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Columnist Threatens to Sue Blogger

michael posted about 11 years ago | from the fair-and-balanced dept.

Censorship 432

floppy ears writes "Pseudonymous blogger Atrios has been threatened with a subpoena and lawsuit for defamation. Apparently Atrios used a headline 'Diary of a Stalker' in reference to Donald Luskin. In response to the posting, several anonymous commentators made some allegedly libelous statements about Luskin, and now Luskin has hired an attorney and started making threats and demands. The funniest thing is that Luskin has previously referred to himself as a stalker in his own headline: 'We Stalked. He Balked.'."

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THAT'S IT (2, Funny)

devphaeton (695736) | about 11 years ago | (#7347749)

Blogging is dying....

Re:THAT'S IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347872)

A goddamn skanky-ass whore tried to hit on me on the bus today.

What the fuck? Do I like like a MILFer or something? I'd rather be a filthy furry.

Re:THAT'S IT (0)

Rhys (96510) | about 11 years ago | (#7347945)

For the sake of humanity, we can only hope.

Why would a communist try to sue a blogger? (4, Funny)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | about 11 years ago | (#7347755)

oh wait...

Re:Why would a communist try to sue a blogger? (1)

DeadTOm (671865) | about 11 years ago | (#7347791)

Hehe, I had to read it twice. I thought that was what it said. Those damn commies!

Re:Why would a communist try to sue a blogger? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7348033)

Me too. Perhaps instead of only reading the first and last letter like that study from a few months ago postulated, we read the first letter and last few letters of words.

in GNAA, niggers sue you! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347759)

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More power to em (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347762)

Free speech, yeah, but libel is bad. He should sue for all they are worth.

Slick move there, ace (5, Insightful)

r_glen (679664) | about 11 years ago | (#7347769)

Whereas perhaps 20 people would have read that blog before, now thousands will.

correction (4, Funny)

squarefish (561836) | about 11 years ago | (#7347819)

hundreds will see it before the server is fried.
if you don't want people to read something- get it posted on /.

Slick move yourself (2, Informative)

JimRay (6620) | about 11 years ago | (#7347824)

Um, what the hell are you talking about? As far as political bloggers go, right or left, Atrios is one of the most prolific and well read. But way to go, in typical Slashdot fashion, commenting on something you really know nothing about.

Re:Slick move yourself (1, Funny)

r_glen (679664) | about 11 years ago | (#7347851)

"As far as political bloggers go, right or left, Atrios is one of the most prolific and well read."

That's what I said, 20 people will read it!

Re:Slick move yourself (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347905)

If you look at the Blog Ecosystem, he gets over 56,000 visitors a day. Those 20 people must have a *lot* of IP addresses...

Re:Slick move yourself (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347969)

For using the word "Blog" I hope you break your toe. For using the phrase "Blog Ecosystem" I hope you contract gangreen and end up having to amputate your entire lower torso.

Re:Slick move yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7348031)

For not spelling gangrene correctly, I hope you get it, too.

Re:Slick move yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7348119)

For using commas where they are not needed I hope you fall down some stairs.

Re:Slick move yourself (2, Funny)

blizzardsoup (710498) | about 11 years ago | (#7347911)

The most prolific and well read political blogger is akin to being the finest quisine of the British Isles.

Neither is of any importance to very many people and neither is really any good anyway.

Re:Slick move yourself (1)

Brian Blessed (258910) | about 11 years ago | (#7348048)

Whilst the quality of average British cuisine might be uninspiring, the "finest quisine of the British Isles" is represented by some of the worlds best restaurants [bbc.co.uk] (the top 20 list in that link contains 3 British entries).

- Brian

What a royal pussy! (4, Insightful)

tizzyD (577098) | about 11 years ago | (#7347773)

My goodness, now if anyone says anything that makes you look bad, you're gonna sue them.

It reminds me of the Scientology approach: if anyone says anything bad about you, use the courts to silence them. Lovely.

Re:What a royal pussy! (1)

adamshamblin (524400) | about 11 years ago | (#7347796)

wait, wasn't there a court decision earlier this year protecting bloggers from this kind of hassle? I think there was a slashdot headline about it.

Re:What a royal pussy! (2, Interesting)

saddino (183491) | about 11 years ago | (#7347820)

My goodness, now if anyone says anything that makes you look bad, you're gonna sue them.

