The Daily Banter

Social Media Turns Another Private Sexual Affair Into a Very Public Inquisition (And It Has to Stop)

Who would’ve guessed that users of social media and the internet, the home of free and unlimited porn and all varieties of widely accepted debauchery, would regularly behave like a clique of second-graders, snickering at “wee-wees” and “pee-pees?” It doesn’t matter whether it’s a slow news week or a busy one, if someone gets caught up in an online sexual affair, and it goes public on Twitter or via click-bait news outlets, the internet always reacts in a way that’s both prudish and prurient, declaring jihad on private lives — sometimes honest human mistakes — and operating as a tsunami of mass voyeuristic derision.

This week, the internet claimed John Schindler.

If you don’t immediately recognize the name, don’t feel bad. He’s not a member of Congress, nor is he a popular reality show celebrity. Yet based upon the coverage of what happened to Schindler in the midst of an alleged online affair, you’d think he was. Who is he? Well, he’s mainly a college professor. In addition to his gig as a professor at the Naval War College, Schindler is also a former NSA analyst. Yeah, yeah, I know. Why was this guy a newsworthy subject for articles by the AP, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, The Washington Post, ABC News and Gawker? Again, he’s not running for mayor of New York City or as a “family values” presidential candidate, so it beats the hell out of me why this was anything more than an ugly personal fiasco.

Before we continue, full disclosure: I consider Schindler an “e-friend.” You might’ve read a few of my NSA articles in which I’ve cited his work, and we routinely talk and debate on Twitter. But my frustration with the developments this week are only slightly related to our e-friendship. Any reasonable human being ought to conclude that the attention his story has received was, in the final analysis, horrendous. Therefore, the point of this article isn’t Schindler’s story, but the reporting and the digital pile-on in reaction which ensued in its wake.

Monday morning, political Twitter exploded with revelations that a troll had leaked dubious evidence in the form of screen-captures of a text-message exchange and of an email apparently written by Schindler, both of which seeming to suggest that Schindler had been carrying on a internet extramarital affair with a female Twitter user named “Lesley,” whose handle is @currahee88.

The email illustrated a heated courtship… CONTINUE READING