Everybody is a blogger now it seems. Blogs are great methods of maintaining communication and spreading truth. They are also methods for showcasing some spectacular ethics failures.
As a quick for instance, my thoughts today are dedicated toward those who fancy themselves “journalists” or “public information gatherers.” Sometimes people like this are extremely helpful and break stories the mainstream media won’t or can’t break. They research a car dealer for example and find that the company purposely tinkers with engines to ensure frequent service appointments. I am totally fine with that. It’s the “activists” who don’t know what they’re doing that bother me.
I’ll give one fast example. A Twitter user who purports to be a consumer activist sees a young looking man in a bar drinking a beer. That user immediately posts a Twitter blurb “warning” locals that the bar serves to underage kids.
An uproar results. The bar’s patronage drops and given the rough economy, closes within months.
The problem? The young-looking guy is legitimately 26 years old and the claim is completely false. A writer with ethics would have tried to verfiy the person’s age before slandering the establishment. Instead this “activist” forced a law-abiding company to suffer great harm while the bar across town that really does cater to underage kids keeps enjoying business as usual.
My point to all this is, ask questions. You might see something that puts a beep in your radar, but make sure it’s actually legit before shouting from the rooftops. You’ll have more credibility and serve the public good without harming people who don’t deserve it.