IMHO, libel and slander have always been valid reasons to pursue restitution in the courts.

Why should blogging should not have any more protection than other forms of publishing (or speaking publicly for that matter)?

Re:What a royal pussy! (5, Informative)

efflux (587195) | about 11 years ago | (#7347913)

As Luskin is a public figure, to sue atrios, his lawyers will have to not only show negligence of fact, but also that actual malice was intended.

Now, as usual, IANAL, but I'm questioning how atrios can be held accountable for *other* posters' comments, especially when considering the demands of proving actual malice.

Fuck Luskin.

Re:What a royal pussy! (1)

Evil Adrian (253301) | about 11 years ago | (#7347870)

You can only win a case if the person you're going after is actually telling lies, though.

Truth is the shit!

Re:What a royal pussy! (1)

LittleGuy (267282) | about 11 years ago | (#7347920)

It reminds me of the Scientology approach: if anyone says anything bad about you, use the courts to silence them. Lovely.

Unless you're the government. Them you are the courts. Lovely Department of Justice.

Re:What a royal pussy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7348075)

You didn't hear what the nut-cult did to the government? sued 'em [cmu.edu] :

None of the following is disputed by Scientology officials and, indeed, some of it was boasted about by David Miscavige [Head of the nut cult] in his October 1993 speech:

* The IRS and its individual officers were sued for $128m.
* 2,500 lawsuits were launched against the IRS.
* Private detectives were employed to find out what "crimes" IRS officials were guilty of in their private lives.
* Freedom magazine printed lurid allegations about "IRS crimes".

They only dropped the lawsuits after the IRS agreed to grant them tax exempt status.

"We stepped up our efforts to get government documents about us, through the Freedom of Information Act. This would escalate to literally thousands of requests, and when the IRS wouldn't comply we never failed to take them to court. Slowly we were able to start piecing together the picture. And we were also beginning to impinge on government resources. In fact, the attorneys working for the government defending these law suits were to become so inundated that their entire budget would be wiped out handling our cases - so much so that they didn't even have money to attend the annual American Bar Association conference of lawyers - which they were supposed to speak at! [David Miscavige, speech to IAS, 8 October 1993]

"The purpose of a lawsuit is not to win, but to harass."

Its a little more than that... (1, Troll)

toupsie (88295) | about 11 years ago | (#7347933)

There are death/violent threats against Luskin contained on the blog in question. It's one thing to call someone a bad name, its another to assist in the advocacy of violence against another. That crosses the line. It appears Luskin wants those removed. If that happens, it looks like the suit will be dropped. Not all to unreasonable. Defending threatning behavior is not defending the 1st Amendment.

Re:Its a little more than that... (1)

rsidd (6328) | about 11 years ago | (#7348049)

its another to assist in the advocacy of violence against another

As I posted elsewhere on this page, Luskin advocated cream-pieing Krugman on his book tour [poorandstupid.com] . This was he himself who posted this, not some anonymous reader of his blog. And now he doesn't want to be called a stalker?

Re:Its a little more than that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7348050)

Except that once the blogger edits the posts, he has taken editorial responsibility for their contents, increasing his liability.

Re:Its a little more than that... (2)

flwombat (190748) | about 11 years ago | (#7348121)

Threats of violence in blog comments, apart from being really stupid, are an unfortunate problem for various types of political blogs. There's a real question there of legality and liability.

However, in Atrios's post [blogspot.com] describing the incident, he claims that he offered to remove the offending comments, and that Luskin demanded instead that the whole post and all of its comments be removed.

If true, that pretty much invalidates your point.

Re:What a royal pussy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347962)

It reminds me of the Scientology approach: if anyone says anything bad about you, use the courts to silence them. Lovely.

Dear sir:

You have used the trademarked Scientology name without duly crediting its origin and ownership. Expect a subpoena, or perhaps just a rattlesnake, in your mailbox forthwith.

Church of Scientology Legal Counsel

He's A Conservative... (1)

Shuh (13578) | about 11 years ago | (#7347780)

...so all you have to do to beat the slander lawsuit is to claim you are doing "satire."

Re:He's A Conservative... (1, Funny)

djoham (93430) | about 11 years ago | (#7347874)

Or "Fair and Balanced Reporting".....

Re:He's A Conservative... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347875)

that only works if you're not referring directly to that person, which he is.

