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October 30, 2003

Comments

Nathan Newman

While delinking may or may not be the right response to Luskin, it's not "stifling opinions"-- it's a form of free speech itself.

Using the coercive force of the state-- a lawsuit -- to strip someone of their anonymity and make them shut up is "stifling dissent."

I wouldn't equate them.

HH

Delinking is akin to a boycott. The day Drudge takes down his link to Bill O'Reilly (who went as far as to say Drudge should be killed) then I'll take Atrios' nonsense on that seriously.

HH

Damn... you said it better than I could in your update. Yes, the better comparison is Drudge/Blumenthal (and what if Atrios actually is Blumenthal?).

George

Your reference to the year-or-so-ago controversy involving Rittenhouse Review and Little Green Footballs has a certain resonance in terms of the current controversy beyond the point you were making. The gasbag that runs the RR currently has a post up on the atrios/Luskin matter, and he is all atwitter about conservatives that resort to bringing in the awful lawyers. I'm reminded of the nasty and verbose threats this same gasbag made about eighteen months ago to the lady that then ran a blog called, something like, Letter from Manhattan...a Diane (something, I think). He went on for thousands of words threatening to sue her for some comment she had made on her blog. What hypocrites these people become when it's their ox being gored.

Mithras

From the Salon link: "Matt Drudge ... wrote on Aug. 10 in his widely read Drudge Report that Blumenthal, a senior advisor to President Clinton, 'has a spousal abuse past that has been effectively covered up.' Drudge quoted one anonymous source as saying the story of Blumenthal's alleged wife-beating 'has been in circulation for years.' He quoted another unnamed source as saying that 'there are court records of Blumenthal's violence against his wife.'"

Those are specific allegations of fact about criminal actions. Atrios linked Luskin's site to the words "Diary of a Stalker" after NRO had run a Luskin article entitled "We Stalked. He Balked." If you are unable to distinguish the difference between the two situations, you have a problem.

TM

Mithras:

Oh, I have lots of problems, then. Blumenthal also sued after Drudge had retracted the article, which he did very quickly. Atrios seems to have admitted that he might exert editorial control over his commentrs, but has chosen not to.

And Luskin is basing his complaint on comments made in the post, not the post itself. I haven't read all the comments, but one fellow picked out his candidate for libel, and it was ceetainly offensive.

So, like most analogies, the Blumenthal example is not perfect. Rather than get hung up on the inevitable differences, I have picked upon what may be a few similarities - Drudge was an annoying political opponent of Blumenthal; Blumenthal initiated a lawsuit that was not given a lot of chance to succeed; lots of folks thought the goal was to silence Drudge; and, plenty of folks on the left had no problem with it.

Since legally, Blumenthal went nowhere, your objection seems to amount to, "Blumenthal had a good reason to be annoyed, and Luskin doesn't". Fine, thanks for sharing your opinion.

TM

Hey, Nathan, thanks for stopping by. As to "i wouldn't equate them", well, I am not sure I do - I object to both, but not equally. This lawsuit notion is clearly the less appropriate of the two ideas.

That said, on the general concept of individuals making free choices versus indivuduals enlisting the coercive power of the state, it depends on the situation. An angry mob of (uncoreced but concerned) people marching down the street to get me, or picketing my store, might, in some eyes, represent a triumph of empowerment and democracy. But I might call the cops anyway, and maybe I should.

Brad DeLong

>>Fortunately, there is always over-reach from the other side to bail us out of a jam. Atrios wants everyone to de-link Don Luskin. Soon enough, we predict this will evolve to "de-link anyone who links to Luskin", a la the Little Green Football/Rittenhouse Review laugh fest a while back.<<

How about linking to Luskin only when he has something intelligent and accurate to say? That would cut *way* down on the links to Luskin, after all...

:-)

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