Wandering Eye: Community defends officer in Freddie Gray case, the Sy Hersh saga continues, and more

Sy Hersh's big bin Laden story in the London Review of Books has drawn lots of ire and pushback from other media (Slate has slapped at it five times already). But A.J. Hillhouse thinks the legendary journalist got it right—because he copied her. In this Raw Story piece Hillhouse, an academic and former blogger on national security issues, says there are many similarities between Hersh's opus and a post she wrote in 2011 on her blog, The Spy Who Billed Me. "It's nice to see something come out that supports and confirms my work," she said in an interview with Raw Story. "But it's a mixed bag in that it was rather shocking to see that there was absolutely no acknowledgment of the prior work. Because there's no way he could have done research on this topic and not come across my work." Hersh has basically brushed her off, telling Democracy Now that his story can't have been plagiarism because it is 10,000 words. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


There's been plenty of hand-wringing in the media world over news outlets publishing stories directly to Facebook, something that went into effect today for The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and National Geographic, to name a few. So iPhone users (there is no Android version yet) will see splashy pictures on Facebook and the articles will load faster because they're hosted on the social media site instead of the publisher's. Outlets can either embed ads or get Facebook to sell them for 30 percent of the proceeds. Gawker writer and former CP staffer Tom Scocca has a post on why this is potentially a bad thing. In short, Facebook could exert some control over editorial content. As Scocca notes, they have already pulled Gawker content because it doesn't meet Facebook's community standards. "When Facebook is a gatekeeper for content, the model for online publishing stops being a no-standards free-for-all and becomes something more like the Big Three television networks," Scocca writes. "Mass audiences must be handled delicately, tastefully, appropriately. PG-13, at the worst." (Brandon Weigel)


Yesterday the Vanguard Justice Society, a group of African-American police officers, hosted a press conference to defend Alicia White, one of the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. White's lawyers, neighborhood association leaders, and Vanguard leaders painted a picture of her as a Baltimore-born, community-oriented, responsible officer who is being "steamrolled," as one of her lawyers said. The charging documents say "White was responsible for investigating two citizen complaints pertaining to Gray's arrest. She spoke to the back of Gray's head, but did nothing further when he did not respond, even though she knew he had requested a medic." White's lawyers say they know of no evidence that White knew anything about Gray's condition. Vanguard officials also said they welcome the Department of Justice's civil rights review of the department and hope that it includes an investigation of the police department's practices regarding minority officers. Curiously, the WBAL story on the press conference says that "The Vanguard Justice Society came out Wednesday in support of all six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray." It would seem to be fairly newsworthy that the group was not only defending White's actions, but those of all six officers, including three white officers and several charged with more serious offenses, including murder. Yet, the Sun story and the WMAR story don't make any mention of the Vanguard supporting all six officers, though Justin Fenton, who wrote The Sun story, notes on Twitter that the support is not new: "Vanguard was side by side with FOP at press conference denouncing the charges on May 1." (Evan Serpick)

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