I've always found it ... (2, Interesting)

Palverone (166646) | about 11 years ago | (#7347782)

fascinating that people others want to know their daily rants and raves, what even fascinates me more is the people who read them. Are most bloggers some famed person who has achieved greatness and is willing to give insight into how they do what they do? No, it's bob the mechanic down the hill that repaired a faulty transmission on a '62 Buick the other day who just so happens to have a really cool website with his own personal blog section.

- wash, rinse, repeat.

Re:I've always found it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347845)

Is it much different reading and responding to the opinions here?

Re:I've always found it ... (2, Interesting)

Palverone (166646) | about 11 years ago | (#7347894)

Yeah but the thing is here is a forum where people come to discuss things... Loads of different minds and different opinions get thrown out in masses... you pick through the mindless dribble (80%?) and assimilate what you desire. Blogging on the other hand is focused from one particular individual's mind and more than likely from a complete idiot who thinks he is cool for posting stuff on his own personal website.

Since the articles on /. are hand picked by staff then we are nothing more than a pack of dogs waiting for the alpha to throw us a bone...

Re:I've always found it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7348116)

And what is wrong with Bob the Mechanic's blog? Life is not just about one perspective - it is very much about understanding the perspectives of others. To disagree with what he posts is one thing. But why not be interested in the stories that a mechanic can relate to you? He has had an entirely different life, experienced different experiences than you, and we would do well to not tune people out just because one assumes they have nothing of interest to say - everyone who is alive has something of interest, even if they don't necessarily know it.

observation? (2, Interesting)

fegg (79146) | about 11 years ago | (#7347805)

Is it a sign of the times that those who dissent seem to be attacked by those in power, or has that always been the case?

Re:observation? (1, Flamebait)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 11 years ago | (#7347902)

Is it a sign of the times that those who dissent seem to be attacked by those in power, or has that always been the case?

No, it's a sign that the courts and libel laws are at last catching up with the amateur journalists who thought they were somehow above them.

Re:observation? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347922)

read a history book some time.

Re:observation? (1)

heritage727 (693099) | about 11 years ago | (#7348103)

Is it a sign of the times that those who dissent seem to be attacked by those in power, or has that always been the case?
Well, they used to just torture them and chop their heads off instead of using lawyers, but otherwise it's pretty much the same.

Cry me a river (1)

r_glen (679664) | about 11 years ago | (#7347807)

This guy should thank him... he gave a link to Donald's site!

SLASHDOT IS NEXT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347808)

It is just a matter of time. Bout time. FUCK SLASHDOT!

Just two guys fighting (3, Insightful)

watzinaneihm (627119) | about 11 years ago | (#7347810)

If I read the blog and the article correctly, this is a case where two guys are throwing mud at each other.Finally one of them couldnt take it anymore and called a lawyer. The only thing that is probably interesting to slashdot is that somebody is not willing to treat blogging equivalent to free speech.
Next article please....

Re:Just two guys fighting (1)

gfxguy (98788) | about 11 years ago | (#7347889)

Libel is not protected free speech. You can call someone an idiot, a jerk, even someone who supports baby-killing (what normal people might call pro-choice). But you can't call someone a criminal (a stalker, in this) without evidence.

Re:Just two guys fighting (1)

forrestt (267374) | about 11 years ago | (#7348055)

It seems to me that the person already called themselves a criminal. If I refer to myself as a thief, don't I then open anyone else to also refer to me as a thief? Just a question, I don't have any answer on this, and think that both (all) parties involved should be ignored.

Re:Just two guys fighting (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | about 11 years ago | (#7348061)

is "stalking" a criminal offense? i could see it as one if you had a restraining order or something, but otherwise not really. i'm sure i'll change my views once someone i know, or myself, is stalked and i can't do anything about it.

Can't we... (3, Funny)

toupsie (88295) | about 11 years ago | (#7347821)

Just hope he is getting sued for blogging, period. That would be justice. Cat pictures alone should get you 3-5 years hard labor.

Really.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347823)

This "free speech" thing you yanks mumble on about is more trouble than it's worth. You can see why most governments in the world repress it. Opinions are irrelevent as they never change anything anyway.

Reminds me of Rush Hour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347827)

Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan walk by a large black man.

Tucker: What's up my nigga...
Man nods as he walks by. Then Chan does the same.

Chan (in stereotypical heavy asian accent, even for him): What's up... my nig-ga.
Man: What the hell did you say?!?

