Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

More On Deathmatch: Luskin Versus Atrios

So I had some extra time to think on my way to volleyball tonight (had a 10 minute detour around a road that splits a cornfield that often floods). I got to thinking about this whole letter from Luskin's lawyer calling Atrios' post libel.

As you see below, there seems to be a difference between traditional media and the samizdat publishing of the blog world. However, I'll note that the court decision cited in the Wired magazine article discusses republished material. In other words, if Atrios calls Luskin a stalker, and I quote Atrios, I'm cool.

It's unclear to me that Atrios is off the hook from a legal POV. That said, I do believe we have a different burden than Faux News. Why? Because as the article notes that we are merely engaging in free speech. Consider this a personal log, and oh by the way, you're welcome to read it. I guess we'll need a test case to see if the 9th Circuit ruling can be extended to cover original content.

This does make me wonder, though. If blogging becomes the real force for change and a bigger alternative to mainstream news outlets that people envision (color me optimistically skeptical), will we bloggers be taking on a mantle of greater responsibility for the truth? Or will we all get away with acting like Drudge? Should we be able to get away with saying anything?

Right now Atrios doesn't reach as many people as the Moonie Times, but some day he might. Then maybe he'll have the power to destroy somebody's reputation unfairly, and I would think he would need to be more careful about what he says. Unless, of course, it's clearly satirical as we saw in the whole fair and balanced Faux vs. Franken debacle.

Back to the present. Given what Luskin himself has said in the past (see Donald Luskin Greatest Hits at Eschaton), it would seem that one could label him a stalker of sorts, certainly in the spirit that Atrios used it. Regardless, I think it's clear to people who can read that Atrios was having fun with that rep, and even if his commenters got a little carried away, it's nowhere in the neighborhood of libel. And that 9th Circuit ruling does seem to give him cover, but still, it's murky to me. Maybe some of my more legal-minded readers can help. that rambled a bit. Hope it made sense.

Over and out,

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Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards

A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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