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Oh this should get some folks blood a pumping.

An Oregon Federal judge upheld a $2.5m judgement against a blogger who defamed a jerk on her blog. Seems only journalists can say nasty stuff and get away with it. Report says there is $47m in outstanding judgements against bloggers this year for making junk up about others.

I wonder if I can sue some of the folks who have claimed I don't have a heart.:D
 

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The Judge is right, To be a journalist you have to be a person.

We're not sure what Bloggers are but we're subjecting Lefty to extensive tests to find out, We've ruled out vegetable but failed to achieve consensus on animal vs mineral.

:p
 
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Come on guys, is this all you got?

I felt for sure those amongst you who follow these things would be up in arms.
 

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Well it was either true in which case the blogger should prove it, or it wasn't in which case it's libel whether they're a blogger, journo, or the pope.

Unless it comes under the heading of "fair comment", but since I don't know what was actually said I couldn't say...
 
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Okay, my take is that journalists are those who work for a media source that claims to report the truth and never have to reveal their source or prove their claims.

Bloggers set at home or some ones else's work place and report the news as they see fit. They really have to have real sources to do quotes from but don't know anybody.
Journalists can say you beat your kid and use an unnamed source. When you are confronted by some one asking if you really did beat your kids, no matter what the truth is an unnamed source said you did so your guilty.

A blogger sees you pat the kid on the head after a great catch or first bike ride. Says they saw you beating the kid. They have to prove you were beating the child whilst the journalists doesn't have to prove anything. Sounds simple to me and Lefty is a mineral.
 

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Really depends on the situation. Was the blog about a public figure or did he/she say something akin to his neighbor has sexual relations with livestock.
 

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If you take the journalist/meida source to court they have to prove the claim.

Or they have to retract the claim and pay compensation.

At least they do over here and I always though they did over there too.

Plus it's not enough that someone said something they are supposed to get further evidence before even printing that something is "alleged"
 

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Here's how the decision falls apart in my mind. 1) If a blogger is not a journalist and 2) if an individual sues a blogger for defamation of character and 3) if the amount of the suit is equal to what a journalist or newspaper would be subject to 4) then the blogger is a journalist. Otherwise the protection of writing as a 'regular Joe' should extend to the blogger.
 

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I have no knowledge of the topic, but I would assume a journalist has some sort of credentials which he has to obtain, like press passes, or employment at a news outlet, or some sort of hazing ritual that involves sheep? I think the key here is the definition of a journalist, and the difference between a journalist and a blogger. A blogger is anyone who wastes their time typing their thoughts into the blogosphere, much like all of us. A journalist is someone who has made it their profession to gather the news and deliver it to us through channels that have been accepted over time as "news outlets". The idea that we have freedom of the press is to protect these people from repercussions from the law for doing their job. If I were to go out and get a trenchcoat and a fedora with a 3 X 5 card in the hatband that said "Press" would that make me a journalist? I think not. Some journalists are bloggers, but not all bloggers are journalists. If I were to type something here that was offensive, or a personal attack against another member, I should be held accountable. Say for a minute that the moderators were asleep at the switch, and I posted a really nasty monologue about how one member beats his wife and I use his real name. Say the post stays up for a long enough period of time for it to be reasonably assumed that every member of the RAT forum has read it. Am I a journalist? Or am I just a blogger.
 

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I don't really see that it matters whether an author is a "journalist" or a regular person, the law of libel and slander should apply in either case.

I can see that a journalist might be able to demonstrate that "he tried harder" to verify his stuff than the mere mortal but, other than that, nothing changes.

If I write harmful untruths about someone else, that person should have good grounds in law to seek compensation from me. The extent of the compensation would depend on things like how much harm was done and how negligent or malicious I was.
 

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I don't really see that it matters whether an author is a "journalist" or a regular person, the law of libel and slander should apply in either case.

I can see that a journalist might be able to demonstrate that "he tried harder" to verify his stuff than the mere mortal but, other than that, nothing changes.

If I write harmful untruths about someone else, that person should have good grounds in law to seek compensation from me. The extent of the compensation would depend on things like how much harm was done and how negligent or malicious I was.
I agree for the most part, but let's put it into context with the recent Presidential primary race here in the US. Herman Cain was the GOP front-runner until a flurry of women came out of the wood-work accusing him of sexual harassment. Not one of them had any hard evidence except for he-said, she-said. It destroyed his candidacy. Shouldn't the burden of proof be on the women making these accusations? Should they be held to account if they are making it up? Is there any way to prove it either way? Regardless, the outcome was that Herman Cain was forced to drop out, and his name is forever tarnished. Should he have recourse? Will he ever get his day in court? (not trying to make this a political thread, just using it as a tool for discussion)
 

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Yes of course Herman Cain should be able to sue the women. The problem is that the law courts can only ever provide "remedies", they can't undo the damage. That's life.
 

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Here's how the decision falls apart in my mind. 1) If a blogger is not a journalist and 2) if an individual sues a blogger for defamation of character and 3) if the amount of the suit is equal to what a journalist or newspaper would be subject to 4) then the blogger is a journalist. Otherwise the protection of writing as a 'regular Joe' should extend to the blogger.
I would have thought the amount sued for would be related to the amount of damage done, so a blogger would fall somewhere between a regular joe and a newspaper given that they could be expected to reach an audience somewhere between the two?
 

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At first glance, I don't think being called a journolist would have helped her. She alleged financial fraud was committed by someone, then refused to document it claiming "privileged sources". I think a "real" journalist would have to document claims.
 

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I agree with saph, the law should be applied fairly to everyone. However, I diverge because fair is a strange word implying equality.

The central slander issue between a journalist and a blogger implies equal understanding of the law and equal enforcement of same. Newspapers have policies to govern all aspects of the business. Policies are shaped by legal precedent and what the community will accept. For a journalist working in a news environment the policies of the organization serve as safeguards.

A blogger sitting at a keyboard is under no such constraints. Said blogger has neither an overarching structure of governance nor an underpinning structure of support. That is far from a level playing field.

Should the words be the only acceptable evidence? Seems simple enough to judge. Then again, a news organization will have lawyers on retainer and an ivory tower to take some of the heat away from the offending journalist, a blogger is on his/her own.

Without consistency of policy and enforcement, the judgement is simply an opinion with juice. The judge in the the case had to base the decision on precedent or a test of some kind. My guess is the blogger was blatantly in the wrong and her comments could not be ignored.

The moral: Let's be excellent to each other fellow babies!
 

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I agree, bloggers are not journalists. Bloggers only have to hop on the Internet and start spewing forth their opinion.

Journalists have to go to school, get a crummy job with low pay, work obscene hours, chase sources around and around and around, get cursed at, and then furiously file their copy under an ever-looming deadline. Then, once all the work is done, the editor comes over and rips your story to shreds, leaving you to start all over again.
 

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There are journalists who should be bloggers. Take it how you like ;)
 

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The laws of libel still apply whether you are a journalist or whatever. Making on-line comments for instance to a newspaper in response to their news question is pre-cleared by the editor for libel, yours plus theirs.
 
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