(Posting anonymously for fear of misunderstanding... I'm not racist or anything, just trying to make a point.)

Re:Reminds me of Rush Hour (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347885)

Historically, there's more racism/hatred between blacks and asians than most other groups. Why? Who knows. Who cares.


Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7348111)

Luskin v. Krugman (5, Interesting)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 11 years ago | (#7347831)

Luskin's attacks on Krugman for National Review Online are often rather despicable. I am a conservative, but I can't stand reading Luskin. Besides, Krugman does have some good points. He has been saying that our record deficit (as high a percentage of the GDP as in the Reagan years) is leading to one of three options in the next decade: A) A steep tax hike soon B) A drastic cut in Government programs C) a financial crisis when the market decides that the government is not going to pay them back.

Bush is aiming at B, but he has made no political preparation for it. Nobody is ready to accept drastic cuts in Medicare and Social Security. Without that preparation, we are most likely headed towards C.

Yes. But ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347918)

Bush will have pulled a Reagan : temporary short term growth and delay of dealing with persistent problems. Just make sure the economy is doing well the year before the elections. Loot the treasury to help your sponsors and hand the bill to next generation. Government by Ponzi scheme.

Re:Luskin v. Krugman (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 11 years ago | (#7347948)

For me, there is nothing worse than a pundit writing about a pundant or a columnist bitching about a writer.

Right-Left-Center - it's all boring. About as much fun as watching butter go rancid.

Re:Luskin v. Krugman (1)

gfxguy (98788) | about 11 years ago | (#7347959)

If you're going to go way off target, let's talk about todays news that the economy grew over 7% in the last quarter, which makes government revenues go up, not down, which is why the deficit has been corrected DOWN, not up, new requests for unemployment benefits are DOWN, not up... You don't sound like a conservative to me, at least fiscally.

Anyone failing to see the big picture is only blinded by a hatred for a man. The hatred grows when that man shows any signs of success.

Re:Luskin v. Krugman (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 11 years ago | (#7348094)

The 7.2 number sounds good, but it will be revised. You need to understand the nature of these numbers.

Do you even understand how the unemployment requests numbers work? You are putting a lot of faith in some in some rather pitiful news. Unemployment is still pretty bad.

I don't sound like a fiscal conservative for hating huge deficits and being wary about the numbers? Now that's crazy.

Re:Luskin v. Krugman (2, Funny)

EinarH (583836) | about 11 years ago | (#7348131)

Anyone failing to see the big picture is only blinded by a hatred for a man.
You are talking about "the big picture" and at the same time you are refering to a recovery in the last quarter....?

Re:Luskin v. Krugman (2, Offtopic)

Lysol (11150) | about 11 years ago | (#7347975)

Excellent points.

Indeed, that's exactly what the supply siders and starve the beasts want - no govt programs for the <= rich.

I have nothing against being rich, in fact, I hope to be financially secure one day. However, until that happens and everyone has a job or some sort of income, then there will be need for safety nets - for the good of society.

It is even more evident that the corporate crowd has blantently pitched its tent on the Whitehouse lawn and has no plans of leaving as long as this administration holds control. For the common person, these are dark times ahead. Next year will be our biggest chance to head off certain financial disaster. Make sure you vote!

Re:Luskin v. Krugman (1)

millahtime (710421) | about 11 years ago | (#7348093)

Ok, for depressions/recessions it doesn't matter who's in office for them to happen. There is a trackable trend to them happening and it's about every 10 years. Doesn't matter who's in the White House. 10 years ago it was papa Bush, before that it was Carter...go back far enough on this 10 year trend you get the great depression. It's an every 10 year thing.
Now also watch out for the cause. Da Pres came into this. It was not his agenda that made this. They say the level of depression/recession was decided a couple years before. At that point it was someone else in office and that other persons policies and agenda running the show.
Just think about it, analyze it a little and the trends pop out at you.

Re:Luskin v. Krugman (1)

BillFarber (641417) | about 11 years ago | (#7348032)

In my opinion ...

You forgot one option.
D) Growth in GDP leading to growth in tax receipts without a increase in tax rates.

For the most part, the balanced budget of the early 90s was the result of cutting future year budgets and large increases in the tax base.

