I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Legal arguments for a "fairness doctrine" for blogs

This post is a long one, so I decided to make a table of contents:

1) Introduction

2) First Amendment requires fairness doctrine for blogs

3) The phony "privacy" argument

4) Unwanted blog comments have a very low nuisance level

5) The FCC fairness doctrine and Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC

6) Reno v. ACLU is about Internet obscenity, does not apply

7) 47 USC §230, "Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material," does not apply to censorship of inoffensive material

8) Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo (1974) is about newspapers, does not apply and is worthless crap anyway

9) Open challenge to a debate about a fairness doctrine for blogs

Larry Fafarman
Founder, Association of Non-Censoring Bloggers

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1) Introduction

To me, the term "fairness doctrine" -- originally used by the FCC -- means a requirement that publicly accessible sources of information -- e.g., TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and blogs and other websites -- make reasonable efforts to give all views a fair opportunity to be heard. On blogs, this means no arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments.

I have already argued ad nauseam on this blog in favor of a "fairness doctrine" for blogs (and remarkably, I even have some new arguments to make here). In summary, the reasons for such a fairness doctrine are as follows:
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(1) The more popular blogs have become major de facto public forums. Nowhere does the First Amendment say that bloggers on the more popular blogs are more equal than others in regard to the right to influence public opinion.

(2) Blogs are being authoritatively cited by court opinions, scholarly journal articles, official news services, and other authorities. Blogs which lack reliability and fairness because of arbitrary censorship of comments should not be authoritatively cited.

(3) The unlimited comment space on blogs means that there is no need to pick and choose comments for posting. This is discussed further in the next section on the First Amendment.

I have also proposed a fairness-doctrine exemption for blogs that have a prominently posted "freedom-of-speech disclaimer" notice stating that comments are subject to arbitrary censorship (I feel that this exception is needed because the sole purpose of some blogs is to promote or advertise a political candidate, commercial product, etc.).

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2) First Amendment requires fairness doctrine for blogs

The First Amendment actually contains two freedom-of-expression clauses: (1) a "freedom-of-speech" right for individuals and (2) a "freedom-of-the-press" right for the media (though blogs often just represent individuals, blogs are often classified as belonging to the "media" for purposes of the First Amendment). I assert that there must be a truly compelling reason to infringe on one of these two rights for the purpose of protecting the other, and that such a compelling reason does not exist in the case of blogs because the unlimited space for visitors' comments means that there is no need to pick and choose visitors' comments for posting. In fact, according to the Darwinists' argument that the establishment clause is the most important clause in the Bill of Rights because it appears first, the freedom-of-speech clause should have priority over the freedom-of-the-press clause because the former clause precedes the latter. The same kind of constitutional pecking-order argument has been made about the 2nd Amendment. However, I feel that the order of appearance of amendments and clauses in the Bill or Rights has nothing to do with their relative importance.

Also, I feel that a fairness-doctrine exemption for bloggers who prominently post the above-described "freedom-of-speech disclaimer" would provide protection for bloggers who want to be allowed to arbitrarily censor comments.

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3) The phony "privacy" argument

Opponents of a "fairness doctrine" for blogs hocus-pocus that the blogs of BVD-clad bloggers are "private" and therefore immune from government regulation. But these same folks see nothing wrong with the idea of the government giving these "private" BVD-clad bloggers special protections and privileges, e.g., (1) immunity from liability for material left on their blogs by visitors, even when the bloggers are aware of the material, and (2) the "reporter's privilege," i.e., the right to keep their sources secret. There are already several laws governing blogs -- a "fairness doctrine" would just be another law.

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4) Unwanted blog comments have a very low nuisance level

One relevant factor that I have not yet considered on this blog is the nuisance-level issue for unwanted communications. For example, unwanted telemarketing phone calls are obviously a big nuisance. The government therefore created a National Do Not Call Registry for those who do not want to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls. But there is no National Do Not Send Registry for postal junk mail because this mail has a low nuisance level and because it would be too much trouble for the post office to sort out the junk mail. And blog comments -- unless they are intended to harass -- have a very low nuisance level; they are silent and do not have to be read or answered by the blogger. So the very low nuisance level of blog comments is another very strong argument in favor of a fairness doctrine for blogs.

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5) The FCC fairness doctrine and Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC

The now-dormant FCC fairness doctrine for broadcasters was upheld by the Supreme Court in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC (1969). A webpage of "Exploring Constitutional Conflicts" says,

. . .Red Lion Broadcasting v Federal Communications Commission . . . considers the constitutionality of a FCC rule requiring broadcasters to notify individuals who have been personally attacked in their programming, and to offer the attacked individual a chance to respond over the airwaves. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the FCC rule, concluding that scarcity of available spectrum space justified regulating broadcasting to ensure a diversity of voices.

