Monday Update 2/8/2021: Infamy, Defamation… but also a bit of good news

Let’s play…

I put all my blogging time over the weekend into finishing my WandaVision episode review and a book review that will publish later in the week. There were a number of news stories that broke or had new developments after I composed this week’s Friday Five, So here are a few of those stories that I want to share and comment upon before next Friday.

First up, we have a number of news stories involving media, social and otherwise:

Rudy Giuliani lashes out at his employer, WABC, for adding a legal disclaimer to his radio show – Giuliani: This “gives you a sense of how far this free speech thing has gone and how they frighten everybody. I mean we’re in America, we’re not in East Germany. They’ve got to warn you about me?”. Giuliani has been pushing the lies about the election everywhere, including on his radio show. That includes unfounded (and in some details, impossible) claims about one voting machine manufacturer and an unrelated election software maker. The two companies have filed lawsuits against some of the networks that repeated those lies for weeks. So, the radio station decided to try to avoid being named in one of the lawsuits by putting a disclaimer on the show. Exactly what a lawyer that is worth his fees would advise, right? Rudy’s reaction is wrong in so many ways.

I mean, it’s been clear for a while now the Rudy is woefully ill-informed, has very poor reasoning skills, and doesn’t actually understand the law very well. I keep running into people online who point out that Rudy was a successful prosecutor years ago. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything. He could well have been one of the guys who was completely reliant upon his staff to write all the briefs, draft this questions for witnesses, and so forth. He may have been really good when he was younger at delivering the lines that had been scripted for him by his staff, without much understanding. But clearly he doesn’t have that kind of assistance now. It is also possible that he’s just suffering some sort of mental decline/neurological issue. In any case, the radio station that pays him to make his show is not censoring him if they put a legal disclaimer in front of it. They are still broadcasting his show in its entirety.

Free speech has always meant the government can’t stop us from speaking in advance, and that many types of speech are protected from legal repercussions. It has never mean that there will never be any consequences when we shoot off our mouths. Sometimes the consequence is that someone argues with us. Sometimes the consequence is that make fun of us. Sometimes the consequence is they block us on social media. And in the case that we knowingly lie about someone in a manner that harms their reputation, and so forth, the consequence can be getting sued.

If the statement is false, is published (or broadcast, et cetera), caused harm to the person—then it is defamation. It could be argued that the two corporations qualify as public figures, and if so, to prevail in court they would have to prove that the statements were made and/or published with malicious intent. And it looks like they have a good argument for that.

Meanwhile: Trump Lost Twitter and the Presidency. Guess Which One Hurts More? One of the stories that almost made it into another post asserted that the Grifter has been writing down insulting things he wants to say about certain election officials and public figures and trying to get other people who haven’t been banned from Twitter to post them for him. That’s just so pathetic. But that also tells us both how twitter aided and abetted the Grifter’s agenda, and why he didn’t just start walking into the press room the make statements once he was suspended: his twitter account was never about communication. It was always about trolling, bullying, and harassing. And even the most sycophantic news networks would try to phrase things to have at least the appearance of being news.

And somewhat related: Parler Wanted Donald Trump On Its Site. Trump’s Company Wanted A Stake – Documents seen by BuzzFeed News show that Parler offered Trump 40% of the company if he posted exclusively to the platform. The deal was never finalized. I’m not completely certain, but it seems to me offering the sitting president a large chunk of stock in exchange for him granting them exclusivity windows on each of his public statements would constitute a bribe, right?

Of course, the so-called Free Speech alternative to Twitter has other problems: Parler CEO Is Fired After ‘Constant Resistance’ Inside The Conservative-Friendly Site. And they still don’t have the service up. The managed to get a static page back on line, but so far that’s it.

Meanwhile, Twitter permanently suspends Gateway Pundit Homocon founder’s account. This guy has been pushing racist lies conspiracies from many years. A long overdue ban.

Speaking of long overdue things: Facebook to take down posts with false claims about vaccines.

And also: We Won’t Have Lou Dobbs To Kick Around Anymore. Dobbs was even more in the tank for the former Grifter in Chief that any other Fox host. A lot people are assuming the sudden cancelation of his show is because of the big lawsuits being filed about the false election stories. Dobbs is mentioned as a co-defendant and if the suit proceeds through discovery, he’s going to be deposed under oath. And Dobbs’ show was the highest rated of the Fox Business shows, so they didn’t cancel it because of bad ratings. There are other Fox hosts named in the lawsuits that haven’t been fired—at least not yet. On the other hand most of them have—after being forced by the network to read on air a statement disclaiming all those election stories—shift emphasis away from those election claims. Whereas Dobbs couldn’t seem to stop bringing them up. So maybe the network did fire him because of the lawsuit. It’s possible that Dobbs had become a problem in some other way that hasn’t been made public.

Dobbs, of course, isn’t taking it well: Lou Dobbs is lashing out at Fox on Twitter for dropping his show.

The important thing is that the lying racist homophobe is off the air. At least for a while.

Let’s shift gears to something more pleasant:

Dr. Fauci talks about his visits to gay bars & bathhouses (for scientific reasons) – He also contrasted the AIDS activists that once targeted him with COVID deniers, saying the former “ultimately were on the right side of history.”. I love the bit where he talked about going to meet about 100 angry AIDS activists by himself: “not for a second did I feel physically threatened to go down there, not even close. I mean, that’s not the nature of what the [AIDS] protest was.” The COVID deniers, on the other hand..

You can hear the whole interview on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast: Dr. Fauci On Vaccinations And Biden’s ‘Refreshing’ Approach To COVID-19.

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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. For more than 20 years I edited and published an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live near Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

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