A Discussion Revisited- Are Bloggers Like Journalists and Should You As A Blogger Worry About Defamation Charges Being Filed Against You?


In my facebook I found a link to an interesting article that I would like to share. The link is: http://technorati.com/blogging/article/blogger-smacked-with-25-million-fine/. Please take a moment to read.

When you finish reading that article please read the following:
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/oregon/ordce/3:2011cv00057/101036/95/0.pdf

At the heart of this case is a blogger who believed that she was reporting the truth and exposing her version of the facts that she has gotten from sources. If you see her titles to her blog entrys some have curse words, some have punctuation marks and others just have normal titles. But they are all to expose some form of corruption.

She was given a decision against her to pay to the plaintiff the amount of $2.5 million dollars. I had read on I believe EFF web page an article about bloggers not being considered journalist. (www.eff.org)Bloggers do write articles but they are on different things and are more opinion pieces than journalistic peices. But does that mean that a blogger should hold themselves to a lesser standard? I think not.

I think that a blogger should hold themselves accountable for their words. I think that if it doesn’t hurt you then you can retract your statement but if it hurts you then you as the blogger have the right or maybe the decision capacity to tell that person I am sorry but I can’t retract that statement. And hopefully not lose your readership at the same time.

But where does that leave most of us who blog? Where we stand right now as those who blog about what makes us who we are in our blogs and where we are going to be in the days to come. Future entries will be made and they will also be used to defame possibly but hopefully for entertainment.

On the flip side of the coin, you have the plaintiff the one who was accused of all of these criminal activities by her in her blogs. Where is he now and how is his life? Do you think that it won’t get paid? The comments made by those who read the article say that they can get liens against her house, her bank, her check from her job and maybe force her to sell things. If this is the case then she will indeed pay that amount. It is obscenely large though. Better her than me I guess and at the same time not better her. She made a mistake and lost a large portion of her life there monetary wise.

If you Google her on http://www.google.com and put in the search term ‘crystal cox montana blogger’ you will pull up all of the articles and blogs written by her of which there are numerous ones. I just gave you two at the beginning of this post. But on your own time peruse what she wrote. I have seen a couple of them. Form your own opinion. And then re-visit the opinion of the case if you like and decide for yourself if after reading the article that the verdict was deserved based on what you yourself have researched.

For those in the know: in the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and Its All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson Ph.D., published by Hyperion on pages 211-213; it says and I quote: “It’s interesting to consider that when you disagree with someone, the person you are disagreeing with is every bit as certain of his or her position as you are of yours. Yet we always take sides–ours!…Rather than automatically defending your own position (whatever it is), see if you can learn something new…Don’t say this with a hidden agenda or in preparation to defend or prove your position, but simply to learn a different point of view. Don’t try to correct or make your friend see how he is wrong. Let your friend have the satisfaction of being right. Practice being a good listener.

I think that is good advice. And Ms. Cox in her endeavor to report the truth was trying to do that. Hopefully the next time she will post a blog if she does, she will be a little bit more circumspect and discreet.

Some other articles to read:

http://www.crystalcox.com/

Bloggers Beware: Lessons from the Crystal Cox Case

http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Legal/News/2011/12_-_December/Judge_in_defamation_case_rules_blogger_is_no_journalist/

http://www.suppressthetruth.com/

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39 thoughts on “A Discussion Revisited- Are Bloggers Like Journalists and Should You As A Blogger Worry About Defamation Charges Being Filed Against You?

  1. Autumn_Indiana says:

    It would also make it a lot harder for bullying to take place, since anyone stupid enough to try it would be taking on a potentially even bigger community, as well as whoever happened to be hosting you. (Anyone who did host would have your back 100% and be able to manage comment moderation and such so you’d never even have to see the garbage.)

  2. Ava_Georgia says:

    In doing this blog and thinking about this stuff, have you ever had any ideas for what kinds of tools (software, that is) that people could use to do things like share creative ideas in groups, create customer community, etc. etc.?

    • teribelle says:

      I have heard of some software that helps you with writing but not necessarily sharing ideas. I mean you have your email, your twitter, your facebook, your foursquare, your google, your google+, your comcast, verizon, and all the other emails and social networking places. You can use the chatrooms and other online groups as well. But software, I am not really aware of yet. If you know please forward. We can all use the information.

