Libel, what constitutes - RCW 9.58.010

"Every malicious publication by writing, printing, picture, effigy, sign[,] radio broadcasting or which shall in any other manner transmit the human voice or reproduce the same from records or other appliances or means, which shall tend: --

     (1) To expose any living person to hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy, or to deprive him of the benefit of public confidence or social intercourse; or

     (2) To expose the memory of one deceased to hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy; or

     (3) To injure any person, corporation or association of persons in his or their business or occupation, shall be libel. Every person who publishes a libel shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor."

It seems as though an Olyblog member has taken exception to a sarcastic remark that I made in response to another member's blog about him and a certain execution of activities in a local media.  Personally, I think that this person is just stinging from a "trump card that was played" and is displaying the personal resentments for which he has been accused in the recent past.

Now, mind you, that this is a person that allows posts directed at a city councilperson to be published, calling for his jailing and gang rape.  Now he is going to throw threats of suits at me and this media.

Interestingly enough, a supervisor of this person, was once childed by his consumers for allowing a cartoonist to submit and publish a picture of an Arabic man driving a truckload of explosives with the caption - "What would Mohammed do?".  As you can imagine, the enraged the Muslim consumers in the market area.  The supervisor stood behind the cartoonist, defending his right to satire, regardless of how many people were angered.

I'm sensitive to the needs of Olyblog and the desire for it to not enter into a legal battle that would encumber it.  This smells of "green mail" and I'd like the members of the community to comment on what they would like to see done.  One of the docents has given me the idea that he would like to delete the statement in question.  If this is the desire of the community, I will abide.  Community first, Larry second.

I will leave you with this thought.  I see this as a beginning of an attempt to censor Olyblog.  I have legal representation and would be willing to take this to the bitter end, but I want no problems for Olyblog.

Let me know your thoughts.

 

Comments

Sometimes

Larry, I'll try to put myself in your shoes for a moment and then describe what I hope I personally would do, some of my own thought process.

Sometimes I have to admit that I don't know what is going on, I don't know what motivates other people, that I truly cannot read minds. If I get feedback that I am out of line in some area, I could choose to accept the possibility that the correction needs to be made. Maybe I can pick apart their reasons but I could instead decide to live and let live. For me personally, shit happens, life isn't fair, and maybe I can go along to get along.

Maybe for me every possible fight isn't a fight that needs to be fought. In fact maybe I can take a breath and notice that my blood pressure is up lately and everything seems to look intensely in need of my combat readiness. And then maybe I can decide that it is time to focus on something else in my life, like my stress level, rather than fighting over whatever.

Maybe the object of my displeasure is a human being with human failings and I decide that I don't have to be the demi-god to take their inventory. Maybe I can trust that life happens, I don't need to push the river it will flow by itself.

But maybe after I've evaluated my own personal stress level, after I've taken in what observers say, maybe I do decide that I want to participate in this drama that I see unfolding. I'm in a "bring it on" mode. Hopefully I would be able to take the drama elsewhere, I'd accept personal responsibility and take it outside.

 

Thanks, Sarah

 If I understand you, your response is to delete the post in question and that if I want to continue to pursue this, to do it outside Olyblog.

Did I understand you correctly?

"There is only one race, the human race" - The Neville Brothers

The Anonymous ThurstonBlogger

Yeah

Yeah. That is what I hope I would do in your situation.

And if I come at this in say a bouncer at a bar stance, I'd be telling you that I know you might very well have a beef, but to take it outside.

I'll msg you in a moment, need java first.

 

It's unanimous among the docents...

...that you should change or delete the potentially libelous part of the comment. I don't think this is an unreasonable request (or or the onset of censorship on OlyBlog).


When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. -C.P. Snow

Beware the terrible simplifiers.
Jacob Burckhardt

Rick, I must follow the docents

I agreed from the onset of my membership with Olyblog, to accept the docents decisions.

Although I disagree and KNOW that this IS censorship, you must do what you must do. 

Delete the post when you desire.

