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Blogger Fined $60K For Telling the Truth 433

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can't-handle-the-truth dept.
jfruhlinger writes "'Johnny Northside,' a Minneapolis blogger with less than 500 readers a day, revealed that a University of Minnesota researcher studying mortgage fraud had been involved in a fraudulent mortgage himself; the blog post was at least partially responsible for the researcher losing his job. The researcher then sued the blogger and won — despite the blogger having his facts straight. Johnny Northside plans to appeal the verdict."
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Blogger Fined $60K For Telling the Truth

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  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Monday March 14, 2011 @07:42PM (#35485950)

    The title says it all.

    Remember this while the government works hard to eliminate all anonymous speech on the Internet.

    • by unity100 (970058)
      mod up.
    • by Aerorae (1941752) on Monday March 14, 2011 @07:46PM (#35486006)
      This is why we need a fast enough version of TOR such that the whole world can use it in place of the regular web.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2011 @11:31PM (#35487626)

        Unfortunately, TOR exit nodes are toxic. I ran a fully open tor exit node for 24 hours and got 4 C&D's for my trouble. You need a full time lawyer, or a lot of time spent tuning which traffic you relay. :-/

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        NO.
        Thats just as stupid as the censorship and everything else.

        What we NEED is a world that isn't corrupt, stupid and run by greed. Then we won't need TOR at all.

        Irrevelant anyway i guess. we won't have the tor solution because the goverments would never allow it. and we won't have the better world solution because people suck.

        Damm. that's despressing.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday March 14, 2011 @07:50PM (#35486032)

      "Does not compute!"

      How does this have anything to do with the government clamping down on free speech? This is a god who made a claim about a researcher. The researcher then sued him in civil court where a jury, you know as in regular people, found him liable. Now I'm not saying they made the right decision, but this is not the government trying to shut this guy up, it is another guy trying to shut him up and a jury agreeing. Like it or not that is actually our system working.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Omnifarious (11933) *

        The one guy would have no power to do that to the other guy if the power of government didn't back the first guy up. This is a case of government interference, even if it's a civil matter.

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        The government makes the law, both civil and criminal. Civil law often favours the wealthy, powerful party, and it is arguably the case that the reason for this skew is the influence of rich and powerful lobbyists steering the government towards protecting their interests at the expense of the less wealthy majority of the population.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Like it or not that is actually our system working.

        You're right. That's why we must rip its heart out. This is absolute insanity.

      • This is a god who made a claim about a researcher.

        Can you even sue Zeus? Under whose jurisdiction does he fall?
      • by AK Marc (707885) on Monday March 14, 2011 @09:00PM (#35486698)

        How does this have anything to do with the government clamping down on free speech?

        Because the truth used to be a defense against libel. However, with the swing to the far right (not a party swing, but the whole country, including both parties are swinging that way for some topics), freedom of speech is being trampled. There are already states where true statements about some protected industry is illegal if the statement is negative. Now you can't say anything to get someone fired, even if true.

        this is not the government trying to shut this guy up,

        It is the government shutting him up. The government is enforcing the finding made in the government court. They are the enforcement arm for this.

        • by mysidia (191772) on Monday March 14, 2011 @09:28PM (#35486858)

          Because the truth used to be a defense against libel. However, with the swing to the far right (not a party swing, but the whole country, including both parties are swinging that way for some topics), freedom of speech is being trampled. There are already states where true statements about some protected industry is illegal if the statement is negative. Now you can't say anything to get someone fired, even if true.

          What's interesting here is the suit is not a libel suit. The suit was prosecuted on the basis of he wrote that maliciously for the purpose of getting the plaintiff fired; so libel or defamation is not a claim made in the suit.

          The plaintiff could not sue for defamation or libel, if he tried, he would have failed, due to the truth of the information. The article mentioned

          Jane Kirtley, a U of M professor of media law and ethics, called the lawsuit an example of "trash torts," in which someone unable to sue for libel, which by definition involves falsity, reaches for another legal claim. She predicted the verdict will be overturned.

          The verdict also surprised U of M law professor William McGeveran, but he wasn't so certain that it will be easily overturned. Appeals courts tend to give a lot of credence to jury verdicts, he said.

      • by sjames (1099) on Monday March 14, 2011 @09:22PM (#35486826) Homepage

        Juries are typically told that they MUST decide only on the facts, not on the law or on the fairness of the punishment. Last (and only) time I was in voir dire we were asked to swear that we would do so. I was excused when I said that I could not conscionably do that. The judge seemed genuinely surprised that I was able to articulate my objection.

