Suppose you are an attorney general planning to run for governor in a few years. You're going to keep your name in the press as much as possible and jump on whatever overhyped cause grabs the public's attention. Case in point: Eight state attorneys general this week targeted the Web site MySpace.com for allegedly hoarding a list of known sex offenders.Dan and his crew on Campbell Avenue have done just that with todays editorial in the Roanoke Times. So anxious were they to smear Attorney General Bob McDonnell that they didn't follow through with basic journalistic procedure. If they had bothered to look they would have found that Bob McDonnell did not sign the letter to MySpace. In fact, the writer of the editorial did not even contact the Attorney General's office for a response before publishing the article.
The attorneys general, including Virginia's Bob McDonnell, believe MySpace has assembled a list of registered sex offenders who use the social networking site. In a letter Monday, the officials demanded that the company turn over information about those offenders and explain what it is doing to warn users and remove the profiles.
[Editorial Link] and [Link to the letter,PDF]
The Times goes on to ridicule McDonnell's actual efforts at stopping online predators. Virginia was the first state to pass legislation to identify sexual predators who are accessing the various social networking sites, and subsequently block their access, with passage of the Attorney General's legislation which requires registration of all online identities for convicted sexual offenders.
We all know that this law will not prevent Chester the Molester from creating an unregistered email address, but it is a valuable tool to have available. Like "Project Exile", this new legislation simply adds another violation and another layer of punishment to a case. It's odd that an editorial board that firmly believes that another law is all it takes to reduce gun violence would ridicule a common sense Attorney General such as we have in Virginia.
As usual, Jerry is watching over the Times' shoulder.