Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Buggy Whip Manufactuers Call For New Curbs On Horseless Carriages

I’m not really qualified for this one. It really takes someone like DK to deal with this (and indeed he has). Still, I got to say, in so far as this speech encapsulates the moral and intellectual death spiral of the MSM, it is the best argument yet why blogs are needed.
Press Complaints Commission director Tim Toulmin said he opposed government regulation of the internet, saying it should a place "in which views bloom".

But unless there was a voluntary code of conduct there would be no form of redress for people angered at content, and there would be no excuse to later claim that the ‘voluntary option has failed’ and bring in restrictive laws.
Actually, I added that last bit myself.

Anyway, where are these country vicars unfairly vilified by blogs ? Just how many ‘innocent civilians’ have been victims of blogging ? 25 ? 10 ? 5? Fortunately, we already have laws in place to protect people who’ve been unfairly defamed and, yes, they apply whether or not that’s done in print, on the net or written in a snow drift. Let’s compare the number of successful libel cases against the MSM versus those against blogs, hmmmmm ?

Some might point out that defamation cases take years, and shed-loads of cash, to come to court. Well, OK, but it’s not like the MSM hasn’t benefited from that for years. It only became a problem when bloggers came on the scene.

Newspapers have a built-in advantage not available to Joe Public, hence the old lines about not arguing with people who buy newsprint by the barrel load. Doubtless, Whiny Tim would claim the Press Complaints Commission offers members of the public some protection – but does it really ? Members of the public wronged by the MSM have to submit a complaint to an MSM body,which will spend several months considering it before either dismissing totally or giving the newspaper in question a slap on the wrist

In contrast, everyone’s equal in the blogosphere. Even if the supposed injured parties – which no one can find – don’t blog themselves, and don’t know how comment boxes work, for every cat blogger, there’s a dog blogger ready to argue the toss. It’s a true market for opinion, with lies torn apart faster, and far more brutally, by fellow bloggers than the pencil-sucking insiders at the PCC have ever managed with the MSM.

But, of course, Whiny Tim isn’t really on about actual, provable defamation at all. He’s talking about people who are merely ‘angered by content’. Lest the point need driving home, look where he was speaking:
He spoke during a session on free speech at a London race conference.
…before retiring next door to the Annual Conference of Jewish Pig Farmers. This isn’t about Sussex scoutmasters being unfairly labelled paedophiles, it’s the MSM and the race hustlers prepping the ground for another witch hunt over ‘hate speech’. But that’s alright, because as Whiny Tim points out:
Mr Toulmin described the phrases "free speech" and "free press" as relative terms because views expressed on the internet are still governed by laws such as libel and data protection.
So, we need new laws because the net is too anarchic, but we shouldn’t worry about them because we already have laws covering the net. I’m glad we got that sorted.

It’d be tempting to ask Whiny Tim just how he thinks a law should be drafted to prevent people being ‘angered’, but that’s sort of the point. The category of ‘stuff that makes people angry' is so broad that almost anything's covered. Except, of course, that it’ll turn out like the Public Order Act which apparently bans handing out leaflets, but not calling for beheadings. But don’t expect the MSM to complain about all this. Just remember, it's the blogosphere that's untrustyworthy!

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