        So, did he make the posting: yes. Did the plaintiff get fired as a result: yes. Did he lose income as a result: yes.

        Too bad the jury is sworn not to say "but that's not the defendant's problem, the plaintiff shouldn't have gotten involved in fraud". It all comes down to the judge's instructions to the jury. The citizens who think for themselves and make their own moral choices rather than simply obey are weeded out before the trial even starts.

        So I wouldn't read too much into a jury verdict these days.

        • by Unequivocal (155957) on Monday March 14, 2011 @10:33PM (#35487290)

          Hang on - juries don't just decide facts. They are *instructed in the law* by the judge, and are told to follow it. In their deliberations, they are legally obliged to follow this law and decide the facts. (Aside: It's quite illegal in jurisdictions I'm familiar with for a juror in the jury room to say and then follow through by voting on a statement like "I don't care what the law says, I'm not convicting this guy even if he is guilty" while it is perfectly legal for the same juror to keep his trap shut and just vote "not guilty.")

          In this case the claim against the blogger was tortious interference, which roughly means proving not only are the facts as you presented them, but proving the blogger had intent to interfere with a contract between the plaintiff and a third party (in this case an employment agreement with a university). From the limited info in the article, the plaintiff may have gotten over that hurdle, at least partially, by showing that the blogger himself subsequent to the original blog took *partial* credit on a second blog article for getting the guy fired. This could help show intent to interfere with the employment contact. So, while it might be unambiguous free speech to publish or point out public information with no intent to cause harm, if the blogger is shown to have done so because he intended to screw up a legal contract, that may be a different issue.

          Regardless of the above legal issues, in my opinion, first amendment protections in a case like this should override a tortious interference claim, but apparently this (I'm sure legally astute) jury of *seven* went the other way. The perils of a jury trial -- I wonder why the defendant didn't ask for a bench trial in this case..

          If you want to see a classic example of tortious interference, watch the movie The Insider by Michael Mann. It shows (at least cinematically) how tortious interference claims can be used to stifle first amendment rights even against "big media" companies who have real lawyers.

          • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @12:23AM (#35487916) Homepage Journal

            >>They are *instructed in the law* by the judge, and are told to follow it.

            Maybe that's how it should be done, but consider the Brian Aitken case.

            New Jersey law allows you to have guns (locked in a case) in your trunk if you're moving. The police and the assistant DA both said it was obvious he was moving.

            The judge told the jury they couldn't consider that exemption to the draconian New Jersey gun control laws (the judge deciding the fact he was not moving for the jury). Thus both dictating fact and to ignore law to the jury.

            Brian, having his exemption stripped from him by the judge, was promptly sentenced to the minimum 3 years in jail, which was newly classified as a "violent offense", meaning he lost his child visitation rights and hasn't been able to see his kid in two years, even though he was pardoned by Christie.

            • by Sarten-X (1102295)
              The judge in that case was fired [nj.com], because he made several other bad rulings, too. Did you expect a bunch of humans to somehow be perfect, just because they hold a particular office?
              • by Patch86 (1465427)

                I wonder if he can sue Brian Aitken (and other defendants) for causing him to be fired? Surely the grounding for such a suit is on no shakier ground than the one in TFA.

          • by sjames (1099) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @02:30AM (#35488352) Homepage

            I should clarify. The jury is instructed that they may not judge the law or the likely punishment, only the facts. They are then to robotically apply the law to those facts. They are then told what the law is.

            In spite of that instruction, the body of law the U.S. inherited it's jury system from explicitly acknowledged a juror's duty to judge the law as well as the facts. The founding fathers as well as a number of supreme court justices from the beginning to as recently as 1946 certainly agreed.

            Of course, finally, the court cannot compel a juror to act against his or her conscience and cannot even examine a juror's decision making process. (that's not to say it wouldn't happen, only that it would violate due process).

            From all of that, the upshot is that all jury instruction in the modern U.S. court is faulty.

            Of course, once you get the jury to the point of agreeing to judge the facts and then roboticly apply the law as told to them by the judge, the judge is free to create any desired verdict (though it MIGHT be thrown out if an appellate court finds that the instruction was faulty enough).

