I don't think when most of us became fascinated with the age of the Internet we could envision how it would change our society in so many ways. Now there is no doubt that it has enabled an entire new approach for instant information and that itself has spawned a huge new vocal voice. Some of these folks are just down right scary.
I added a new survey at the end. Make sure you vote on this topic. thanks. There is a fine line between free speech and defamation and character assassination. Those that seek to do those atrocities to others should understand that the First Amendment was never created to cover for such heinous and unprofessional conduct and potential criminal acts against others.
I don’t think when most of us became fascinated with the age of the Internet we could envision how it would change our society in so many ways. Now there is no doubt that it has enabled an entire new approach for instant information and that itself has spawned a huge new vocal voice. Some of these folks are just down right scary. They see themselves as super hero’s looking out for the virtues of humanity, seeking to right the wrongs that their minds have conjured up. They may have been wimps, fat girl, ugly girl, nerds or bullied in their own childhood, maybe they weren’t popular with other kids, they may have felt like misfits previously, but now with the internet, they are online warriors. They take on a persona that in the physical world they could not. The internet has become their alter-ego. Where in real life they may be shy and not outspoken on the internet as a blogger they are the epitome of everything they wish they could be. Worse yet, many of them take out their repressed anguish and frustrations on innocent people via the internet. They stalk, spy and steal information from their victims so as to use it to make their fictional story look overly sensationalized and portray their victim as an unethical, or some other defamatory image. They become the bullies and take out their own frustrations on others.
This type of online vigilante try’s to engage others to join them, wanting validation and social acceptance. They create a truly vile and despicable conspiracy to hunt, stalk, defame and maliciously hurt their victims. Worse yet they get others using the Internet for good purposes to be misled into believing their victims are deserving of the malicious and hurtful behavior.
The most common thread is these cyber stalkers and cyber bullies always attack any rebuttal that is voiced as being a ploy to further mislead their followers… and instead of seeking unbiased, substantiated valid facts they just ignore this responsibility and turn up their attacks. The second major trait is that they cite their basis as their right to the freedom of speech. Using the First Amendment as their defense.
The First Amendment is a double-edged sword, it’s a right and a responsibility, and it is one where People shouldn’t be allowed to torment and terrorize in the name of free speech.
Free Speech gives you the power of opinion and expression, but not the right to commit libel as a blogger. Of course the ultimate test is proving the actual truth. But the burden of proof is on those committing libel not on the plaintiff.
I am hopeful that someday we will have better regulation of websites that are too tolerant of such abusive bloggers in the interest of having more viewers and thus more advertising value. When did Libel and tortiously interfering with someone business, professional reputation and livelihood, become just another cost of doing business for the media? That is the real crime. I hope you never get a pack of nutty bloggers after you, because they just aren’t mostly driven by facts but opinions and accusations. In my case they forget I am a private citizen and as such not a public figure.
My own experience with negative bloggers is that they can’t be reasoned with. They have constructed a validation and justification in their own minds that they believe merits their attacks on the victim.
The only true course someone has that has been targeted by such a person or group of people is to hire a very good attorney and litigate those that participated in damaging you. Slowly I am hoping the laws change and become more restrictive in their allowance of such abuses online.
The advent of the internet has been a very positive outcome for the majority of things in our society, but there is a very dark and harmful side to the internet as many professionals are finding out today. This growth in voice and communication to the masses has created a very uninformed and very misguided group of people that are using blogging under the guise of trying to say they are truly media representatives and even more dangerously they are claiming to be capable of doing genuine investigative reporting. A review of most of their posts is nothing but a blathering of sensationalized and highly irrational posts about their personal views and most are not supported with any facts. Yet these posts and accusations show up when associated with those of us doing professional work as hits on search engines. Then they create confusion and paranoia and create conspiracy theories where none exist. I have been the victim of these type of news reporters and bloggers recently and in the past. Even when I was able to prevail in a court of law, the negative press and spin by these folks continues and it harms the economic livelihood of myself and others for no valid reason. Let’s not forget that these folks had no knowledge of the actual situations they discuss, don’t have any experience with the matter normally and are not supported by my former clients, current clients, former employers and/or constituents. You have to consider the source folks… they are citizens that are against virtually everything (CAVE) people. Thank God the world is not led by such negative Nellies or there would be no innovation, no new ideas pursued, no risks worth taking to change the current accepted processes and outcomes, no visionary leaders, yes nothing would be worthy in their minds of taking actions that could produce something other than the status quo. Today however slow it has taken, the laws are beginning to catch up to these defamatory individuals hiding behind their computer screens and slandering good people and committing libel and interfering in many cases with those targeted economic livelihood. Now the courts are beginning to allow those of us harmed by such malicious people the ability to prosecute them and seek damages. Let’s hope this begins to bring some balance to yellow media and social slander and libel. The best rule would be that the guilty party should be made to pay the average annual income for the past five years to the plaintiff for as many years as they have left until normal retirement as defined by social security, but no less than 10 years of forward projected damages. Maybe that will put some teeth into protecting those of us harmed by irresponsible media reporters and bloggers once and for all. To really put teeth into the judicial system should make such awards exempt from being dismissed in bankruptcy court. Then folks might think before they write and post. This should be applied to the media as well. They take the freedom of speech rights to a dangerous and unlawful and immoral extreme today. Hiding behind this while they do character assassination claiming it is investigative reporting. In fact it is simply opinion based reporting, sensationalized to make the media reporters point and sell scandals and promote conspiracy theories. Sadly most common folks believe what they read. Today the media has accepted libel, slander and defamation as just another cost of doing business. Gone are the days of fair and impartial investigative reporting. The truth just doesn’t seem to matter and probably doesn’t sell enough viewership. Sad state our press is in today.