Bloggville is frozen solid with fear. Or should be.
Represented by superlawyer Charles Harder, Melania Trump was able to get court approval for the defamation lawsuit against blog Tarpley.net to move forward. In Montgomery County, Maryland, Circuit Court Judge Sharon Burrell gave that the okay. Here is the coverage in The Washington Post.
Blogger Webster G. Tarpley had picked up the internet gossip that Melania had been a high-paid escort in her homeland. When notified by Melania's representatives to take it down, he did.
Most would have assumed that was the end of it. After all, he positioned and packaged that material to supposedly be legally safe.
Now this. Tarpley is arguing his first amendment rights. But so did Nick Denton, former head of Gawker, in "Hulk Hogan v. Gawker." Denton lost in the courtroom.
When the Tarpley.net development became public, some of us bloggers immediately became more cautious. From "Hogan v. Gawker," we know the free speech argument was not bulletproof.
Not long ago, a global law firm contacted me. There was a wordy request to revise the headline and correct some of the content in a blog post about it. I deleted the whole thing. Then came another wordy email that it had not requested a deletion. I didn't reply.
The pragmatists among us bloggers cannot assume we will triumph in the court of law or even the court of public opinion about what we post. Denton was also vilified in public opinion for posting an online video of Hogan engaging in sex.
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