Re:Luskin v. Krugman (1)

aborchers (471342) | about 11 years ago | (#7348041)

My money's on A, the tax hike, which will happen once people get flustered by the deficit and vote in a Democrat. Of course, the Republicans will rage against said hike and turn it into their next point of entry. This is just one of many ways they keep their exclusive pendulum swinging.

bah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347832)

I can't believe some people pay money to read this 15 minutes early.

A sucker born every minute.

I've read about this controversy. (3, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | about 11 years ago | (#7347837)

Luskin is not a stalker in the legal sense, which is what Krugman implied on national TV. Luskin went to ONE lecture by Krugman.

The controversy of Luskin calling himself a stalker stems from literal and non-literal uses of the word. I find the whole thing nonsense, but any third party who is going to step in and start parroting something like "so and so is a stalker" is only going to get what they are asking for.

Stalking is a serious crime. To accuse someone of it, in the literal sense, is akin to me accusing someone of being a child molester - I'd better have some evidence to back that claim up. I would not expect to NOT be called on it. It's NOT like calling someone an idiot or a jerk.

Re:I've read about this controversy. (4, Informative)

rsidd (6328) | about 11 years ago | (#7347897)

Luskin posted Krugman's book tour dates on his site, suggesting to his readers a different coloured pie to throw at each date. [poorandstupid.com]

So who's the "literal" stalker? I also read the Krugman interview transcript, it seemed pretty clear to me he was using "stalk" in the dictionary sense (follow purposefully and stealthily) not in the legal sense.

Re:I've read about this controversy. (1)

Evil Adrian (253301) | about 11 years ago | (#7347912)

Definitely not; in fact, I think words like "idiot" and "jerk" can't be used for libel or slander suits, since they're opinions, not really facts. Crimes like stalking and child molesting can be verified traditionally with evidence.

Re:I've read about this controversy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347939)

First, stalking does have a meaning outside of the legal sense of the word (i.e., a crime), and is commonly used as such. Second, if you actually read Luskin's initial entry that started this, he says that in seeing Krugman he "saw evil".

This is a nuisance suit designed to out an anonymous blogger and stifle criticism of a public figure.

Re:I've read about this controversy. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 11 years ago | (#7347971)

You don't need evidence in order to convict someone of child molestation. I have a friend who was convicted and went to jail for a year. Medical evidence and testimony pointedly not offered, it was simply an accusation followed by a plea bargain. The shadow cast by such an accusation will get anyone convicted who doesn't have the money to fight it. And it was all sparked because my friend refused to house the "victim's" mother any longer since she refused to look for a job.

The same is becoming true for cracking. You don't need much evidence, you just need to accuse someone.

Re:I've read about this controversy. (1)

kevin lyda (4803) | about 11 years ago | (#7348039)

i didn't hear krugman say "he's stalking me in the legal sense." i heard him say "he's a stalker." that luskin has such thin skin just kills me.

note, i'm not accusing luskin of being a murderer.

Free Publicity (3, Informative)

avdi (66548) | about 11 years ago | (#7347843)

I don't know why people do this... they have to realize by now that a libel suit (or any suit) against any kind of media or publishing organization is just free publicity for the defendant. The most unfortunate outcome of this is that babbling fools like Atrios get all the attention while better, more insightful bloggers get tarred with the same stigma of unprofessionalism without any of the benefit of publicity.

Re:Free Publicity (1)

gfxguy (98788) | about 11 years ago | (#7347988)

It's also free publicity for themselves. And if they believe that, in the course of the usual arguments that are going back and forth, that people who read the blogs will more often agree with them, then it's worth it.

Use (2, Insightful)

Espectr0 (577637) | about 11 years ago | (#7347853)

First, a guy gets fired, now a guy gets sued...

Come on people, use your blogs to talk about yourself, or what you like, etc, but don't talk about anyone else, or this is what can happen.

Mod Parent Up (2, Insightful)

saddino (183491) | about 11 years ago | (#7347880)

Exactly. Why is this news? If you publish -- in any form -- you are beholden to laws (or in the firing case, beholden to the codes of conduct of your employer) -- and Luskin has the right to bring a course of action here. Whether he prevails or not is up to the courts.

Re:Mod Parent Up (3, Informative)

srichman (231122) | about 11 years ago | (#7348053)

If you publish -- in any form -- you are beholden to laws ...
No. You are talking about libel. Earlier this year bloggers gained protection from libel prosection [wired.com] .

