The so-called anonymously posted “history making lawsuit” WordPress blog claiming Ronald Federici has brought a lawsuit against me (even though to date, I have yet to be served with any papers, nor has anyone attempted to send me or serve me with papers or any of my colleagues named — leading me to see this as more of a trial by internet), reminds me of an amusing story Roger Callahan once told me. No, it was not about a lawsuit, but it is, in my opinion, an apt metaphor.
A 90 year old man went to his doctor and complained that he wasn’t able to have sex as often as he used to when he was younger. The doctor reassured him that this was normal and nothing to worry about.
The man replied: But doctor, my next door neighbor is 95 years old and he tells me he has sex everyday!
The doctor replied: You could say that too!
Indeed, with regard to the so-called “history making lawsuit” I could say that too. I could just as easily use my word processing skills to create “legal documents” (although I would do better homework on proper formatting) and put up a blog claiming I was suing these same parties and put them up on a “history making lawsuit” blog. Anyone could.
But hey, guess what? No service, no case and it has been a whole month since that “history making lawsuit” blog has been erected and no papers have been served on me, nor has anyone attempted to serve me with any papers (although lies have popped up claiming I refused service), nor have any of my colleagues named in the lawsuit had any papers served and I know for sure Ronald Federici knows how to reach them because he sued them in small claims court and lost. So far, no date set for the appeal for his losses, nor is there any evidence of a second lawsuit against them or a first one against me. One of the anonymous postings linking to the anonymous “history making lawsuit” blog suggested I would have a hard time explaining this in job interviews. Sounds like a malicious intention to me.
Again, I have to ask, who is being defamed here? I have repeatedly challenged Ronald Federici to name one specific statement I made that was factually false and so far, no response.
So yes, I could say that too. I could erect such a blog too, saying I am suing certain parties. WordPress’s policy is that they don’t remove false statements without court orders, so I could easily say that too. But I won’t, because my intention is to be completely truthful in the statements I make on my blogs and I do my very best to ensure that the factual statements I make are true. If anyone believes I have made a factually false statement on any of my blogs, I invite them to provide me with specifics and a rebuttal, but so far none have been forthcoming.
As a point of clarification, I actually agree with WordPress’ policy. Even though the blogs that make false statements about me are potentially harmful to my reputation, I also recognize that if they were able to remove blogs so easily, it would have chilling effects on legitimate rights to free speech for people who do, to the best of their ability, tell the truth and there is no reliable way for WordPress to tell the difference. The only practical way they can distinguish between the two is to require a court order, although the downside is that people such as myself who cannot afford to go running to a lawyer each time a false and potentially damaging statement is posted about me, are powerless to stop such lies from being posted. That, however, points to a flaw in our legal system since the law hasn’t caught up with all that is possible on the internet.
Thanks go to Roger Callahan for the metaphor. Even though I have no use for his Thought Field Therapy, this little story contains a lesson that is the most valuable thing he ever taught me.