It appears that opposition to a "fairness doctrine" for the Internet is largely based on the following three authorities: (1) Reno v. ACLU (1997), (2) 47 USC §230, and (3) Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo (1974). I will show here that each of these three authorities is inapposite.

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6) Reno v. ACLU doesn't apply

The webpage of "Exploring Constitutional Conflicts" says,

In Reno v ACLU (1997), the Court considers what level of scrutiny should apply to content regulation of the Internet. The Court decides the the (sic) medium deserves the highest level of First Amendment protection, noting that anyone and everyone can develop a website--the scarcity rationale of Red Lion for greater regulation therefore has no application.

For the following reasons, I assert that the above statements do not apply to arbitrary censorship of comments on blogs:

(1) Reno v. ACLU is about censorship of Internet obscenity and not about arbitrary censorship of inoffensive comments on the Internet.

(2) The term "First Amendment protection" above refers only to freedom of the press and ignores freedom of speech.

(3) The term "scarcity rationale" above refers only to the issue of scarcity of "sites" ("sites" being radio and TV stations, websites, etc.) and ignores the very important issue of the scarcity of comment space per site. The latter issue was not an issue in Reno v. ACLU. As I noted above, the absence of scarcity of comment space on blogs means that there is no need to pick and choose comments for posting.

So although Reno v. ACLU is about censorship on the Internet, application of this precedent to the issue of arbitrary censorship of blog visitors' comments is grossly out of context. Pettifoggers just love to make blind, grossly out-of-context applications of precedents.

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7) 47 USC §230, "Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material," does not apply to censorship of inoffensive material

The very title of this law, "Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material", implies that this law does not apply to arbitrary censorship of inoffensive comments. A reading of this law shows that this law in fact does not apply to arbitrary censorship of inoffensive comments. The law gives bloggers two protections: (1) immunity from liability for visitors' comments and (2) immunity from liability for censorship of offensive visitors' comments. The statement of the first of these protections, 47 USC §230 (c)(1) says (for definitions of terms, see the law),

(1) Treatment of publisher or speaker
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

Actually, contrary to the law's title, "Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material," the above provision provides immunity from liability for failure to block, screen, or delete offensive and/or illegal material.

BTW, the above provision actually has the effect of encouraging bloggers to not censor visitors' offensive or even illegal comments because this provision immunizes the blogger from liability for visitors' comments that the blogger does not censor!

The law's section containing the second of these protections is,

(2) Civil liability
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—
(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected

(B) any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1). (footnote: So in original. Probably should be “subparagraph (A)”)

Paragraph (A) above is the one that applies to bloggers. As for the term "otherwise objectionable," in the present context it would be stretching things to interpret this term as including any comment that a blogger disagrees with. BTW, as for the statement, "whether or not such material is constitutionally protected," IMO Congress has no power to create an exception to a constitutional protection. IMO the freedom-of-speech clause would protect an obscene comment that has some "redeeming" value, but would not protect an obscene comment that has no redeeming value. Anyway, the bottom line is that 47 USC §230 offers no protection from liability for censorship of inoffensive comments, e.g., censorship of a person's inoffensive rebuttal to a blog's defamatory statement about that person. So this means I could sue Fatheaded Ed Brayton and Sleazy PZ Myers for refusing to post my rebuttals to defamatory statements that they make about me on their blogs. Furthermore, 47 USC §230 is just a law and not a constitutional protection, and therefore is subject to legislative change.

Paragraph (B) applies to Internet Service Providers, blog services, etc.. What this paragraph says is that an ISP, blog service, etc. cannot be sued for giving "information content providers" -- e.g., bloggers -- the ability to delete or block comments. That's nice to know.

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8) Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo (1974) doesn't apply and is worthless crap anyway

In this decision, the Supreme Court struck down Florida's "right of reply" statute that granted a political candidate a right to equal space to answer criticism and attacks on his record by a newspaper. I assert that this precedent does not apply to arbitrary censorship of blog comments because comment space on blogs is unlimited whereas comment space in newspapers is limited. And not only does this decision not apply directly to blogs, but it is also a worthless piece of crap. For starters, this decision says,

It is correct, as appellee contends, that a newspaper is not subject to the finite technological limitations of time that confront a broadcaster, but it is not correct to say that, as an economic reality, a newspaper can proceed to infinite expansion of its column space to accommodate the replies that a government agency determines or a statute commands the readers should have available. (pages 256-257) (emphasis added)

However, there was nothing in the Florida "right to reply" law that required an "infinite expansion" of a newspaper's column space -- this law strictly limited the length of replies, as follows:

The reply must appear in as conspicuous a place and in the same kind of type as the charges which prompted the reply, provided it does not take up more space than the charges. (page 244) (emphasis added)

Also, the "right to reply" law was absurdly compared to censorship:

The Circuit Court concluded that dictating what a newspaper must print was no different from dictating what it must not print. The Circuit Judge viewed the statute's vagueness as serving "to restrict and stifle protected expression." (page 245)

The Florida statute operates as a command in the same sense as a statute or regulation forbidding appellant to publish specified matter. (page 256)

If Florida's "right to reply" law is comparable to censorship, then the FCC "fairness doctrine" that was upheld in the Red Lion case is also comparable to censorship.