Luskin's lawsuit is grounded on defamation. I can defame you and be sued for it without publishing anything; e.g., I can just go stand in a crowded public place and tell everyone you are a child molester.

Re:Use (1)

efflux (587195) | about 11 years ago | (#7347947)

We better hush about this whole thing then, eh? Since we're talking about someone now, even if indirectly.

Re:Use (2, Insightful)

felix71 (49849) | about 11 years ago | (#7348125)

So what you're saying is that we shouldn't expose the deserving to ridicule? Did you even read the site in question, or the link the the person threatening to sue? Please.

Two issues for you:

1. Atrios didn't suggest that this dude was an actual stalker, or imply that the people who read his blog (one of the most popular, btw) to harass or threaten anyone.

2. Have you listened to conservative cheap-labor types go after people who question them? They never get sued for the libelous and slanderous things they spew...including the filth put out by Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulture. Try to objectively recall the tings they said about President Clinton for jus a bit.

This is nothing more than a SLAPP lawsuit. Something designed to irritate the person sued to make them go away when they expose something you don't like.

Should Atrios have used a different post title? Maybe. But is it something he (or she) should get sued over? Not hardly. This is the type of crap that keeps real issues in our courts bottled up.

Stalking is a felony (2, Insightful)

JamesKPolk (13313) | about 11 years ago | (#7347863)

Stalking is a felony in many (most) parts of America, so this accusation being made is a serious one. Paul Krugman recently made the charge on Hannity and Colmes, a television program, and Luskin had to go there to defend himself, too. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from accountability, so I hope they find this guy and hold him accountable.

Paul Krugman is a public figure, being a prominent columnist for the most prominent news paper in the country. If people like Luskin can't challenge public figures without being subject to this kind of abuse, then free speech really is in trouble.

Re:Stalking is a felony (1)

ajm (9538) | about 11 years ago | (#7348113)

The guy himself said "We Stalked", what more does he have to do. Luskin is a dick, or if not, is certainly making himself look like one. If he can't stand the heat he should get out of the kitchen, not go crying to his mummy.

what ever happened... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 11 years ago | (#7347879)

What ever happened to free speech?

What ever happened to trying to convince people that you were right with reasonable debate instead of resorting to lawsuits to impose your will on others?

Case in point would be the lawsuit to overturn McCain-Feingold. They couldn't win it in Congress with open and reasonable debate so they are going to try and use the Courts (and their high-priced lawyers) to overturn it.

Once again, the only ones that will really win are the lawyers.

Re:what ever happened... (1)

saddino (183491) | about 11 years ago | (#7348003)

What ever happened to free speech?

Are you serious? Free speech has always been subject to slander (or in this case, libel).

Free speech is just where it's always been.

Re:what ever happened... (2, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 11 years ago | (#7348056)

What ever happened to free speech?

It's alive and well. It does not, however, allow someone to accuse somone else of a serious crime in print. That's libel. That bloggers, whose amateur globally-distributed ramblings would eventually be held to the same degree of accountability as the professional work of a reporter working at a newspaper in suburban Topeka should come as a relief, not a surprise.

Pain (1)

Espectr0 (577637) | about 11 years ago | (#7347883)

Sure, the guy gets sued, now add more pain to his misery and slashdot him into oblivion.

Your daily slashdotting joke, i will be here all week.

It must be... (1)

Serious Simon (701084) | about 11 years ago | (#7347893)

a conspiracy against poor, stupid Luskin.

And here I thought.... (1)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | about 11 years ago | (#7347903)

I thought all this time opinions were like a**holes, everybody has one. Now people are suing over them? Jeez.. What has this country come too?

Re:And here I thought.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347961)

It's now lawyers are like a**holes. Everyone has one.

Re:And here I thought.... (1)

saddino (183491) | about 11 years ago | (#7348030)

thought all this time opinions were like a**holes, everybody has one. Now people are suing over them?

Uh, last I checked, the laws -- and lawsuits -- concerning slander and libel have been around a long, long time. What do you mean by "now?"

Luskin, who? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347906)

Luskin, who? Who gives the fuck about this dude, or his lawsuit. How is this News for Nerds and Stuff that Matters? Fuck, slashdot is getting slashitted.

Two Observations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7347919)

Number one - No one cares about this story.

Number two - Blogging is a catch phrase that will be looked back at as nothing more than a fad similar to madlibs.

That it all...