    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Monday March 14, 2011 @07:54PM (#35486092) Journal

      On a somewhat related note, the British government is apparently issuing "super injunctions" [telegraph.co.uk]. We don't know why, of course, because the hearings are sealed and (usually) even the existence of the injunction can't be reported on - the only reason this one became public is because one of the few decent MPs used their parliamentary privilege [wikipedia.org] to question it on the record. It's not even conceivably a matter of national security (their go-to excuse), since it's preventing the papers from reporting on the affairs of one of the key figures in the UK's banking collapse.

      When this is how the governments are behaving, I honestly wonder whether there's a viable choice other than Wikileaks-style [vigilantism/civil disobedience]?

    • by yelvington (8169)

      (sigh)

      Civil case between individuals, not government prosecution. And quite possibly heading for reversal on appeal.

      http://www.minnpost.com/braublog/2011/03/14/26584/johnny_northside_damn_right_were_appealing_60000_judgment [minnpost.com]

    • The title says it all.

      Remember this while the government works hard to eliminate all anonymous speech on the Internet.

      How about learning to read?

      District Judge Denise Reilly threw out four of the five statements, saying they were either opinion or the COMMENTS of others ON THE BLOG. With respect to the remaining statement, the JURY agreed with Clark's claim that Hoff had committed "tortious interference" by meddling with Moore's employment. Clark pointed out to the jury that Hoff, in a later blog post, took partial credit for Moore's firing.

      Don Allen was originally named as a co-defendant because he sent a letter to the U of M urging Moore's termination, then copied the letter to Hoff's blog. Before the case went to trial, he settled with Moore and testified against Hoff. Allen, who operates his own blog, "The Independent Business News Network," applauded the verdict.

      "It's unfortunate for all bloggers, but you have to have some sense of responsibility," he said. "You have to attack the issues, not the individuals."

      There's the truth, then there's The Truth (TM)**

      ** Bill_the_Engineer wears smelly socks and should be banned from Slashdot because he stinks.

  • by neo8750 (566137) <zepski@zepskiFREEBSD.net minus bsd> on Monday March 14, 2011 @07:44PM (#35485964) Homepage
    The internet is no place for the truth! Serves him right for spreading that horrible stuff around.
  • In before "free speech being repressed!". Even if Northside had his facts straight, he should have gone to the police, not to the public. Sure, we may know now that the researcher was guilty, but what happened to due process?

    An accusation such as that is not fact before it has been legally confirmed.

    • Re:Libel (Score:4, Interesting)

      by unity100 (970058) on Monday March 14, 2011 @07:46PM (#35486002) Homepage Journal
      what happened to journalism ? was watergate confirmed ?
      • by Lazareth (1756336)

        Is this a public or a private case? Was Watergate a public or a private case? Who can call themselves journalists and who can't? When are you able to throw around direct accusations of such weight, instead of going to the police, and expect not to be sued?

        • Re:Libel (Score:5, Informative)

          by shadowfaxcrx (1736978) on Monday March 14, 2011 @08:08PM (#35486228)

          The guy worked for the University of Minnesota - a public school funded in part by tax payers. It is therefore absolutely a public case.

          Who can call themselves journalists is irrelevant. The 1st amendment does not say "freedom of speech only if you are a journalist."

          And whether it is a public or private case is and should be immaterial. If Northside told the truth, then he should be absolutely protected from retribution. Legal trickery should not trump the 1st amendment.

          I assure you that if I were a blogger, and I found out that someone who I was for whatever reason covering was up to his ears in criminal activity, I would rightfully expect to be able to tell people about it without being held liable for it.

          Put another way, what this case really says is "don't say anything negative about anyone, ever, whether it's true or not, because if they have to face any consequences for what they did, it will be your fault." That's a(nother) direct attack on the first amendment.

        • The police involvement in Watergate was the arrest of five men for breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee headquarters. The real question is would the follow up investigations and resulting impeachments happen if it wasn't for the efforts of Bob Woodward's and Carl Bernstein's reporting in the Washington Post?

          While the Watergate scandal involved public figures, the DNC is a private organization tasked with coordinating the political agenda of the Democratic Party and raise funding for

    • by geek (5680)

      It's only libel if it is false and the person saying it knows that it is false. He has every right to say what he did, this is exactly why we have the 1st amendment. Whistleblowers like him are a good thing.

    • I dunno about you but, where I live, we don't have to run to the police to publish *fact and truth*. It's called journalism, get over it. It was verified fact and not an accusation, btw. RTFA.
    • ...but what happened to due process?

