My opinions regarding Robert Farago are not exactly state secrets – the man is an attention-whoring, victim-blaming, content-thieving, fuddish jackass who has latched onto the Second Amendment as his new "golden goose" after he drove The Truth About Cars into the ground and played the part of a rat leaving a sinking ship – but I was more than happy to let him wallow in his own self-delusions after the whole, "ZOMG, ebil CONSPIRACY!" fiasco… at least, until Bob S. posted about his interactions with Robert yesterday.
You see, I had some similar interactions with him before.
A little while back, Farago… "borrowed"… my "graphics matter" images without any sort of attribution or citation indicating that it came from my site or pointing back to the copious quantities of explanations and number-crunching that went into creating it and help explain what it is trying to show. Instead he indirectly implied that the graphic was the product of the warped minds at the Brady Campaign, completely ignoring the rather obvious "(C) wallsofthecity.net" I placed on the left side of the chart, and perpetrated the falsehoods fielded by that organization.
I left a comment calling Robert on the carpet for failing to do his homework – a rather significant shortcoming for a self-appointed "journalist" – and pointing people to the posts from which the graphic originated. He edited the comment (but did not make it publicly known that he did so), removing my calling him out, and sent me the following email, entitled "Comment edited":
Sorry, I can take it, but personal flames lower the tone and stifle debate.
Hardly surprising. You cannot stand being questioned on your own turf – that we both already knew.
That you are too damned lazy to look up the source of an image when the hyperlink clearly indicates it and the copyright on the image clearly shows it… well, that is new and different, and observing that character deficiency and journalistic shortcoming of yours is hardly a "flame", and sure as hell "stifles" nothing.
But, hey, go ahead and confirm that my already low opinion of you is warranted.
Who pissed in your cornflakes?
Look at the text beneath the image. I linked back to the source of the graphic. What else do you want, exactly?
(In fairness, through the course of this conversation, he did finally add a citation of "…or click here for the www.wallsofthecity.net original." Note that the link still does not go to the actual post, and that the web address was not hyperlinked.)
Here is a quick hint, Robert: "image" != "post".
I am almost having a hard time believing I actually had to write that, actually…
Just curious: which charm school did you go to?
FYI There’ve been 92 click-throughs to you site since the post went up. A pittance, but my pleasure. No really.
You really do not grasp the difference between "post" and "image", do you? In truth, there has been a grand total of 14 hits on my site so far from your post, and only because AK and I took it upon ourselves to fill the holes you left.
And you somehow expect me to thank you for disdaining one of the most basic tenets of any public writing – cite your souces?
Uhm, yeah. If egos had mass, yours would probably upset the rotation of the planet.
I do not expect anything from you. I’m just trying to do my thing, and do it the right way.
The post linked back to you from the git-go. I have added the blog name to that link.
Normally, we just put a courtesy in the caption, so that reader can click on the image to make it larger.
Well, Robert, I have absolutely no problems informing you that you are not doing your thing in the right way.
When you take someone else’s image (and I made it pretty obvious that it *was* my image, what with the whole (C) wallsofthecity.net going up the left side of it), it is customary to, at the bare minimum, link back to the website that originated it, or, if you want to do it completely "right", link back to the actual souce post (which, in this case, would have been massively beneficial, given that the data, statistical analyses, and explanations were all contained within that post).
On the other hand, what you did was scant better than the old "hotlinking" bullcrap, though at least you hosted the thumbnail on your own site.
And I will say this again, since you seem to be having the darndest time understanding it – linking back to an image is NOT the same as linking back to a page (for clarification, "pages" typically have text in them). What you did was not "linking back", and it was not "courtesy of" and it sure as hell would not even come close to passing muster as an actual citation.
In the future, if you want to use an image, picture, or any other content of mine, I expect to be contacted with a request for permission; if I am not, I will pursue it appropriately.
(Note: This entire conversation was blind-carbon-copied to Weer’d Beard – given how he misappropriated my images, it would not have surprised me if Robert tried to do the same with my words, and given how he recently misrepresented Bob S.’ words, it would appear as though my concerns where wholly and completely warranted. Also, amusing aside – the address Farago was writing from was "[email protected]". Really? And secondary amusing aside – being accused of "stifling debate" by someone who ninja-edits comments that criticize him? Really?)
So, in short, Robert posted an image of mine without appropriate citation or attribution, he failed in his "due diligence" duties of a "journalist" by carrying the Brady Bunch’s water and reposting their blatant misinterpretation of that graphic without bothering to look up what it was actually portraying, and, when I called him on this repeated failing, he "stifled" public dissent against him and his site, sneakily edited comments, and not only failed to admit to his wrongdoing, but damn near demanded my adulation for his behavior.
As you can see by my not posting about this incident back when it occurred, I had little to no interest in making an issue out of it – why give attention whores that which they crave the most? However, Bob S.’ interactions with Robert Farago showed me that bringing behavior like this to the public eye is the right thing to do, simply so people will know who and what they are dealing with… Especially since here he is, displaying some predictably similar behavior all over again.
