Monday, August 31, 2009

NOLA Blog Power! The Tide Has Risen!

In a lengthy front-page article, Molly Reid of the Times-Picayune covers the NOLA blogosphere and its impact as watchdog and gadfly on local politics. In the article, an anonymous blogger's identity is revealed (by the choice of the blogger himself) in the context of a threatened libel suit by the subjects of this blogger's investigations and postings. That particular story is interesting in and of itself, but the whole piece was a relatively thoughtful and detailed exploration of the impact of the local NOLA blogosphere in the rough and tumble of New Orleans politics and investigative journalism.

I thought Molly Reid did a nice job on the story. And I appreciate the fact that the Times-Picayune gave the story such prominence and space (it was continued over three different pages of the print edition). We NOLA bloggers have always known we were relevant and were making a difference to the civic culture of this community in positive ways; but it's nice to have the City's most prominent print newspaper finally acknowledge that as well.

Good luck to Ashe Dambala. I've followed his blog, American Zombie, and I don't think he has anything to worry about with regard to a libel suit coming from some disgruntled insiders. All he did was expose a web of interesting connections and pose the natural questions that anyone would have about such connections. And the fact that his identity is now out in the open should take the wind out of the sails of these disgruntled insiders. In fact, I hope they do file a libel suit, because then their web of connections will come under even greater scrutiny and will actually force the answers to the questions that Dambala put forth. I welcome anything that would increase such transparency and accountability. And I'm sure Dambala does, too.

1 comment:

Michael Roberts Internet libel victim's advocate said...

In many cases horrible problems have been avoided for the community as a result of anonymous blogging. This includes whistleblowing for white-collar criminals, community awareness when sexual predators move into the neighborhood, and many other alerts that are of great community benefit.

Benefits notwithstanding, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs and anonymous free speech on the Internet is one such omlette. There is no such thing as free speech, there is always a cost. Sometimes that cost is acceptable, moreover desirable, particularly in the case of positive community awareness. But often their many false and deceptive rumors, and libelous attacks are motivated only by hatred and vindictive antisocial promptings. More often than not, these serial cyber defamers have some type of antisocial personality disorder. They have nothing better to do than hurt other people, in fact they are actually fueled by other people's pain. Normal people like 97% of the readers of my comment cannot begin to relate to how these people think. Stop for a moment and imagine not having a conscience..... is simply impossible.

A concerted, focused and malicious Internet smear campaign can be as devastating for a person that relies on his or her reputation for employment as a fire can be for a farmer who loses his fields, barns, and livestock.

Respectfully submitted by Michael Roberts. Internet Libel Victim's Advocate.