Bill Schmaldfeldt returned to this blog and left a lengthy comment, as he is known to do, in an attempt to answer some of this blog’s “Questions of Bill Schmalfeldt.” However, this is an answer to a comment and not any answer to any of this blog’s actually questions. Since it is so lengthy, and a comment on a post that is now several days old, Running Wolf Blog decided it would be better presented in a post of it’s own. Unless otherwise noted, anything in this post that is quoted is from Schmalfeldt’s comment. Running Wolf Blog has decided to use the comment in it’s entirety. If you’d rather read it without the commentary of Running Wolf Blog, you can find it here.
To start, here is the comment your host posted to Bill that he then answered. Again, this is off topic of the “Questions of Bill Schmalfeldt” but since the answer was a mostly honest attempt at an answer to a question asked, we are going through this exercise.
Bill, no one is saying that no comment should end the investigation or the story. What people are complaining about isn’t that you wrote the story, it’s about how you behaved after you were told no comment. About the twitter attacks, the blatant insults and the demeaning things you said. By all means, continue to go after the story, but do so under the ethics of the profession.
From the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists:
— Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
— Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
— Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
— Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
— Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
Do you honestly feel you behaved within these guidelines in the case of Stanahan’s daughter? Because if that’s what you honestly believe, that you used sensitivity, that your phone conversations were sensitive, that you actions when you didn’t get the information you wanted wasn’t arrogant and that Mrs. Stanahan had an expectation of privacy and respect and your continual comments on their decision to do a home birth was showing good taste… well then I don’t know what else to say. You’re the one with the problem, you’re blinded to your own actions.
– Your Host in an approved comment on this blog
Here now is the response. Schmalfeldt’s words are in the quote boxes. Running Wolf Blog’s commentary follows the quote boxes. But before we begin, Running Wolf Blog hopes that Schmalfeldt will accept that this is not an attack, but a constructive criticism of his comment hoping to show him how he earned his current reputation.
I’ve already apologized for my conduct. Why is no one apologizing to me for what they said — and did — to me?
Running Wolf Blog has done nothing to you. Schmalfeldt needs to take up his hurts elsewhere.
You are overlooking Stranahan’s past. You are overlooking his history and his penchant for using misfortune to raise money. If you are ever interested in the full story, how we “came to be”, how it started with a polite interview with his responses printed verbatim only to have him smear me as a liar online the next day, how he set the entire right wing blogoverse against me with his false rape-threat charge, you let me know. I’ll write you a story. You won’t believe it, of course, because I sense your mind is made up.
Schmalfeldt has absolutely no idea how your host feels about Stranahan. Absolutely none. It might surprise Schmalfeldt to learn that I have some serious problems with the politics and smear tactics of Stranahan, and am currently working on a piece that isn’t all that favorable to Stranahan. I’m still getting background, and haven’t asked Stranahan any of my questions as of yet, so the story may yet change. But your host’s disagreement on a topic with Stranahan doesn’t lessen the very real violations of the code of ethics of the organization Schmalfeldt claims to believe in. Schmalfeldt is free to write his story on his blog, and your host might read it and look into it. But Running Wolf Blog has its own Stranahan story to write.
But ask yourself. What did I do that compares to…
Profaning the memory of my mother?
Graphic depictions of sex with my dead twin brother?
Insulting comments about other deceased members of my family?
Threatening my LIFE?
Threatening to gut my dogs!
Insulting my wife! (Yeah, I know. I did it first. But I took it down because I was ashamed of it. Krendler’s is still there)
Calling my dead mother a whore?
Calling my dead father someone who gives blow jobs for the price of a drink?
Again, Running Wolf Blog did not participate in any of these alleged activities, so Running Wolf Blog feels no need to apologize for any of them.
However, as to what Schmalfeldt did that compares to each of these? Here’s your host’s list.
Profaning the memory of Schmalfeldts Mother = Insulting the intelligence and love of a mother who just lost an infant.
graphic depictions of sex with my dead twin brother = content anus comments about commenters on Hogewash
Insults to deceased family member = dead baby again
threatening his life = veiled threats he made against others
Insulting my wife = Oh, he already answered that.
calling my dead mother a whore = him calling Ali’s live mother a whore
calling father blow job giver = did we mention the hickey’s Schmalfeldt claims was placed on Hoge’s ass?