 "There is only one race, the human race" - The Neville Brothers

The Anonymous ThurstonBlogger

Thanks, Larry.

I appreciate your help on this. I just changed the contested part of the comment.

Being responsive to a complaint isn't censorship, it's just being a good neighbor.


When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. -C.P. Snow

Beware the terrible simplifiers.
Jacob Burckhardt

Thank you

Thanks Larry.

Just a thought

 "(2) To expose the memory of one deceased to hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy"

This brings back memories of some of the comments made about two recent suicides in our community.  The local online news published the comments.

"There is only one race, the human race" - The Neville Brothers

The Anonymous ThurstonBlogger

I think quite a few folks on

I think quite a few folks on the blog could be accused of libel toward jerry falwell.

Agreed, Norm, and probably others...

 And the primary difference being "what is accusation" and "what is guilt".

Libel is a thin line and there has to be a maliciousness and attempt to purposefully deface and cause injury. Satire plays a big part in this also.

"There is only one race, the human race" - The Neville Brothers

The Anonymous ThurstonBlogger

Unbelievable.The amount of

Unbelievable.

The amount of hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy that man allows on his website, even when complaints are sent to him, is Mt. Everest compared to the single grain of dirt your one comment was.

Kevin Storman, Sierra Shoopman, TJ Johnson, Meta Hogan, Phil Owen, Rob Richards, Patty Murray, Christine Gregoire, Dick Cheney, George Bush, and the surviving family of Sadaam Hussein should threaten to sue the Olympian for libel. Especially for obloquy.

Libel is not a one way street.

 Thanks, Mary.

False accusation is as much libel as any sarcasm

"There is only one race, the human race" - The Neville Brothers

The Anonymous ThurstonBlogger

However...

RCW 9.58.020
How justified or excused — Malice, when presumed.

Every publication having the tendency or effect mentioned in RCW 9.58.010 shall be deemed malicious unless justified or excused. Such publication is justified whenever the matter charged as libelous charges the commission of a crime, is a true and fair statement, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends. It is excused when honestly made in belief of its truth and fairness and upon reasonable grounds for such belief, and consists of fair comments upon the conduct of any person in respect of public affairs, made after a fair and impartial investigation.

This isn't against the Docents. I wouldn't want to willingly put Rick in a potential legal matter against his will.

Additionally, Mary

 Sarcasm and satire are excluded, otherwise political cartoonists and pundits would be out of business.

Should Bill Mahr make the statement "I saw George Bush rob John Smith" he could be held libel.  If his statement was "I wonder if George Bush enjoys robbing the US Treasury", that would probably not be libel.

If someone said "Larry Hill is harassing me" and can't support that statement, that could be libel.  If they were to instead say "Larry Hill sure seems like a harasser" that would be speculation and probably not libel.

Content and intent are critical.

"There is only one race, the human race" - The Neville Brothers

The Anonymous ThurstonBlogger

OH....and a local perspective...

"But Miller said he defends Marlette's "right to ridicule anyone."

"This is an honored American tradition," the editor said. "Granted, good comedy like his often depends on exaggerations. But he does have some fair basis for satire in this case."

The quotee?  John Winn Miller, Publisher of The Olympian, when he was formerly with a newspaper in Florida.

A pretty good source on satire.

"There is only one race, the human race" - The Neville Brothers

The Anonymous ThurstonBlogger

An interesting test case -

 From a reader comment in The Olympian on a story about domestic violence where a woman was killed:

Finally Ck...I'm sincerely sorry my cat tipped over the jar your testicles were stored in, but not half as sorry as I am that the neighbor's dog was nearby. Good thing you never had a use for them in the first place.
Andy | 09.11.07 - 7:30 pm

Now the libel question becomes "Did Andy truly accuse Ck of being without testicles or was this just sarcasm?"

Either way, it's a pretty poor post to be allowed in a thread about a woman's death, but it's probably protected as satire.

"There is only one race, the human race" - The Neville Brothers

The Anonymous ThurstonBlogger