Daum suggests that the disapproval articulated by the American populace over the actions of Iranian imprisoned hikers Sarah Shourd (since released), Shane Bauer, and Josh Fatal is “so vehement that it lends itself to its own coinage and category.” That’s a stretch. The same kind of reaction framed the 2009 North Korean detainment of Current TV journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee, and in fact the amount of vitriol that has slammed the hikers is on par with just about any other Berkeley-Biloxi dividing topic (Sarah Palin, abortion, take your pick).
A number of LA Times readers take issue with Daum’s characterization of their objections and observations as hate. Typical of this sentiment is an early comment from Greg Maragos:
I don’t hate the hikers, but I do find it irritating that Daum cannot seem to resist the temptation to romanticize their reckless stupidity… Iran is one of only a few self-described enemies of the United States. If you are an American bent on indulging in nature hikes near the Iranian border, you’d better make damned sure you know where the border is and not cross it.
He, like many others, would prefer she defer to the term “hiker bait.”