      Last I checked, the blogger didn't convict Moore of anything. He simply stated facts that he could back up with proof. Besides, part of the lawsuit was because Moore was fired. The blogger didn't force Moore's boss to fire him, so why was the blogger sued for this? Shouldn't Moore be suing his boss?

      • by Lazareth (1756336)

        No, but he presented explicit accusations before he was convicted. About a case that was very much private. That's basically convicting him in public before checking with the authorities.

      • by micheas (231635)
        The lawsuit was about five other statements that were not supported by facts.

        Four of them were not made by the blogger and hence those four statements were struck from the civil action.

    • An accusation such as that is not fact before it has been legally confirmed.

      Bullshit. Pure bullshit.
      If it is true it is true. And as long as it can be confirmed it isn't libel.
      If you shoot someone in front of a crowd and there are multiple clear pictures of you doing it plus dozens of witnesses, do we have to wait for you to be found guilty before you are a murderer and can be called such?
      Just because all big media outlets are extremely conservative about making accusations--so they don't have to deal with libel suits--doesn't mean that not being super-paranoid is libel.
      Due

    • Re:Libel (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rollgunner (630808) on Monday March 14, 2011 @08:19PM (#35486316)
      The article very clearly says that the defendant was *not* sued for libel. "The truth is an absolute defense" in cases of libel, so the ex-teacher had no ground to stand on for a libel case. He chose a civil tort instead, which allows you to sue for pretty much anything you like, so long as you can get a judge and/or jury to agree.

      Also, i'm not sure what the police would have done. It seems from the article that the ex-teacher had been involved in some capacity in a bad mortgage scandal, the results of which did not cause him to face any legal sanctions. However, any university wishing to appear credible is *not* going to have someone studying mortgage failures that was implicated in even a tangential way with an actual mortgage fraud. "Avoid even the illusion of impropriety."

      What I'd want to know as a jurist was whether the ex-teacher disclosed that past incident to the university before he was hired. If he had, I'd be far more likely to find in his favor, because an individual caused him to be terminated for reasons that the university initially did not find objectionable, but he was "Tried in the public courts" as they say. If he had *not* disclosed, I'd likely find against him, as it seems that he was merely caught being dishonest.
      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        However, any university wishing to appear credible is *not* going to have someone studying mortgage failures that was implicated in even a tangential way with an actual mortgage fraud. "Avoid even the illusion of impropriety."

        And yet, a lot of people who read this blog, being of a technical bent, will say that the best employment for a black hat is as a white hat because he knows the subject pretty well. Why would this be any different? And since there were no legal sanctions, exactly what legal grounds does the Uni have for firing him? Something to do with "innocent until proven guilty".

        Is implication supposed to be good enough for a government to treat someone like they are guilty now?

    • by mug funky (910186)

      this is tricky - news organizations do the same every day and are protected by the public interest.

      perhaps if our blogger had gone to the police/IRS/whatever and if there was obvious inaction he THEN blogged, it could have been fine for him. or not.

      but what journalist would ever sit on a story that's in the public interest (which it is, actually).

      • by Lazareth (1756336)

        Sure, if the police or whatever relevant authority failed to do their job, then it would essentially be whistleblowing and I would be fine with that.

  • This ruling is unlikely to survive a single appeal. Can you imagine the impact on journalism? Report the news, get slammed with a [successful] defamation suit?

    I have to wonder what sort of judge feels that this ruling follows case law and current legislation.

    • Re:First Amendment (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Zugok (17194) on Monday March 14, 2011 @08:18PM (#35486308)

      Truth is a defence against defamation tort, however truth might be the very thing that a plaintiff wants to protect from the tort of a breach of privacy. Maybe the real question is whether the fact a fraudulent (thus criminal) activities can be protected by the privacy torts in civil cases.

    • by micheas (231635)
      The jury found that the statement was unfounded by facts, despite the claims of the blogger to have proof.

      The case was fairly good in that the four statements said by other people were struck from the lawsuit, and the blogger was not held accountable for the comments made by others on his blog.

      Did the bloggers lawyer fail to present evidence to support the bloggers claim that the statement was based on facts? yes

      Is it possible that the blogger hired an incompetent idiot to represent him? yes

      Is the mo

  • Hennepin and Dakota county courtrooms are a freaking mess. I'm so proud of our Minnesota "justice." I'm glad I live a couple counties south. Far enough to not personally be afflicted, but close enough to hear the horror stories.
  • It was not the government vs a blogger but rather an individual who sued them for causing him to lose his job. It was also a jury trial NOT the government who made the decision.