Internet Classism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7348087)

There is a three class system developing on the Internet. At the top we have the old timers who were there when NCP was swicthed off and personally oversaw the installation of their Honywell IMP. The middle classes are composed of those who got on early in the 90's commercialisation and know how the network works and the useful stuff such as Usenet. They know how to send email using Telnet.

At the bottom we have the Internet lower class. Those who think Instant Messaging is neat but have never heard of IRC. Those who refuse to properly learn how to use email and forward hoax virus warnings on to their entire address book. Those who thing "Blogs" are a great idea because it makes them feel like people care.

The lower classes are multiplying.

MMMMmm hits (0)

isoga (670113) | about 11 years ago | (#7347928)

That's it! I need to libel some people so my blog [davidgoodwin.net] gets some hits!


Evaluation of this (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 11 years ago | (#7347932)

Let's see...the victim is 'conservative'. The perpetrator is leftist. Therefore, Luskin is a total nutcase, and Atrios is a levelheaded First Amendment hero.


jamie(really) (678877) | about 11 years ago | (#7347964)

Why are we wasting slashdot pixels with this rubbish??? You have no right to anonymity. Check your constitution. If someone wants to sue you for libel they can do it. The whole thing is just a bunch of children shouting at each other.

He's gonna lose that suit. (4, Insightful)

MsWillow (17812) | about 11 years ago | (#7347972)

People seem to have high opinions of themselves and their precious egos. Try reading some court decisions about libel and the net - there's a darned high threshold that must be passed for it to be considered libel. Denbeste [denbeste.nu] had a great comment about this - scan down to the entry labelled "Stardate 20031027.0423" to read it.

Oj, yes, the obligatory IANAL, just in case anybody was wondering.

This is off-topic but... (1)

IWorkForMorons (679120) | about 11 years ago | (#7347987)

...did anyone else notice the post in his blog about our beloved Georgy [georgyforgov.com] getting beat up by Arnold's thugs...

The Missing Distinction (4, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | about 11 years ago | (#7347989)

It seems as though most of the lawsuits regarding online publication, comments, and so on is the difference between "personal comments" and "news publication."

I may be wrong, but I believe that the fine line between "libel" and "opinion" lies in who's talking, and what they're talking about. If the Local Sunday Times states for a fact that one week ago I was spotted by 100 people dancing naked in a local fountain, and no such event occurred, then I could be sue for libel.

However, if some guy down the street told that to his neighbor - I don't believe I have a leg to stand on. Even if he was on TV and say "Yeah, he was out there doing that", and the news said "Well, that's what Mr. Jones has said", I'm still not sure I could sue either for libel (unless the news organization stated that for a fact - odds are, they'd use the statement "allegedly dancing naked in a fountain."

So what is a blog, or a newsgroup posting then? To most people here, they are "comments", "opinions", things that you take with a grain of salt. You don't take them as fact.

Of course, some online articles are meant to be fact - Salon, perhaps even a gaming site like Blues News could if they knowingly published false information.

But I think Mr. Luskin made a mistake in the difference between "some guy who's got an opinion who happens to write it down for others to read" and "a true news organization." My hope is that the courts rule that blogs, newsgroups, and other "commentary" style online posting are just that - some person expressing their viewpoints on something, perhaps in a sarcastic tone, but not held up to the same standards as a true "news" publication.

Now, if I can just figure out which Fox News is...

Of course, this is all just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Actual malice (1)

blizzardsoup (710498) | about 11 years ago | (#7348006)

IANAL, but isn't Luskin a public figure? As such doesn't the standard of "actual malice" apply here? That being just because the published work was untrue, it is not libel unless the publisher a) knew it wasn't the untruth, and b) published it with the intent of harming the reputation of Luskin.

Without this legal standard, the National Enquirer and it's ilk would have been sued into oblivion long ago.

Non news (1)

salesgeek (263995) | about 11 years ago | (#7348025)

Who cares about one journalist suing another for being a journalist. Both of these guys would be better served by actually finding some real news to report about. Ahhh forget it. People don't like real news it hurts too much.

Is it just me? (0)

MasTRE (588396) | about 11 years ago | (#7348067)

Anyone else read this as Communist Threatens to Sue Blogger?

Just a Reminder (1)

4of12 (97621) | about 11 years ago | (#7348086)

that as you are posting on Slashdot, the lawyers for the parent corporation are quaking, thinking about the fate of the lawyer in Jurassic Park...

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