There is so much wrong with the Deadspin story “Philly Radio Host Gets All Homophobic In Email Fight With Listener,” I am not sure where to begin.
The story was leaked to them by an Internet troll who has reportedly been baiting and heckling Mike Missanelli, a radio talk show host on 97.5 the Fanatic, for years. In the Deadspin story the troll is allowed to remain anonymous. Yet before running the story, Deadspin never reached out to Missanelli to get his side of the story. I know because I did reach out to him. It was easy and he responded immediately. It is a basic tenet of journalism to attempt to get both sides of the story.
Or as Mike Missanelli puts it,“Deadspin doesn’t even know the IDENTITY of the guy and they ran it! Journalistically corrupt.” Missanelli went on to call the person who leaked the story “a lonely loser psycho, allowed to create drama in this day and age simply through social media.”
So was Missanelli being “homophobic?” He says he was not. “I was actually trying to be clinical with him and suggest that there was something fueling his obsession with me,” Missanelli responded.
True or not, it is indeed journalistically corrupt that an established site would make a hurtful and damaging charge based on the word of a sole anonymous source with no attempt at verification or reaction from the accused. “A sign of the times that is very depressing” is how Missanelli sums it up.
According to Missanelli, this Internet troll “has been harassing and threatening me and my family for the last four years. He has written some vile and crude stuff. He claims to be stalking me all the time, saying things like he is waiting in the parking lot. He has written me vile stuff about my daughter.”
Missanelli told me 97.5 The Fanatic was going to issue a statement defending him. Instead, they suspended him. Hopefully Missanelli will issue his own statement and include some of the threatening emails. Better yet, those emails should be sent to the police to investigate, although this troll is careful to hide deep in the underbelly of the Internet. Missanelli wrote, “We have attempted to find out who this guy is for years, to no avail. He constantly changes his email address and servers. He claims to be a casino computer security expert.”
As for the emails that Deadspin printed, Missanelli claims they were carefully selected to make the story more damaging. “Ironically, he didn't send to Deadspin the emails where he said to me that he WAS gay. I replied, 'That's great. I hope it's liberating for you to finally admit that.'"
Missanelli stopped all communication with him after that and believes that “not communicating with him anymore must have frustrated him and fueled this action.”
So who deserves your condemnation more? The Internet gossip site that ignores the tenets of journalism to launch a personal attack in hopes of attention, an anonymous troll who selectively leaks emails after threatening a man and his family for years, or the man whose only real sin seems to be writing an ill-advised response and clicking the "send" button.
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