  3. Olivia_Colorado says:

    In relation to the Technorati rank it’s pulled down via an API (geez I think that’s what it’s called) as is Alexa rank & the script calculates the index – I just need to record the figures in a spreadsheet for upload.

  4. Gianna_Connecticut says:

    the content you have graciously shared with us every once in a while is both inspiring and entertaining. And a blog is the perfect medium for this. A lot of the content is about your style and creative personality. Thus, I would rule out the community-based ideas. I would probably only read your stuff anyway.

  5. Sophia_Rhode_Island says:

    And a belated Happy Easter to you too! The fruit cakes being compared to bricks definitely makes my chuckle list…..perhaps some fruity garnish around the display would have added more relevance. It is quite strange how the human mind works, and association is key to avoid possible misyunderstandings like this one! Classic!

  6. Riley_South_Carolina says:

    Maybe the private blog is the way to go, though I suspect you’d need some time to get revved up for that. The pod/video angle sounds great, but that raises a lot of other questions. And it loses the immediacy that you enjoyed so long, which is one of the most unfortunate losses in all this.

  7. Sarah_California says:

    Good for Hannity, hammering Mc Cain. Mc Cain off as so slimey. He completely bought into the Obama narrative and talks about the great calamity to come if there is no agreement, and continues to blast the Tea Party.

  8. Rachel_New_Mexico says:

    That’s fine for the House and Senate but for president, there is no way any conservative should vote for either Democrat that will be stuffed down our throats next year. The House is the grand prize. If we had someone like Jim Jordan as Speaker and more than the current 3 reliable conservative senators, the president wouldn’t matter.

  9. Caroline_Florida says:

    I’m not sure what you have against “The Five”. I mean, four of the five panel members are on the right. The only creep is Bob Beckel. I admit, his creepiness makes the show a bit harder to handle. But Greg Gutfeld makes up for it! I LOVE him!! Beckel will probably have a stroke or a heart attack on the show one day and they can just shove him off the stage and continue on.

  10. Avery_Arkansas says:

    One condition would be that the groupblog would adopt your style. Similar to how the headfirst books have the same style but different writers. If you join the 37signals blog where you put up highly visual articles, in a see of more textual posts, you will still stand out.

  11. Sarah_Delaware says:

    Kathy, the content you have graciously shared with us every once in a while is both inspiring and entertaining. And a blog is the perfect medium for this. A lot of the content is about your style and creative personality. Thus, I would rule out the community-based ideas. I would probably only read your stuff anyway.

    • teribelle says:

      Hi. I am putting this comment in there but I had taken her name out (Kathy) because I didnt know who she was. But I am happy she is forwarding the infomratoin on for you guys to read. So continue reading. Thanks for your support.

  12. Elizabeth_Colorado says:

    Is there a way use some sort of third party forum moderation to cut through this problem? Then you could go on in whatever way you are comfortable, your forums could coninue to buzz and anyone that’s up to no good would hit a brick wall (or get a call from their local authorities, as appropriate). It’s just a thought.

  13. Emily_Colorado says:

    Honestly said, I don’t think you can do anything to fend off the attacks. I don’t think you got attacked because of something you did, but because lots of people admire you and your work. That’s apparently enough for some people to hate you. Only by unpassionating your readers, can you hope to actually stop the haters. I hope you will reject that option.

  14. Ella_Iowa says:

    Just look at the difference just 20-30 rock solid Tea Party conservatives have made in the House already. They’ve turned “1/3 of the government” on its head and started a war between the establishment party and the Tea Party.

  15. Makayla_Tennessee says:

    I think that you’d probably do well in a consulting role where you are helping companies who want to improve in the area of creating passionate users (products and websites). Your knowledge of the field is shown well by your blogging, and maybe getting out in front of people will give you more of a reason to stay passionate about this subject area (if not the blog itself).

  16. Payton_Florida says:

    I hate to see us lose your input but I wonder if simply publishing articles with no comments enabled and having a members-only forum wouldn’t be a good compromise. There’s something about the immediacy of the response form and the lack of accountability available from anonymity (oh, hypocritical me) that seems to encourage people’s awfulness.