    Evidently the reason for the lawsuit was the blogger accused him of being involved in a fraud mortgage fraud and Moore was fired for it. So it was based upon a libel claim(I am guessing).

    Last week there was a post about a 12-year accusing a teacher of being a "pedophile". A number of people came out of the woodwork to chastise thi

    • Last week there was a post about a 12-year accusing a teacher of being a "pedophile". A number of people came out of the woodwork to chastise this child for potentially ruining the teacher's career and life. I wonder if people are going to speak up against this blogger as he caused Moore to lose his job and impacted his reputation accusing him of being a crook.

      The claim the teacher was a pedophile was untrue.

      This case deals with when you may and may not disclose even true facts about someone's past.

  • by FlapHappy (937803) on Monday March 14, 2011 @08:02PM (#35486178) Journal
    Doing just 5 minutes of research, I confirmed what I suspected. Northside is a blogger-activist-vigilante. Really, he is a total jerk who spends a considerable amount of time attacking anyone he doesn't like. Basically, he is a troll who took off the mask. I'm not real happy with the legal precedence this might set but no one should think he is some perfectly innocent blogger who is getting bullied around. Really, it is the other way around - he is getting fined for his own bullying, aggressive, tactics.
    • by pclminion (145572)

      So, if you're a jerk, we get to twist the law to hold you accountable for things that aren't illegal? That's how it works?

      • Devastating someone's life without a reason or a justification IS illegal, in the sense that there is a remedy for it in the Courts. See earlier post about invasion of privacy, from which the law protects you.

    • Anyone who really studies it knows the law tries hard to be fair. It really seems fair that a mean, destructive person with no legitimate interest in disclosing the information he did (so the jury would have found) got his nose rubbed in it. If the jury felt he maliciously and without justification caused the harm he did, then damages were and appropriate punishment for the blogger. Blogging is still publishing, even if it's scary to think YOU COULD BE NEXT because you're a blogger too. Tip: No risk if

  • I believe Mr. Hogg's problem with his jury is that he writes about his beefs like an asshole. Mr. Moore was (is) a frequent subject of Mr. Hogg's writing.

    If Mr. Hogg had been employed by and was writing in one of the area's alternative news sheets, he'd have been personally protected, and his publisher would be taking the heat. Worst case, he'd have been fired. But, by acting as a "sole proprietor" so to speak, it would have behooved him to present the facts in a more neutral tone. This is nothing new, but much as technology has made it easier for the likes of Mr. Hogg or you or me to get our word out there, it has made it easier for someone else to take offense to the point they consider it actionable.

    As Jesse Eisenberg's character was told in Social Network, it wasn't the insult so much as that it was put on the internet.

  • Sigh... yes this is Slashdot, but still I dream of editors with some minimal grasp of the English language.

    IANAL but will still say that non-one has been fined for anything.

    They were sued, lost, and the plaintiff was awarded damages
  • by Freddybear (1805256) on Monday March 14, 2011 @08:49PM (#35486588)

    http://volokh.com/2011/03/11/60000-damages-for/ [volokh.com]

    "...If the news story is accurate, and isn’t omitting some key facts, the result seems unconstitutional and quite wrong. Even if Hoff was trying to get Moore fired, people are constitutionally entitled to speak the truth about others, even with such a goal. (The tort actually requires either knowledge that such a result is practically certain or a purpose of producing such a result, but I take it that here the allegation is that Hoff wanted Moore to get fired.) The First Amendment constrains the interference with business relations tort, just as it constrains the infliction of emotional distress and other torts...."

  • by SheDevilEsq (769823) on Monday March 14, 2011 @08:54PM (#35486636)
    The truth as a defense is for claims of defamation. From the reporting of the case, this sounds like the plaintiff won on an "intentional infliction of emotional distress" and "intentional interference with contract" and/or "intentional interference with prospective economic advantage" claim, all of which are tort claims (personal injury). Look at it this way...if you were really obese, and someone kept taunting you, day in and day out, saying "You are fat and going to die", you could sue them for emotional harm *even though* those two statements are patently true. And, yes, I'm a lawyer, *and* I played one on TV. :-)
  • by mmj638 (905944) on Monday March 14, 2011 @11:18PM (#35487568)

    The summary really approaches this from a certain point of view.

    Let's look at it from a different point of view ...

