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Douglas Lucas on Barrett Brown’s controversial journalism

In a piece for Revolution News entitled “Barrett Brown vs. the Dept. of Justice – Blurring the Lines of Journalism”, Douglas Lucas recounts Barrett’s first sentencing hearing, in which the Department of Justice worked to paint Brown as a criminal who abandoned journalistic ethics.

The government attempted to draw a clear line between journalism and criminal activity by contrasting Brown with reputable professional journalist Quinn Norton, who testified that she never did things like “help identify targets for Anonymous.” Brown, the government suggested with this line of questioning, went outside the boundaries of what normal journalists do.

Lucas writes that Brown’s actions, including attempting to “use stolen passwords to sign into adversaries’ accounts”, were indeed radical, but they should be recognized as potentially “among the few effective counter-measures left” against oppression, surveillance and private intelligence.

Brown gave Revolution News historical context for his methods:

I saw ordinary journalism as insufficient and that mine needed to be combined with civil disobedience. When massive violations of liberties by law enforcement and other authorities are going unpunished, it is not just the right, but the duty of a journalist to make sure his stories are acted upon. This is not new; there has been a tradition of this in journalism.

Brown’s more provocative style blurred that line by foregoing pretenses of objectivity in favor of analytical work with goals in mind. As Lucas says, “With his research syndicate Project PM, Brown executed global plans to combine news, analysis, and action.”

Read the full article here.