A regular reader recently commented (in person) that I had possibly gone too far in a post on a newspaper which purposefully published the names of some gunowners who were subsequently robbed. In the post, I followed what I thought was a perfectly logical path which suggested that a cause - the publishing of the names - led to an effect - the robbery - which was not only probable, but possibly intended. The punchline was that it was a post not about unintended, but rather intended, consequences.
The reader, whose judgment I value greatly, and is usually a voice of reason when I moot my more outlandish conspiracy theories, argued (if I might paraphrase) that the whole thing was instead most likely an unfortunate set of coincidences.
However, while I might have gone a bit far in suggesting that the editors of the paper intended for illegal activity to occur, my conclusions might not have been as incredible in nature as the reader suggested. The very publishing of the names and addresses of the gunowners was an act which was political in nature. In addition, it was an act which, even if not "intended" to provoke reactions from others in the community (shame? questions? avoidance?), was certainly of a nature which made such reactions probable.
And if it were probable that there would be reactions from law-abiding members of the community, wasn't is also possible that those who don't conform to society's rules and laws might react to the information as well?
I am not sure whether it is more or less polite to suggest that someone in the media had nefarious political ends in mind when doing something, or whether they were instead willfully blind to the very likely consequences of their actions. However, in either case, it seems to me that the newspaper was at least negligent. And we should expect more (mounting evidence to the contrary) from those who report the news.