The Exploring Constitutional Conflicts webpage says,

It is interesting to contrast Red Lion with the Court's decision in Miami Herald v Tornillo, just five years later. . . . Despite the similarity of the question to that presented in Red Lion -- and the fact that Red Lion was the case most discussed in briefs for both parties -- the Court never even so much as mentioned Red Lion in a footnote! (emphasis added)

The relationship between Red Lion and Miami Herald is also discussed here.

The court even ignored its own highly applicable citations of precedents and other authorities, e.g.,

Proponents of enforced access to the press take comfort from language in several of this Court's decisions which suggests that the First Amendment acts as a sword as well as a shield, that it imposes obligations on the owners of the press in addition to protecting the press from government regulation. In Associated Press v. United States, 326 U.S. 1, 20 (1945), the Court, in rejecting the argument that the press is immune from the antitrust laws by virtue of the First Amendment, stated:

. . . Surely a command that the government itself shall not impede the free flow of ideas does not afford nongovernmental combinations a refuge if they impose restraints upon that constitutionally guaranteed freedom. Freedom to publish means freedom for all and not for some . . . (pages 251-252)

The approximately 30 bloggers on the Panda's Thumb blog constitute a "nongovernmental combination" that has conspired to impose restraints on others' freedom of speech.

It is noteworthy that although the US Supreme Court voted 9-0 against the "right to reply" law, the Florida Supreme court voted 8-1 to uphold this law! The citation for the Florida Supreme Court opinion is Tornillo v. Miami Herald Publishing Co., 287 So. 2d 78 (Fla., 1978) (per curiam, 8-1)

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9) Open challenge to a debate about a fairness doctrine for blogs

I am going to issue an open challenge over the Internet to a debate about a fairness doctrine for blogs. I will take all comers -- attorneys, law professors, judges, paralegals, legal secretaries, amateurs, BVD-clad bloggers, etc.. Pettifoggers are especially welcome! We can have the debate on my blog or on another blog. If this challenge is not answered within a reasonable time, I will declare victory by default.
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32 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> To me, the term "fairness doctrine" -- originally used by the FCC -- means a requirement that publicly accessible sources of information -- e.g., TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and blogs and other websites <

To those of us on Earth, only TV and radio which are using limited resources are involved.

> I have already argued ad nauseam on this blog <

Yes. It is getting nauseating.

> (1) The more popular blogs have become major de facto public forums. <

No. They are private forums.

> Nowhere does the First Amendment say... <

... anything about blogs, nor does it imply such. You have a right to free speech on your own blog. You do not have a right to post on the blogs of others. That is simply up to them.

> 2) First Amendment requires fairness doctrine for blogs <

It requires nothing of blogs. They are not public media and anyone is free to have their own blog. You can say whatever you want on your own blog.

> provide protection for bloggers who want to be allowed to arbitrarily censor comments. <

They need no protection. They can censor anything they want. You have no standing in this anyway since you have not been arbitrarily censored. You have been censored for cause.

> 3) The phony "privacy" argument <

You are trying to use a phony public argument.

> blog comments -- unless they are intended to harass -- have a very low nuisance level <

You believe that any post that shoots down your absurd arguments is intended to harass.

> The now-dormant FCC fairness doctrine for broadcasters was upheld by the Supreme Court in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC (1969), and this application of the fairness doctrine to broadcasters has never been repealed. <

A moot point since it is not applicable here.

> The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the FCC rule, concluding that scarcity of available spectrum space justified regulating broadcasting to ensure a diversity of voices. <

This is exactly the point. There is not a scarcity of avilable spectrum space on the Internet. That is why the rule obviously does not apply to blogs.

> Pettifoggers just love to make blind, grossly out-of-context applications of precedents. <

Confession is good for the soul. I hope you feel better now.

> The approximately 30 bloggers on the Panda's Thumb blog constitute a "nongovernmental combination" that has conspired to impose restraints on others' freedom of speech. <

How absurd. They have done nothing to limit anyone's freedom of speech. You may say anything you want on your own blog.

