Robert Stacy McCain alleges that Brett Kimberlin has alleged McCain is not a journalist:

Oh, Robert, you silly meta-propagandist! You stand accused of being an unethical journalist, not an un-journalist. But please do go on at length sir, we are amused by your protestations:

No one disputes that McCain spent many years in the Washington Times newsroom, from which he reported on the annual conference of the white supremacist organization VDARE without acknowledging its anti-Semitic and racist mission. But what kind of journalism did he do there?

Once identified as a member of the neo-Confederate hate group League of the South, McCain’s reporting while at the Times was always controversial. As editor of the “Culture Briefs” section of the paper, McCain used excerpts from racist publications including American Renaissance magazine and the anti-immigrant hate site VDARE.com. In fact, McCain may be the only mainstream newspaper reporter to have covered four American Renaissance conferences. Twice, he offered no description at all of the group he was covering, which is devoted to race science. Once, he said it was “critical of liberal positions on race and immigration.” Only in 2004 did he note that some viewed it as racist.

Breaching journalist ethics by reporting on causes he was personally involved in, McCain regularly quoted neo-Confederate activists favorably in his stories. In 2005, stories freelanced by McCain to the website of the conservative newspaper Human Events were scrubbed after that publication’s editor, Thomas Winter, was given information by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report about McCain’s racism.

Even if they argue otherwise, ethical journalists acknowledge for readers that the controversial meetings they cover are in fact seen as controversial. They acknowledge and avoid conflicts of interest wherever possible. Nor is this some uniquely liberal position. The Society of Professional Journalists is not a political organization, and it has a Code of Ethics. Does McCain live up to their standards? We say no, and the difference shows in the very first bullet points:

— Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
— Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.

McCain has deliberately distorted the facts about Brett Kimberlin (“convicted domestic terrorist!”) and repeatedly posted false and inflammatory information (“pedophile!”). So far as we know, he has never once contacted Mr. Kimberlin for any kind of comment, but McCain and friends have pursued dozens of peace orders and criminal charges against Bill Schmalfeldt for having the audacity to meet that ethical requirement when he wrote about them. Their excuse? “He’s not a real journalist!” Yet if we were holding a journalistic ethics competition, Bill would already be ahead on points. So let us continue looking at that Code of Ethics:

— Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.

Another strike against McCain! Not only has he repeatedly used photographs of Schmalfeldt’s post-surgical scars to denounce him as a monster, he has deliberately oversimplified the issue with dismissive, hate-filled screeds. But let us continue looking at that Code of Ethics:

— Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.

Uh-oh, things are not looking good for McCain, are they? He has spent so many years consistently stereotyping everyone and defending his stereotypes that he has practically become a stereotype himself: the chain-smoking, drunken hack who constantly trashes women, minorities, and the disabled.

— Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

The entirety of McCain’s blogging about Brett Kimberlin is negative advocacy. Kimberlin is simply “evil,” and there are no nuances involved. McCain has misrepresented numerous facts about him and offered only his extreme-angle view of the story. By trying to do the most possible damage to the objects of his wrath, McCain defies the SPJ’s call to “minimize harm:”

Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

— 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.
— Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.
— Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
— Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.

We have never seen “compassion” from McCain. We have never witnessed him write in good taste and have always seen him pander to lurid, prurient interests. We have never seen him be judicious, though we have seen him act as judge, jury, and executioner in his blog court. While charging Kimberlin with child molestation, for example, McCain has outed his alleged victim dozens of times, but has never once attempted to contact her for comment. And all of this has happened because McCain works for Ali Akbar, who has used the Kimberlin narrative for a great deal of fundraising.

 —Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
— Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.

Where is the accountability?

— Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.

Robert Stacy McCain never acknowledges errors or mistakes. For example, in May of 2012 he claimed to have left his home in Maryland for fear of Brett Kimberlin. But this week, Kimberlin’s process server found him at the same address where he lived last May. Rather than acknowledge his fraud to the readers who gave him money under this false pretense, McCain has started asking them to cover his inevitable losses:

Today, I’m planning a road trip from the Undisclosed Location to a Mysterious Destination for Journalistic Purposes I Can’t Reveal. Loyal readers have been supporting the Shoe Leather Fund generously for years, and your contributions have been profoundly appreciated, even if I haven’t found time to thank each of you directly. I always figure that you’re paying me to keep blogging, and time spent writing “thank you” e-mails is time not spent providing the work you’re paying me to do. Nevertheless, please do not doubt my gratitude, nor the gratitude of my family, for every $5, $10, $20 contribution.

Let’s do the math: If 500 readers gave $20 each, that’s $10,000. And if that happened twice a week, every week for the next year, by September 2014, that would be One Meel-lion Dollars — with $40,000 left over for coffee, cigarettes, cheap motels and road food.

Robert Stacy McCain is surely a journalist, but not an ethical one.