Reporters take heat in Canada, U.S. for reaching out to donors who supported protests

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Published February 18, 2022 at 12:19 pm

WASHINGTON — One of the most prominent progressive Democrats on Capitol Hill is doubling down on her public criticism of journalists who contacted people who donated to the protesters in Ottawa. 

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar sparked a Twitter firestorm earlier this week when she criticized an Ottawa Citizen story about a local business owner who was harassed after her $250 donation became public. 

Omar called the report “unconscionable,” suggesting it was the reason the business owner was harassed.

The tweet prompted a barrage of responses, many of which agreed with Omar’s position, while others tried to point out that the harassment began with the leak of the hacked data, well before the story was published. 

Late Wednesday, Omar defended her position, saying she’d read the story “multiple times” and concluded it had no merit other than to cause “further harassment.” 

Reporters across the U.S. and Canada have faced backlash for using the hacked data from crowdfunding site GiveSendGo to reach out to donors for confirmation. 

The Canadian Press reported on the leaked data and published names of people who confirmed they donated when reached for comment.

“I wish journalists wrote the articles they think they are writing,” Omar wrote on her personal Twitter account, where she has an estimated three million followers. 

Stories, she continued, “aren’t always balanced and often have a clear political bias.” 

“You all are entitled to your opinions, but my opinion remains the same. These kinds of stories ruin people’s lives and are uncalled for.” 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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