> It is noteworthy that although the US Supreme Court voted 9-0 against the "right to reply" law, the Florida Supreme court voted 8-1 to uphold this law! <

The Florida Supreme Court is notorious for making politically charged decisions for special interest groups.

> I am going to issue an open challenge over the Internet to a debate about a fairness doctrine for blogs. <

You have been debating this for some time on this blog. You have lost every single argument. No matter how many people you invite in, it is unlikely that you will be able to find anyone you can beat in a debate. I am sure that you will declare victory anyway.

You are continuing to beat on the bars of your cage and delare yourself to be Napoleon Bonaparte.

Monday, May 21, 2007 5:29:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

So far, only ViW has answered the challenge, so I will have to respond to him.

>>>>> To those of us on Earth, only TV and radio which are using limited resources are involved. <<<<<<

The issue in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, which was a challenge to the fairness doctrine, was the limitation on the number of sites, i.e., broadcast channels. That has nothing to do with blogs, where there are no limits on both the number of sites and the amount of comment space per site. On blogs, because there is no limit on comment space per site, accepting all views is possible and imposes no burden on the blogger -- hence, there is no truly compelling need to deny freedom of expression to blog visitors. The cardinal rule is that constitutional protections may be denied only for truly compelling reasons.

An additional argument for a "fairness doctrine" for blogs is that fairness on blogs can be complete whereas fairness cannot be complete in broadcasting because of a limit in the number of views that can be presented.

>>>>>> (1) The more popular blogs have become major de facto public forums. <

No. They are private forums. <<<<<<

That is what Red Lion Broadcasting Co. thought: "we are a private broadcaster and we'll do what we want to here." But the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled against them.

Also, many bloggers want their blogs to be considered "private" and "personal" for some purposes but not for others. For example, they want the "reporter's privilege" but complain that a "fairness doctrine" would violate their constitutional rights. These bloggers need to either poop or get off the can -- which is it, private and personal or not?

>>>>>> It requires nothing of blogs. They are not public media and anyone is free to have their own blog. <<<<<<

Starting your own blog is not an adequate remedy for being censored on a blog. For one thing, it takes time to create a blog and build up readership. And the more popular blogs have much greater influence on public opinion than the little blogs. Many of the very popular blogs are popular because they got an early start in blogging and in many cases these very popular blogs have pre-empted the field because many blog readers have already established their blog visiting habits. I don't see many new blogs now that become instantly popular. Many bloggers on the more popular blogs are trying to play "King of the Hill" by preventing blogosphere newcomers from expressing themselves on those blogs. Some bloggers have formed multiblogger blogs to increase traffic. There is nothing in the First Amendment that says that the bloggers on the more popular blogs are more equal than others in regard to the right to influence public opinion. Also, this idea that the solution to blog comment censorship is for the censorees to start their own blogs has probably contributed to a glut of blogs in the blogosphere -- probably many people would not have their own blogs if they had complete freedom to express themselves in other blogs. Your proposal is a complete non-solution.

Also, I have proposed a solution for bloggers who want to arbitrarily censor comments -- just post a prominent "freedom-of-speech disclaimer" notice stating that comments are subject to arbitrary censorship. The disclaimer might say, "Comments here are subject to censorship solely on the basis that the blogger dislikes the comment and/or the commenter (or suspected commenter)." That way, no one will be fooled into believing that the blog is open to all views. You wouldn't believe how many people still think that Panda's Thumb doesn't practice arbitrary censorship of comments. But I don't think that there are any regular PT readers who really believe that PT does not arbitrarily censor comments.

>>>>>> provide protection for bloggers who want to be allowed to arbitrarily censor comments. <

They need no protection. <<<<<<

They have protection right now -- 47 USC §230 gives them immunity from liability for censoring offensive material. I am offering them even more -- immunity from liability for censoring inoffensive material, provided that they post a "freedom-of-speech disclaimer."

>>>>> You have no standing in this anyway since you have not been arbitrarily censored. You have been censored for cause. <<<<<<

You are obviously talking through your hat because you hardly know any of the cases where I have been censored. And this is not just about me. Furthermore, standing is not an issue here, because I am not trying to sue anybody (yet).

>>>>>> They have done nothing to limit anyone's freedom of speech. You may say anything you want on your own blog. <<<<<<

What does being able to say anything you want on your own blog have to do with allowing others to say what they want on your blog? You obviously can say anything (with some minor exceptions, e.g., gossip about my private affairs) that you want to on this blog.

>>>>> You believe that any post that shoots down your absurd arguments is intended to harass. <<<<<

But I let those posts stay here, don't I?