Now your host is not forgiving either side of these equations. Running Wolf Blog has maintained that family members are off limits and threats are wrong. But ultimately, the thing that Schmalfeldt most misses is, when you are a reporter following a story, you shouldn’t become part of the story. You shouldn’t be in the story, you should be observing it. Asking questions. Getting answers. But always in an ethical manner. How other people treat you, the reporter, is of no concern. Their criticism should be water off a ducks back, not something to respond to.
How does aggressively pursuing an answer that I could have been given in ONE MINUTE stack up against all that? And who has apologized to ME?
There is nothing here to stack up against. If Schmalfeldt is truly acting as a reporter, none of those comments should matter and are of absolutely no concern as for getting the story. A majority of those comments wouldn’t have happened, at least not repetitively, had Schmalfeldt not allowed himself to be drawn into and becoming a part of the story. And it doesn’t matter that it would have only taken one minute to answer the question, no one, including reporters, have a right to private information of a private citizen. Had Schmalfeldt done real investigative journalist instead of harassing, false reporting and engaging himself into the story, it is a story that would never have been written. Because Schmalfeldt would have eventually found the death certificate, known it wasn’t a scam, and never published the story. And that’s how reporting is supposed to work. Not with the reporter jumping into the fray and becoming a part of the story.
I know my own actions. I’m not proud of them all. But you ask any ACTUAL reporter, you will be told that they aren’t proud of everything they’ve done to get to the bottom of a story. Stranahan was a story to me. Nothing more.
Your host is an actual reporter, having worked in newspapers, television and radio for over 2o years now. Your host has worked with award winning journalists from around the country and on stories that were far more sordid than anything Schmalfeldt has reported on in his retirement. But I know of no reporter who actually engaged the target of a story in the way Schmalfeldt did. I don’t know of any reporter that openly insulted subjects of a story with the vileness that Schmalfeldt did. Oh, dis your host ever regret anything done as a reporter? Sure. But your host can safely say nothing done to get to the bottom of a story approaches anything like what Schmalfeldt did, and your host knows of no other ethical reporter who did anything like it either.
Yes, my taunts were out of line. His sending the cops to my house was out of line.
This is the first in a series of “moral equivalencies” that are completely irrelevant. Schmalfeldt’s taunts weren’t out of line, they were unprofessional, unethical, and would have gotten him fired from any respectable news outfit. By making the taunts, Schmalfeldt lost any credibility as a reporter, and he inserted himself into the story, breaking a cardinal rule of journalism. There is no moral equivalency here. Why Stranahan sent cops to Schmalfeldt house is directly related to the fact that Schmalfeldt did what he should not have done, and became part of the story.
My naughty words were naughty. His raising money off of a false rape threat was naughty.
I was crude, rude and vulgar. Stirring up the entire right wing internet, Google-bombing me as a “Deranged Cyberstalker”, distorting a photo taken of me three days after I did the ONE truly altruistic thing I’ve done in my life, dishonestly cropping it to make me look demented. That was crude, rude and vulgar.
Again, all these things happened because Schmaldfeldt didn’t remain in his role as a reporter, he crossed the line into unethical behavior. One part of the code of ethics is that a journalist should never put themselves into the appearance of a conflict of interest. By inserting himself as he did, Schmalfeldt crossed over that line and the rest, as they say, is history. Schmalfeldt seems unable to view himself as anything but a reporter, but his actions in this story belie that fact. He may view himself that way, but he did not act that way.
I apologized to Stranahan. And I meant it.
Running Wolf Blog has a copy of the public apology Schmalfeldt issued to Stranahan. We believe that Schmalfeldt meant what he said. However, we do not believe that it could be properly called an apology. Schmalfeldt never too full credit for his actions. Throughout the “apology,” Schmalfeldt kept returning to “if you’d only given me the answer to the first question” spiel. That is neither apologetic, blaming the person you are apologizing to for causing the whole thing, nor is it something a reporter should do, since it further inserts them into the story. An apology should be no strings attached and deal only with your own actions, not the other person’s.
