To demand full disclosure of others without identifying one’s self seems the height of chutzpah and hypocrisy to me.
The question of anonymous blogging is, of course, as old as blogging itself, and there's not much new to be said about it. I find Rosenblatt's righteous tone here somewhat annoying -- there are more safeguards with the press, it's true, but it's not like the press are always accurate, as blogs have demonstrated again and again. He sounds really put out that he has to deal with pesky bloggers actually monitoring what his paper publishes.
Nevertheless, on his major point, blogs like Jewishwhistleblower -- whose raison d'etre is making accusations against others -- he is most certainly correct. JWB is really giving a good cause which I wholeheartedly support, accountability and transparancy, a bad name. Just this week we have seen a minor example, of Jewishwhistleblower making uninformed but very aggressive accusations all over the J-blogosphere against a man who has been vindicated in a court of law. This is not accountability at all, but persecution for which the anonymous JWB will never be asked to answer outside the virtual world of the Internet.
Why is JWB free to trample all over someone's name, while protecting their own? If JWB is so confident about his/her information, why are they scared to reveal their own identity? JWB, when are you going to put your own house in order?