>>>>>> The now-dormant FCC fairness doctrine for broadcasters was upheld by the Supreme Court in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC (1969), and this application of the fairness doctrine to broadcasters has never been repealed. <

A moot point since it is not applicable here. <<<<<<<

It's not moot at all. Some members of Congress have been trying to revive the fairness doctrine -- Wikipedia says,

As of early 2007, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), along with Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) have announced their support of legislation which would reverse the 1987 FCC decision and restore the Fairness Doctrine

>>>>>> This is exactly the point. There is not a scarcity of avilable spectrum space on the Internet. That is why the rule obviously does not apply to blogs. <<<<<<<

There are two scarcity/abundance issues -- scarcity/abundance of sites and scarcity/abundance of comment space per site. Broadcasters have a great scarcity of both -- blogs have limitless abundances of both. Comparing broadcasters and blogs here is not just like comparing apples and oranges -- it is like comparing peas and watermelons.

>>>>>>> It is noteworthy that although the US Supreme Court voted 9-0 against the "right to reply" law, the Florida Supreme court voted 8-1 to uphold this law! <

The Florida Supreme Court is notorious for making politically charged decisions for special interest groups. <<<<<<

And what special interest groups influenced the Florida Supreme Court decision? And you think that the US Supreme Court does not make politically charged decisions? The selection of each US Supreme Court justice is very carefully watched and lobbied by special interest groups.

Also, there is the issue of authoritative citation of blogs (by court opinions, scholarly journal articles, official news services, etc.). I assert that blogs that lack reliability and fairness because of arbitrary censorship of comments should not be authoritatively cited. You have not even attempted to counter my position on this issue.

So ViW took up the challenge and fell flat on his face. Who's next?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 1:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Hector said...

Larry posts a sign that says "kick me". VIW boots his ass between the goal posts on every issue and now Larry claims victory. Wasn't this predictable?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 4:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> The issue in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, which was a challenge to the fairness doctrine, was the limitation on the number of sites, i.e., broadcast channels. That has nothing to do with blogs, where there are no limits on both the number of sites and the amount of comment space per site. <

Precisely! Because there is not limit to the number of sites, there is no need for a fairness doctrine. That is why no rational person has yet suggested that it should apply.

> The cardinal rule is that constitutional protections may be denied only for truly compelling reasons. <

There is no constitutional protection of your imagined "right" to come onto my property or my blog and say anything. You can say what you want on public property or your own property (your own blog).

>>>>>> (1) The more popular blogs have become major de facto public forums. <

No. They are private forums. <<<<<<

> That is what Red Lion Broadcasting Co. thought: "we are a private broadcaster and we'll do what we want to here." But the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled against them. <

Because they are on the limited broadcast channels. The blogs are not on limited channels and are therefore not subject to the fairness doctrine since anyone can say whatever they want elsewhere on the unlimited bandwidth.

> they want the "reporter's privilege" <

Which has nothing to do with the limits of broadcast channels. The reasons for the "reporter's privilege" are quite different. I don't see any of the blogs against which you rail claiming the "reporter's privilege" anyway.

> Starting your own blog is not an adequate remedy for being censored on a blog. <

Being censored on a blog does not require a remedy, especially when (as in your case) you have been censored for cause.

> For one thing, it takes time to create a blog and build up readership. <

So those who have gone to the trouble to do so should be allowed to run their blogs the way they see fit.

> And the more popular blogs have much greater influence on public opinion than the little blogs. <

Many of them are more popular because they have more scholarly and logical material. You can't expect people to give equal weight to the deadening repetition of mindless bleats. Most people visiting your blog and seeing the endless repetition of long discredited arguments would be turned off. Panda's Thumb and Dispatches From the Culture Wars always have fresh material which is logically supported and they rarely engage in the childish name calling that you do.

> I don't see many new blogs now that become instantly popular. <

Perhaps you haven't looked. There are a great number of blogs far more popular than yours which are much newer. You have only yourself to blame.

> Many bloggers on the more popular blogs are trying to play "King of the Hill" by preventing blogosphere newcomers from expressing themselves on those blogs. <

There appears to be very little censorship on these blogs, especially against newcomers. It is different for people who waste space with repetition of long disproven drivel or who make threats against the bloggers.

> There is nothing in the First Amendment... <

There is nothing in the First Amendment about blogs. There is nothing in the First Amendment that could reasonably be interpreted to apply to blogs.

> Also, I have proposed a solution for bloggers who want to arbitrarily censor comments <

You keep ducking the question of who is arbitrarily censoring comments. You were not arbitrarily censored. You were banned for cause. The reasons that you were banned have been covered many times here and elsewhere. Your only reply is that others don't really know why you were banned. We do!