Your Host must now warn our readers that the tone and direction of these answers now make a radical departure toward Hoge.
Has Hoge apologized for lying to a judge to get a peace order? And if you maintain he did not lie, what part of “I can’t block him on Twitter because it would mean disabling a portion of my Internet functionality” strikes you as “true”? What part of “Blocking him on Twitter is the same as having to change my phone number to avoid telemarketers” sounds TRUE to you?
Your host has already answered this question elsewhere, but will gladly answer this again. I do find it true that Hoge should not have to block someone on Twitter to get them to stop contacting him. Hoge had done nothing wrong, at least under the peace order. Having Hoge change his behavior in any way isn’t fair, the harasser should have to change their behavior. Just like a person being harassed shouldn’t have to change their phone number to stop the harassment, Hoge shouldn’t have had to block a twitterer to stop the harassment. Additionally, since your host has been aware of Schmalfeldt, your host can remember at least three if not four twitter accounts used by Schmalfeldt. All a harasser would have to do to get around the block is change to another account. Now you’re setting up a case where the harassed has to constantly take action to prevent the harassment, and that’s not the point of a peace order. The point is for the harassment to stop. Your host has no problem with Hoge asking the judge to prevent contact via twitter.
What part of the story about my commandeering a server in Kansas City the day of Super Storm Sandy and using it to send naughty messages to Hoge sounds true?
Running Wolf Blog has no idea what this is about, and will make no comment on it.
What part of claiming that HASHTAG mentions and PINGBACKS qualify as direct contact in violation of a peace order rings TRUE with you?
Running Wolf Blog would not think that hashtag mentions would be contact, but Pingbacks would. It’s the nature of a Pingback, it alerts someone that another has linked to their website and that is a form of contact and I put it in the same as @mentions. It isn’t the harassed responsibility to change, it is the responsibility of the harasser to change.
What part of dragging a person you know has increasing trouble even moving his body all the way to court in Westminster from Elkridge, and then SUING the man for fucking COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT for doing the SAME FUCKING THING HE DOES EVERY DAY sounds normal and decent and ordinary to you?
Again, Schmalfeldt assume to know the mind of Running Wolf Blog. He doesn’t, and your host has maintained from the beginning that the copyright suit was a mistake, and one that your host wouldn’t have done. In fact, the same thing has been said about the peace order. But your host has not been the direct recipient of 30 @mentions an hour from anyone. Your host has had 5 or 6 from a single person and it is annoying. However, Schmalfeldt can not deny that he used the intellectual property of other people. As such, he risked a lawsuit. Schmalfeldt is not blameless in this issue.
I’m not going to charge you with harassment. I think you have your head so far up your hiney that all you can hear is your lunch digesting. You certainly do not seem to be interested in my side of the story. You certainly do not seem to care one whit about what actually happened.
It is Running Wolf Blog’s position that we have avoided personal insults against Bill Schmalfeldt, and we have taken notice of yet another one from him. That said, we would wonder why we have maintained a list of questions for Schmalfeldt for over a month now, and have not, even though there have been repeated violations of the very simple rules for commenting, banned Mr. Schmalfeldt from the comment section and discussion on this blog. The reason is Running Wolf Blog is interested in Schmalfeldt’s side of the story. Being interested in it does not mean we will agree with or accept without challenging his version of event.
When you decide that you give two shits for the TRUTH, you just let me know, big boy. And we’ll chat.
Well, big boy, here’s your chance to prove that you give two shits about the TRUTH. Digest all that has been said here. Keep enough of an open mind to realize this post didn’t insult you, as a person, once. Take a look back not on the behavior of others but just your own behavior, and really ask yourself did you act like a reporter, or did you act like part of the story? Did you get involved, emotionally and personally, in the story itself instead of reporting passionately about the story. Look at your actions in absence of others, just your own. And try to see that what you’ve just been given is more than two shits about the TRUTH.