    1. University hires a researcher who has done something in the past which would make him look bad, but is not technically illegal. The researcher has technically never committed any crime, just gotten involved with some bad people at one stage.
    2. Blogger starts a campaign of negative publicity against the researcher focused on this aspect of his history. Everything said is true, but is inflammatory and of a nature intended to defame the researcher.
    3. The university, for all we know, may even know about the researcher's controversial past already and be cool with it. Either way, the university finds it increasingly difficult to support the researcher in the face of this negative publicity, and eventually lets go of him in order to save face.
    4. The researcher sues not for libel, because all the statements made about him were true, but for the running of a negative campaign about him which eventually lead to him losing his job and reputation.

    A lot of people have something in their past that makes them look bad, but which is not actually illegal. If someone starts a negative campaign about you based on something like this, and it ends up with you losing your reputation or job, who is in the wrong? In this case, 12 jurors thought it was the blogger.

  • by LongearedBat (1665481) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @12:10AM (#35487852)

    In most countries, isn't it illegal to not report a crime that you're aware of?

    Okay, so the blogger could have been more tactful by reporting it to authorities instead of blogging about it. But still, the frauster needs to man up and take the consequences for his own actions. It's going to get out anyway, one way or another.

    This business of protecting perpetrators is akin to tacitly accepting criminal behaviour. Of course, accepting != allowing, but over time on a nationwide level it alters a nations culture and brings the two concepts closer.

  • by garry_g (106621) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @03:10AM (#35488566)

    ... in Germany (though I found some references of it also being a Chinese saying) that goes something like this:

    If you are speaking the truth, you need a fast horse

    Guess his horse wasn't fast enough ...

  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @03:46AM (#35488706) Homepage

    This is a really interesting case.

    This Don Allen was a co-defendant in this case initially. He settled out of court with the plaintiff. He was a co-defendant because HE was the one who took things too far with his letter to the plaintiff's employer and interfered with his employment. Keep in mind that this is the one charge that actually mattered... the one that resulted in the jury finding for the plaintiff.

    I went to check out Don Allen's site to see where I might find where this meddler who caused all of this with his letter to the employer had reportedly cheered in support of the verdict against the remaining defendant... the defendant charged with the actions TAKEN BY DON ALLEN. Allen then goes on to say "It's unfortunate for all bloggers, but you have to have some sense of responsibility," he said. "You have to attack the issues, not the individuals." Really Mr. Allen? Is that the position you are taking? Hoff was taking his position on the issues by using the plaintiff as an example. YOU are the one who attacked the individual and settled your case when you knew you were wrong. (You get points for knowing you were in the wrong, but you lost them when you turned hypocrite.) Taking responsibility for your actions is one thing, but assigning blame for your actions to someone else is quite another.

    I could not read where Allen's site applauded the victory as reported in the original article. To do so would have meant reading racially slanted post after racially slanted post and I just couldn't stomach it after 4 pages of it. I get it -- he's in support of "the black cause." I'm okay with that. Defend the down-trodden and the unfortunate. (But only the ones who are black.) But be clear on this -- are you saying they are unfortunate because they are black? It would seem that's what is being expressed. It would also seem that "being white" is somehow an offense as well. I work with some highly skilled and successful black people who heartily disagree with Allen's apparent position that being black means being unfortunate. They learned and worked and succeed every day and I idolize their achievements. RACISM in support of "The Black Cause" is still RACISM Mr. Allen. It's all good to report on the facts. Just leave "because he was black" out of it the story because that is you drawing a conclusion as to the cause.

    I am utterly disgusted with Don Allen in this case. He was solely responsible for the charge of "tortious interference" by contacting the plaintiff's employer, "attacking the individual" as he put it. Mr Allen settled and that's all well and good, but he also seems to have thrown the remaining defendant "under the bus" as part of the deal with the plaintiff. This smells of some really dirty dealing.

  • by TRRosen (720617) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @04:09AM (#35488814)

    1. This is a civil case the first amendment has no play here. The first amendment gives you the right to speak it DOES NOT however protect you from the consequences of that speech. Fact is The first amendment protects your right to tell lies and make defamatory statements.

    2. What was in question here is the bloggers intent. Was it to show light, protect public interests or to fuck with somebody he didn't like. The jury chose the third choice.

    3. You have the right to say what you want but if you use that right not as a torch to bring light but a a torch to burn down the house, you are responsable.
    Think of it this way. If you call a 13 year old girl dumb and ugly 100 times and she kills herself well it's ok is she was dumb and ugly right. you only told the truth.

    4. In this case speech was used not as a tool for justice but as a weapon of anger.

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