> You wouldn't believe how many people still think that Panda's Thumb doesn't practice arbitrary censorship of comments. <

You have been challenged to show that they do and you have failed to do so. Those who claim that they do not have won by default.

> But I don't think that there are any regular PT readers who really believe that PT does not arbitrarily censor comments. <

It is true. You don't think. Since you know of no examples of where PT has arbitrarily censored comments, why should regular PT readers think this?

> I am offering them even more <

You have nothing to offer. You have no authority and most people believe that you are irrelevant. You are as impotent here as you are elsewhere.

> you hardly know any of the cases where I have been censored. <

They have been covered on this and other blogs. You were banned for cause.

> This not just about me. <

Of course it is.

> I am not trying to sue anybody (yet). <

I believe you should sue everyone. With your legal record it will be an endless source of more entertainment.

> You obviously can say anything (with some minor exceptions, e.g., gossip about my private affairs) that you want to on this blog. <

However I can expect many of my posts to mysteriously disappear. As far as gossip, I have never done so. Stating facts which show that you are making false statements about yourself is not gossip. Stating facts that might explain some of your manias is not gossip. If you don't want subjects addressed, don't bring them up yourself.

>>>>> You believe that any post that shoots down your absurd arguments is intended to harass. <<<<<

> But I let those posts stay here, don't I? <

Not always, but I am glad that you admit that they shoot down your absurd arguments.

>>>>>>> ....A moot point since it is not applicable here. <<<<<<<

> It's not moot at all. Some members of Congress have been trying to revive the fairness doctrine <

The fairness doctrine has no applicability to blogs.

> I assert that blogs that lack reliability and fairness because of arbitrary censorship of comments should not be authoritatively cited. You have not even attempted to counter my position on this issue. <

Perhaps because you have not even attempted to give an example. Just because you have been banned for cause from a blog doesn't mean that they engage in arbitrary censorship. If you don't like people citing blogs, you should complain about those who cite them, not about the blogs.

So I took up the challenge and you fell flat on your face.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 9:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Sherry D said...

> 2) First Amendment requires fairness doctrine for blogs <

This statement and the arguments he makes to support it show a definite mental disorder. Of course Larry has always made false analogies but here he doesn't seem to even realize that he is making an analogy. He believes what he is saying is a fact!

Seriously Larry. You need professional help.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

ViW, many of your comments here are so asinine that I really believe that many readers suspect that I am a cyberventriloquist and that you are my Charlie McCarthy dummy who is feeding me straw man arguments which I can then easily shoot down. I got it -- a new name for cyberventriloquism -- "Charlie McCarthyism"! LOL. That sounds so much better than "sockpuppetry." IMO the Charlie McCarthy analogy is especially appropriate because he and his partner Edgar Bergen were in a popular long-running radio program where neither of them could be seen -- just like the situation on blogs! Edgar Bergen was talking to himself on the radio!

Also, I think "BVD-clad blogger" is much more appropriate than "PJ-clad blogger" because PJ's are too formal. PJ's are Playboy tuxedos -- Hugh Hefner said that he has about 100 pairs of PJ's and that he "like[s] to see people dressed comfortably."

Anyway, ViW, as I indicated before, I think that it is very unethical of you to try to give the false impression that I am practicing Charlie McCarthyism. As a witness told Sen. Joe McCarthy in a Senate hearing, I say to you, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Before I answer your pointless non-points, I just want to say that my main argument is that there is no compelling reason for denying freedom of speech to blog visitors and that freedom of speech may not be denied without a compelling reason. Prohibiting arbitrary censorship of comments does not infringe on bloggers' freedom of the press rights because the bloggers are still free to say anything they want on their blogs (except things that are illegal, e.g., libel and revealing trade secrets). I have proposed a "freedom-of-speech disclaimer" statement to be posted on blogs whose sole purpose is to promote or advertise something. You have not presented anything here that might even remotely be considered to be a compelling reason for denying freedom of speech, so my answers to your points are of academic interest only.

>>>>>> Precisely! Because there is not limit to the number of sites, there is no need for a fairness doctrine. <<<<<<

"O, reason not the need!" -- King Lear in Shakespeare's King Lear

OK, so if someone cannot post a comment on the big Darwinist blogs that average 7,000-20,000 visitors per day, it is a nice consolation that the comment can be posted on my blog that gets about 40 visitors per day or on Alan Fox's Languedoc Diary blog that now gets about a dozen. The comment can also be posted on a blog about underwater basketweaving if the blogger does not mind off-topic comments.

>>>>> There is no constitutional protection of your imagined "right" to come onto my property or my blog and say anything. <<<<<<

I know -- the government has no right to tell you what you can and cannot do with your property. For example, you can build anything you want on your land, zoning laws be damned. After all, it is your property.