  17. Victoria_Montana says:

    I’m not sure what you have against “The Five”. I mean, four of the five panel members are on the right. The only creep is Bob Beckel. I admit, his creepiness makes the show a bit harder to handle. But Greg Gutfeld makes up for it! I LOVE him!! Beckel will probably have a stroke or a heart attack on the show one day and they can just shove him off the stage and continue on.

    • teribelle says:

      I dont watch the Five as I said. I don’t really have an answer to your question about the group. But if you are referring to peoples reactions to their commentary then maybe what they have against them is not so much that they believe they are uninformed, misinformed, illegitmate, unaware, unthinking, or just plain not taking into account all angles of a storyline they maybe that is what they have against them. I only watched a part of them during the Iowa caucus at the end. But one day I will if I have the chance ( I don’t watch really watch news right now) will watch and then weigh in on the conversation. But if from reading this article you think that its appripriate for the conversation your comment, then we will allow it.

  18. Lillian_Illinois says:

    Is there a way use some sort of third party forum moderation to cut through this problem? Then you could go on in whatever way you are comfortable, your forums could coninue to buzz and anyone that’s up to no good would hit a brick wall (or get a call from their local authorities, as appropriate). It’s just a thought.

    • teribelle says:

      We have approval in the blog here. Once a comment is approved they can comment on anything and it will show up the second time around. But I did have a comment policy at one point. I haven’t put it back up. It was very basic though. I don’t try and tell you what you can say but I do draw the line at some things that are said because it can be considered like a family blog meaning that any age can read and participate. But for the most part as long as you keep it virgin and allow for other people to have their opinion I don’t know that there isn’t many comments that you can’t allow. And hopefully none of you will prove me wrong. Chat ya laterz. gal.

  19. Ashley_Colorado says:

    I think that you’d probably do well in a consulting role where you are helping companies who want to improve in the area of creating passionate users (products and websites). Your knowledge of the field is shown well by your blogging, and maybe getting out in front of people will give you more of a reason to stay passionate about this subject area (if not the blog itself).

    • teribelle says:

      THanks for the compliment. I am not much for public speaking. However, you are the second person who mentioned this to me. I am still learning about the business of writing and publishing. But I will keep that in mind.

  20. Khloe_North_Carolina says:

    One condition would be that the groupblog would adopt your style. Similar to how the headfirst books have the same style but different writers. If you join the 37signals blog where you put up highly visual articles, in a see of more textual posts, you will still stand out.

    • teribelle says:

      I am unaware of the 37signals blog but will look it up. AS for your comment, I think that what you say is true. If you can put up articles that catch the eye (I am assuming that is what you mean by putting up highly visual articles) that you will increase your readership. However, I don’t know that you can do it with everything. It depends on the article. I think that some of the problems that I find here and in other blogs has to do with content and how much we are allowed to actually say about the other party. To avoid being charged with a crime if it is based on a person. But hoping for more articles that are well written and give you a picture. With the new blog idea, hoping to start it and give the ones who requested it a better chance at writing what they wanted.

  21. Makayla_Virginia says:

    I also really enjoy the idea of a group blog mostly because I’ve always been a fan of group blogs a la 37signals. It’s a different take on things that I tend to enjoy, getting to see different opinions, group dynamics, etc.

  22. teribelle says:

    Hi. i am just leaving this comment to let you know to the commenter that I watched the Five this morning early because I couldn’t sleep. Who could right? Anyway it seems like a good show for the most part. It is like a take on Mclagughlin and also Meet the Press and every other news show that has a panel of reporters discuss current news. So I don’t know that I have a problem with them per se but I do believe that I would have to watch them more to find that out.

  23. Anna_Hawaii says:

    That aside, I think that a multiple-contributor blog would give you support and provide some other perspectives. You could combine this with your ideas on coaching/ghostwriting and work with ‘intern’ contributors to hone their skills, see their work supplying your site, and give them the tools they need to take your philosophies and understanding out on their own tangents. It might give you a regular supply of fresh, new writers and keep things going while allowing you to step back a little. (If you did go with the intern idea, drop me a line, will you? *g*)

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