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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Case and a Half of Libel

I was told about 19 years ago, that new AA groups were formed from resentments. I found this to be an odd statement until I witnessed an activity at a business meeting of a group that I attended.

There were disputes over the business operation of this group and how it ran in accordance to the Traditions. The "trusted servants" of the group decided that rather than listen to the group conscious, they would close the facility. Normally this would leave many people without a place to go for meetings, but a gentleman had been running an alano club close by and within minutes the people had moved next door and a new group started.

I didn't know anything about my ability to create my own blog until my request was ignored to have some libelous comments removed from the docents log on Olyblog. My personal opinion is that my request was denied for purposes of running me off as I'm not one of the popular kids on Olyblog. There is a lot of lip service paid there about being an alternative to corporate media, but frankly it's hogwash, according to this journalist. In the past few weeks, it has become as self serving as any corporate media I've seen, masquerading as "community run" when it reality it seems that the docents are becoming lackies to the founder, according to my opinion of recent decisions and actions.

It seems that a certain whiner that has been webmaster for a local newspaper has taken a hightened interest in Olyblog. His profile shows several months of membership but I've only noticed his presence in the past few weeks of the three months I've been a member (WOW....he was on there off and on all day, yesterday....probably enjoying the fruits of his labor). This person took exception to my comment on a blog about his activities. For all you adults, the euphamism for this statement was "get his rocks off", i.e. "it appears he gets his rocks off using his authority". Rather than the euphamism, I used the words "sexual gratification", as I thought it was more tasteful. In either case, I suggesting that an adult reader is not taking this as I am claiming first person witness to said event (in other words, I didn't say I saw him get his rocks off using his authority), and thus, this would be sarcasm.

Almost a month later, along comes the Whining Webmaster, claiming a violation of libel laws. Before I go further, I need to share that when I was blogging under the Iron Fist of the Whining Webmaster, there were daily allowances of posts by fine commenters that suggested the gang rape of city officials, disparaging posts about the homeless and homosexuals in the community and one poster in particular seemed facinated by, as he called them, my "stones" (as well as other playground names for testicles). Of course these posts were allowed, but...I digress.

Initially, when advised by the founder and one docent, I said I would seek legal advise and get back with them. I was then pressured to edit the post, saying that there was a unanimous decision rendered for this (no track on the docents log at this point). I said, OK for the good of the Olyblog community.

Much later in the day, up comes the docent log with a complete copy of the Whining Webmaster's complaint, complete with accusations of me performing a "continual harassment of him for months". Needless to say, nothing is further from the truth and now the libel point shifts 180 degrees. Oh but wait.....when requesting the docents to edit the complaint and the content that smears me, I'm now told that "it doesn't effect Olyblog". So, if I understand this correctly, Olyblog can be the conduit for me libeling the Whiny Webmaster but the same media isn't responsible for carrying his libel of me. By the way, check the laws on libel. There is a big difference between sarcasm and false accusation.

So, I'm now faced with the decision to take legal action or ignore it and leave a lasting legacy in the Olyblog archives that I've been "harassing" someone for months. Neither choice is a fun one, as I've enjoyed some of the relationships that I've gained in a few months on Olyblog. I did offer mediation and direct contact with the Victimized Victor, but was refused on both requests.

I trust that those that know me and have spoken personally to me, know better. Those that want to know more, will ask (I've got a file of emails that I'd share with anyone). The rest will be content in falsehoods, half truths, inuendo and gossip. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. I'm working on the wisdom part, deciding what I can and can't change.

One thing I can change is me. Thus, Thurstonblog. Everything has to have a beginning and this one is now. I'll try to mix this up a bit. After 20 years around media, that is one of my writing passions. Music is another. I work in community service, thus one more passion. Did I mention golf? I can probably write better that I golf, so maybe that will be the therapy for my game.

Please comment freely. If I don't like your comment, I'll probably just respond in kind. I want to avoid deletion and editing, so please don't put me in a position to have to do such. My wife's legal background won't allow me to get sued.

Oh more thing. I love Olympia, but I live in Thurston County. I'll be reaching for more coverage of issues and politics that take place outside Olympia. I'm sure I'll have no complaints there.