47 USC §230, which I discussed in my opening post, says that bloggers cannot be sued for comments left on their blogs by 3rd parties (there is an exception that I know of, but I won't complicate things by going into it here). This implicitly means that bloggers can be sued for things that they themselves say on their own blogs. They can't defend themselves by saying that it's their own blog and they can say whatever they want to.

There are all sorts of laws that say what you can and cannot do on your own property and what you can prohibit and cannot prohibit on your own property. You are as clueless about the law as that idiot-savant Prof. Eugene Volokh.

>>>>> The blogs are not on limited channels and are therefore not subject to the fairness doctrine since anyone can say whatever they want elsewhere on the unlimited bandwidth. <<<<<

And maybe a person who has been personally attacked on a radio or TV station can respond on another station -- I don't know of many areas that are served locally by only one radio or TV station.

>>>>> they want the "reporter's privilege" <

Which has nothing to do with the limits of broadcast channels. <<<<<

I never said or implied that the reporter's privilege has anything to do with the limits of broadcast channels.

>>>>> I don't see any of the blogs against which you rail claiming the "reporter's privilege" anyway. <<<<<<

That's because those blogs do little or no original news reporting. But this blog has articles about a book and a law journal article that are in favor of granting the reporter's privilege to bloggers. And the big Electronic Frontier Foundation also advocates granting the reporter's privilege to bloggers. I only gave the reporter's privilege as an example of where BVD-clad bloggers want special privileges without any responsibilities.

>>>>>> For one thing, it takes time to create a blog and build up readership. <

So those who have gone to the trouble to do so should be allowed to run their blogs the way they see fit <<<<<<

The blogging newcomers generally go to more trouble -- and still get much less traffic -- than long-established bloggers, because it is hard to break into a field that has become overcrowded.

>>>>>> Many of them are more popular because they have more scholarly and logical material. <<<<<<

So you are saying that only those who make "good" speeches or have a history of making "good" speeches are entitled to freedom of speech. Sheeesh.

Some blogs are popular because they got off to any early start. Other blogs are popular because they are multiblogger blogs -- Panda's Thumb is a good example, with about 30 bloggers. Other blogs are popular because they have good connections that refer people to those blogs. Fatheaded Ed Brayton and Sleazy PZ Myers often use Panda's Thumb to announce articles on their personal blogs. A single link posted on a popular website can cause a blog's traffic level to skyrocket (as they say, who you know is often more important than what you know)! Some blogs are popular because their bloggers are well-known outside of blogging. Someone on a popular website told me that he and his teammates wanted to link to this blog but did not do so for fear of being associated with a holocaust revisionist, so I lost out on a good opportunity to increase traffic on this blog. Anyway, whatever the reasons why some blogs are more popular than others, there is nothing in the First Amendment that says that bloggers on the more popular blogs are more equal than others in regard to a right to influence public opinion.

>>>>> There are a great number of blogs far more popular than yours which are much newer. <<<<<<

Name one -- and blogs by bloggers who are well-known outside of blogging don't count.

>>>>>> There is nothing in the First Amendment about blogs. There is nothing in the First Amendment that could reasonably be interpreted to apply to blogs. <<<<<<

You are really off your rocker.

>>>>> You keep ducking the question of who is arbitrarily censoring comments. <<<<<

Of course I am "ducking the question," because you have refused to accept blatant examples I have already presented of arbitrary censorship of comments. I gave the example of where Fatheaded Ed Brayton kicked me off his blog permanently because he disagreed with my literal interpretation of a federal court rule (not that it matters, but he did not give me even a single chance to respond to his disagreement). I have given other examples. And the fact that I have never witnessed murder does not mean that I can't talk about it. And the fact that something has never been done does not mean that there can't be a law against doing it. Where do you get these crazy ideas, ViW?

And you have still not answered my argument that blogs that lack reliability and fairness because of arbitrary censorship of comments should not be authoritatively cited by court opinions, scholarly journal articles, official news services, or other authorities. You ducked that argument by claiming that I have not given any examples of arbitrary censorship of comments submitted to blogs. So who is doing the "ducking" here?

>>>>> Stating facts which show that you are making false statements about yourself is not gossip. <<<<<

Nothing in the definition of gossip says that gossip is necessarily false.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 10:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Butt-Naked Blogger said...

<< 3) The phony "privacy" argument

Opponents of a "fairness doctrine" for blogs hocus-pocus that the blogs of BVD-clad bloggers are "private" and therefore immune from government regulation.
>>

What about the "privates" of BVD-clad bloggers? Are they "private" as well?

