The Australian have outed Grog’s Gamut secret identity. It’s not clear to me why this is newsworthy or in the public interest.
It seems Grog tripped up the ABC recently.
The identity of Mr Jericho, who shot to prominence after making some sharp observations about media coverage of the 2010 election and subsequently has written for the ABC’s The Drum website, has triggered much speculation in recent weeks on Twitter.
That amounts to voyeurism. There is another argument that The Australian makes.
The prolific blogger shows a strong preference for the ALP, despite the Public Service code of conduct stating that “the APS is apolitical, performing its functions in an impartial and professional manner”.
You’d be as shocked as I am to discover that public servants tend to support the ALP. The linking with the APS code of conduct is immaterial in this case – unless Grog was blogging in the area of his actual work and/or his blogging was influencing his work then there is no case there.
The Australian media editor justifies the outing with this
IF you are a public servant and blogging and tweeting, sometimes airing a partisan political line, do you deserve anonymity? No.
Journalists and editors grant anonymity to sources and whistleblowers but Grog’s Gamut, or as we know now, Greg Jericho, is an active participant in the public debate via Twitter and his blog. The ABC’s managing director Mark Scott cited “Grog’s Gamut” criticism of media’s election coverage at an ABC news meeting and as a result “we adjusted our strategy”.
Fair enough. But if you are influencing the public debate, particularly as a public servant, it is the public’s right to know who you are. It is the media’s duty to report it.
Get the message – you can only be anonymous if the mainstream media grants you that privilege.
While we are fans of The Australian newspaper this argument that they get to choose who maintains their secret identity and the terms under which those identities are maintained is just bullshit. Mind you, if you don’t want people to find out who you are, don’t turn up at blogging conferences.
Mr Jericho, who was the subject of intrigue at the Media 140 conference in Canberra last Thursday as an “embedded” but anonymous blogger, wore a nametag that gave his first name but not his last.
Update: Grog’s Gamut tells his side of the story here.