In truth, I do not know Oleg Volk. Despite being in the same city a few times, I have never had the opportunity to meet the man (which is more my failing than his), but I do know how much time and effort he has invested in the defense of individual rights, especially relating to the Second Amendment, how powerful and effective the products of that work are, and how many fruit those efforts have borne over the years. With that, I have absolutely no idea why Farago has such an obsession with demeaning and demonizing Oleg’s work at every available opportunity… well, no idea, aside from the aforementioned "attention whore" aspect of the man. Likewise, I do not know the folks behind The Firearm Blog. I cannot say as though I am terribly fond of their affiliation with Lucky Gunner, but taken as a weblog by itself, they tend to be one of the first places I hear about big changes in the firearm manufacturing community, and one of the most drama-free sources of hard facts about the same – like their "about" says, they focus on the hardware, not the politics. Why Farago chose to attack TFB for posting an official product image, as taken by the product’s manufacturer (not TFB), rather than pointing his concerns at the manufacturer, I have no idea… again, aside from the whole "attention whore" thing.
Being a good "journalist", I am sure Farago knows that there is no better news than contentious news, and if no such material is available, well, you are just going to have to fabricate some, are you not? (Actual students of journalism would probably be familiar with the term used to describe behavior like this.) So he found something he considered to be "low-hanging fruit", but also something that has a relatively substantial fanbase, and decided to go on his own personal little crusade against it, complete with childish innuendo, aspersions cast to the winds, and more water-carrying for the anti-rights community. Then he just waited and saw whether the people coming out of the woodwork to defend his new sacrificial anode would be enough of a traffic bump to be worth it. I guess it was.
It is small wonder Robert Farago and Michael Bonomo get along so well – not only are their mentalities similar, but their methodologies are damned near indistinguishable.
But that is all good and well. The world would be a very boring place if we all agreed with one another all the time; Farago is running his site as a business and the only way to make money with webpages is to increase pageviews; and since it is his site, he is more than welcome to write whatever and however he so desires…. just like Bob S. and I are more than welcome to point out just how much of a self-righteous, hypocritical, childish ass he is, just, apparently, not on his site.
And that is really the rub, is it not? As Bob said in one of his Memory Holed comments:
Since you feel free to offer a critique of Oleg’s work, shouldn’t others be allowed to critique YOURS?
Time and time again, the answer has clearly been "NO!"
Point out that Robert failed to accurately source a certain image, to the detriment of his readers? Have your comment secretly edited to remove that particular observation. Question why Robert is attacking an intermediary entity who reposted an image, taken by someone else, for a product, made by someone else? Have your comment deleted. Appropriately criticize Robert’s baseless criticisms of a staged piece of art? Have your comment secretly edited, then deleted, and then be banned from The Truth About Guns for your troubles.
Apparently neither Farago’s maturity nor whatever passed for his personal integrity made it off the kindergarten playground – he can dish it out, but, despite his claims to the contrary, he just cannot take it. Fine, it is his site, and he can run it however he likes, but, unfortunately for him, another thing he cannot do is stealth-edit our sites.
Simply put, being inveterately incapable of accepting valid criticisms of your methods, styles, or actions is not indicative of a mature, adult, responsible human being. To be certain, if Bob S. had rolled up into Farago’s grill (or whatever the phrase is) with some approximation of, "You’re a [deleted] idiot who can’t get his [deleted] head out of his [deleted] ass, and this entire [deleted] post is [deleted] [deleted]," then I would probably be siding with the attention whore rather than Bob. But he did not. Instead he raised some poignant and appropriate questions regarding Robert’s behavior – questions that bore significantly less innuendo and fewer insinuations than the average comment left by Bonomo on Farago’s site, I would point out – and while Robert had no problems criticizing other people’s works, he simply not could stand the prospect of his being targeted. Likewise, stealth-editing comments is an integrity violation, and is no better than writing up entire comments and posting them under someone else’s name. It misleads the audience, warps the person’s original intent for his words, and, amusingly enough, "stifles" debate; after all, why try debating when you know that the site owner will simply remove anything he does not like?
And lying about people’s words and actions – after you delete those words so no one can fact-check you – in some vain attempt to marginalize and malign those people? That is a play straight out of the anti-rights cultists‘ book, and my disdain for folks who employ it cannot be adequately expressed within the PG-13 rating I impose on my posts.
A term from my Legal Officer training days in the Navy stuck with me throughout my career and afterwards, predominantly because of the frequency it came up: "pattern of misconduct". Basically, the Uniform Code of Military Justice allows commanding officers to discharge enlisted personnel if the CO can demonstrate that the sailor has repeated "discreditable involvement with civil or military authorities" and that the sailor’s conduct is consistently "prejudicial to good order and discipline" – in other words, if the sailor just keeps screwing up, even at a low level, and despites attempts to "counsel" the sailor or correct his behavior, he might get booted.
Taken as individual actions, none of the complaints I have against Robert Farago amount to much – he blames victims of theft for being victims of theft, since they obviously did not "secure" their property "enough"; he stole an entire post from Tam, and when she objected, his response was to offer her a job (I guess you have to admire the nerve… or something); he claims no one except "high risk" individuals should receive firearm-related training, and then ridicules those who do not meet his arbitrary standards but still seek out training; he has an obsession with attacking Oleg and his work (it is not "flaming" when he does it); he hijacked my "graphics matter" image; he constantly not only gives airtime to blatant "gun control" extremists, but even gave one of them (the aforementioned Bonomo) keys to the site; and now he resorts to stealth-edits, raw censorship, and blatant lies to squelch any sign of dissent or disagreement he does not like. But when taken as a whole… "pattern of misconduct" indeed.
So, thanks, Robert, for continuing to prove that my choice not to link to you or associate with you was the correct course of action; as Breda once famously said, "People don’t like to read assholes. Imagine that." and I see absolutely no reason to encourage folks to do so.
Perhaps "Don’t be a dick" should be rebranded as "Don’t be a Farago"?