An anonymous commenter on Chris Trotter’s Bowalley Road blog has described me as “extremely right wing”. Laughably inaccurate though that is, I’m not about to lose any sleep over it.
Of far more concern was this, from the same anonymous commenter: “As someone who has had something to do with Karl DuFresne [sic], I would say that his opinion … is not worth listening to. I have no great regard for his ethics”. (The italics are mine.)
I submitted the following comment to Bowalley Road. To his credit, Trotter promptly published it. I don’t think he had much option, having waved the original slur through.
“It doesn’t bother me that the commenter who calls himself (I bet it’s a male) Guerrilla Surgeon describes me as extremely right-wing. Anyone who knows me would regard that as laughable. But to put it as politely as I can, I’m surprised that an anonymous commenter has been allowed to make vague and unspecified insinuations about my ethics. If he has evidence of any situation in which he thinks I’ve behaved unethically, I invite him to provide it, either on this blog or on my own. But he should identify himself rather than cower behind a pseudonym. In the meantime I’ll leave it to readers of this blog to wonder about Guerrilla Surgeon’s own ethics in seeking to undermine someone’s reputation with an unsubstantiated throwaway line.”
I repeat that invitation here. I promise the coward who calls himself Guerrilla Surgeon that if he details whatever concerns he has about my ethics, and does so under his own name, I’ll publish it – along with my response. Then I’ll leave it to readers of this blog to decide which one of us can claim to be Mr Clean.
People might think I’m over-reacting, but a potentially damaging slur cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. In journalism, reputation is everything.
Postscript (posted at 7.45pm Thursday): For the record, Chris Trotter has posted a gracious apology for allowing Guerrilla Surgeon's comment to go through, for which I thank him.
Footnote: Thanks to Gary Peters, a reader of this blog, for drawing my attention to the comment on Bowalley Road and sticking up for me there.