Alex Goldman is a producer for On the Media. One time he got run over by a car.
Reactions to 'Is Anybody Down?'
Monday, November 19, 2012 - 10:33 AM
Last week, Bob spoke to Craig Brittain, the founder of a website called "Is Anybody Down?". The site posts nude photos of people and includes personally identifying information about them - things like their full names, Facebook pages, sometimes even their addresses and phone numbers. (interview with Brittain starts @6:00.)
Bob's interview with Brittain sparked a lot of listener reaction - both positive and critical.
There were a number of listeners who applauded Bob for his interview style and for allowing his contempt for Brittain to come through on the air. Listener H.M. Cauley emailed us to say "As a member of the fourth estate myself, I'm not into editorializing, but I thought Bob's comments at the end of this segment were brave, honest and much needed. Great job."
Likewise, Listener David Caulk had this to say in the comments:
Thank you for having enough moral fortitude to be willing to publicly share your disgust of someone who is actively profiting from the sexual exploitation of other people.
I don't understand how people can defend this website or the activity of it's owners?
It's a sad commentary on the state of our society when exploitation of others for profit is considered acceptable.
On The Media - Thank you for being willing to tell this story.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. - Winston Churchill
We also had several listeners on Twitter tell us they liked the interview, including our pal Roman Mars, host of the incredible 99% Invisible podcast.
My favorite part of this week's @onthemedia is at the end, where Bob Garfield tells douchebag Craig Brittain to go ahead and starve to death— Stacey Burns (@WentRogue) November 18, 2012
I love that @onthemedia went after Craig Brittain so aggressively. His attempts to blame his awful site on society's hang-ups were pathetic.— AnikaChapin (@AnikaChapin) November 18, 2012
However, an equal number of our listeners criticized Bob's technique as an interviewer as lacking in impartiality and being unnecessarily harsh. Listener David Bodow had this to say:
Though I look forward to listening to On The Media every weekend, I was incredibly disappointed and concerned at the lack of professionalism with which you conducted your interview with Craig Brittain at the end of the show. Though I am certain that almost anybody would be angered and disgusted at Brittain's website, your on air condemnation of him ("You should beg... There is more dignity in begging in the street than what you are doing,") was incredibly unprofessional and has probably harmed your reputation for journalistic neutrality. I was disappointed for two reasons: First, this interview attempted to make a moral judgment for your listeners, instead of allowing them to come to their own conclusions about the website. In the future, I would urge you to respect your audience enough to be confident that your listeners are capable of listening to a guest and forming their own perceptions of him/her rather than force feeding your listeners your own moral judgments. I, for one, do not listen to OTM to hear Bob's "man-to-man" thoughts, but to develop my own opinions about what you are reporting. Secondly, your lack of neutrality in conducting this interview is harmful to your potential to interview controversial guests, which is an aspect of OTM which is vitally important to the quality of your show.
Commenter Roger the Shrubber had this to say:
I was a little disgusted by the conduct of Mr. Garfield during the interview. Craig Brittain is a scumbag, but there are lots of scumbags in the world. I don't listen to NPR to hear interviewers attack scumbag guests. His comments towards the end, especially, were unnecessary and pursued a line of discussion that didn't really add anything insightful.
Commenter Joe thought Bob had gone overboard rhetorically in the last moments of the interview, when Bob said that Brittain should "starve" rather than continue running his website.
I was shocked to hear the interviewer ask the owner of the site to STARVE HIMSELF. Is posting naked pictures online really worse than asking someone to KILL THEMSELVES? I agree that the site is in poor taste, but the interviewer's conduct was not only critical -- it was disgraceful. As much as I hate to say it, I think the site's owner deserves an apology.
Commenter Carolita felt that we shouldn't have given Brittain any oxygen in the first place:
Isn't this story giving this awful man and his disgusting business the much sought-after publicity he wants? There's a double-edge thing going on here that I find disturbing. I'm actually more disgusted by the people submitting the photos to this guy, than the guy himself. I think they should be prosecuted for invasion of privacy. I only came to the piece at the end, and I hope that's an option.
Tweeter "Lavish Magazine" didn't comment on Bob's interview, rather, she thinks that people should expect this to happen to them if they are sharing nude pictures of themselves.
@onthemedia i kinda dont have any remorse for people who foolishly post nude pictures of themselves online or sext them around.— Lavish Magazine (@LavishChic) November 19, 2012
@onthemedia when you take a nude digital in his day and age and share it with someone, you should know that it may go viral— Lavish Magazine (@LavishChic) November 19, 2012
Listener Parabanger agreed with Lavish Magazine in the comments, saying "I think bob Garfield went overboard in his disdain for a guy trying to make an honest buck. Isanybodydown's victims/subjects are a bunch of whiners who cant keep up with the changing standards of privacy they themselves are creating."
So what do you think? Let us know in the comments.