censorship

by Jason Fischer

Okay.  So it's not really a news flash – it's kinda the bread and butter of the L.A. Times to print whiney panic pieces.  However, this story hit upon our sweet spot.  Reporter David G. Savage writes to warn us all about the dangers of criticizing others on teh interwebs.  The advice to bloggers and emailers: "think twice before sending a message."

With all due respect to the attorneys quoted in the piece, the story is a load of shit.  It paints the picture that you can and will be sued for posting anything negative about anyone or anything.  We understand that there is only so much space available for a story, but this one was so halfway done, that we question the article's intent.  Newspapers are losing their grip on the dissemination of information, as blogs and citizen journalists deliver information to the masses.  It almost seems like the L.A. Times was trying to scare us all from encroaching on their turf – and that it must have consciously failed to complete the story.

ShittyDentistThe article quotes our friend Professor Eric Goldman, of Santa Clara University, as saying that someone can be sued for saying "My dentist stinks."  Conveniently, this is the end of the quote – convenient because it supports the message behind the piece, i.e., don't be mean to people and hurt their feelings by writing unkind things about them.  We're sure that, if the entirety of Professor Goldman's input were published, he would have gone on to state, unequivocally, that "My dentist stinks" would never carry the day in court.  In fact, in California, bringing such a frivolous suit would leave the plaintiff paying everyone's attorneys' fees, after getting hit with a special motion to strike pursuant to the state's anti-SLAPP statute.  We've never seen Goldman shill for the "fraidy cat" contingent, and we bet our entire publication's credibility that he didn't do so this time.

Let's break it down LS style, in case someone out there is now afraid to complain about how much her dentist stinks on yelp after reading the article.  There are two ways the statement "My dentist stinks" can be interpreted:

By J. DeVoy Buffalo, New York, was in the international headlines a little over a week ago for a shooting that occurred at a downtown bar, the City Grill, that left 4 dead and another 4 wounded.  As city residents can attest, this came as a surprise because the City Grill...

By William Creeley, Special to the Legal Satyricon The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit's decision in McCauley v. University of the Virgin Islands, issued last Wednesday, is a big win for student speech. For the second time in two years, the Third Circuit has struck down...

by Charles Platt Both sides are claiming tolerance. The Mayor is all in favor of it (actually I assume he is just in favor of saying whatever gets him re-elected). The moslems are in favor of it, seeking merely to "reach out" (actually they are in favor of everyone becoming a...

[caption id="attachment_9818" align="alignright" width="175" caption="Wrong Springfield"][/caption] Censorship -- its not just for rednecks I often rant about the censorship minded former confederacy -- but I must admit that my home state of Massachusetts has its share of censorship monkeys. The censorship monkey of the day -- the city of Springfield, MA...

Sound the alarm! The pornographers are coming to get us. Or so says the ever-hysterical Gail Dines in a recent Boston Globe article about her latest book. To Dines, it is not coincidental that pornography has grown increasingly brutal in its treatment of women as the likes...

I have written a lot on the Snyder v. Phelps case since my first post on it, here. Now that Phelps is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, there seems to be more to say about the case, and John W. Whitehead says it brilliantly: America once symbolized the very...

by Jason Fischer Anyone with a law school education knows that state action is required before anyone can whine about having their free speech rights taken away.  Well, okay -- you can whine about it, but that's about it.  You can't get a court to step in and fix your problem,...

by Charles Platt The National Hispanic Media Coalition, which contains groups with harmless or even benign-sounding names such as Free Press, the Media Access Project, Common Cause, and the Prometheus Radio Project, renewed its demands earlier this month for the FCC to investigate "hate speech" and "misinformation" in the media. "Hate...