Incidentally, are you trying to discriminate against alternatively attired bloggers (e.g., pajama-clad, tuxedo-clad, etc.)?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

Larry, many of your comments are so asinine that people no doubt believe that you are a creation of the Darwinists. Why else would someone continue to throw pies into their own faces?

> Anyway, ViW, as I indicated before <

Mindles repetition of already disproven material.

Your first several paragraphs are minless and irrelevant ramblings to try to distract us from your lack of answers.

> there is no compelling reason for denying freedom of speech to blog visitors and that freedom of speech may not be denied without a compelling reason. <

Let's try one more time dimwit. Nobody is denying freedom of speech to you or anyone else. You can say anything you want on your own blog.

It seems quite unethical of you to claim that you have been arbitrary censored anyway. You haven't.

> I have proposed a "freedom-of-speech disclaimer" statement <

Which you should place on your own blog to set an example.

> You have not presented anything... <

Larry's usual tactic. When he can't answer an argument he pretends that it has not been made.

> OK, so if someone cannot post a comment on the big Darwinist blogs that average 7,000-20,000 visitors per day, it is a nice consolation that the comment can be posted on my blog that gets about 40 visitors per day or on Alan Fox's Languedoc Diary blog that now gets about a dozen. <

And most of those are just people who are laughing at you. Try posting something sensible or really attempting to answer questions and you might draw more readers. The childishness you display by name calling and pretending that you have won arguments you have clearly lost no doubt drives off quite a few potential readers.

>>>>> There is no constitutional protection of your imagined "right" to come onto my property or my blog and say anything. <<<<<<

> I know -- the government has no right to tell you what you can and cannot do with your property. <

As usual, you don't understand an example. Is there anything so simple that you can understand it?

> 47 USC §230, which I discussed in my opening post, says that bloggers cannot be sued for comments left on their blogs by 3rd parties <

Quite irrelevant.

> This implicitly means that bloggers can be sued for things that they themselves say on their own blogs. <

What a great leap of illogic! No wonder you were such a failure at law.

>>>>> The blogs are not on limited channels and are therefore not subject to the fairness doctrine since anyone can say whatever they want elsewhere on the unlimited bandwidth. <<<<<

> And maybe a person who has been personally attacked on a radio or TV station can respond on another station <

Not at all the same thing.

> I never said or implied that the reporter's privilege has anything to do with the limits of broadcast channels. <

Nor does it have anything to do with your imagined "right" to post on any blog you please.

> The blogging newcomers generally go to more trouble -- and still get much less traffic -- than long-established bloggers <

In the same way that most businesses fail. Survival of the fittest. Those with worthwhile material, like Panda's Thumb or Dispatches do well and those who rant incoherently and just call names when they can win an argument usually fail. If it weren't for those who log on for entertainment, you would have less than a dozen visitors a day.

> it is hard to break into a field that has become overcrowded. <

There is always room at the top.

>>>>>> Many of them are more popular because they have more scholarly and logical material. <<<<<<

> So you are saying that only those who make "good" speeches or have a history of making "good" speeches are entitled to freedom of speech. <

I didn't say that did I? Sheeesh.

> Someone on a popular website told me that he and his teammates wanted to link to this blog but did not do so for fear of being associated with a holocaust revisionist, so I lost out on a good opportunity to increase traffic on this blog. <

Lie down with dogs and get up with fleas. Of course you have censored all attempts to explain why you may have a psychological problem related to the holocaust.

> there is nothing in the First Amendment that says that bloggers on the more popular blogs are more equal than others in regard to a right to influence public opinion. <

There is nothing in the First Amendment that applies to bloggers you thick headed numbskull.

>>>>>> There is nothing in the First Amendment about blogs. There is nothing in the First Amendment that could reasonably be interpreted to apply to blogs. <<<<<<

> You are really off your rocker. <

No answer? I guess I win by default?

>>>>> You keep ducking the question of who is arbitrarily censoring comments. <<<<<

> I gave the example of where Fatheaded Ed Brayton kicked me off his blog permanently because he disagreed with my literal interpretation of a federal court rule <

That is a blatant lie as has been proven time after time. We all know why you were thrown off of Ed Brayton's blog. Repeating you lie again will not change anything.

> I have given other examples. <

Which were also false.

> And the fact that I have never witnessed murder does not mean that I can't talk about it. <

It does mean that you can't falsely accuse someone of a murder as you falsely accuse others of arbitrary censorship.

>Where do you get these crazy ideas, Larry?

> So who is doing the "ducking" here? <

Larry Fafarman

>>>>> Stating facts which show that you are making false statements about yourself is not gossip. <<<<<

> Nothing in the definition of gossip says that gossip is necessarily false. <

So you admit that you are making false statements about yourself! If you can't even be honest about yourself, how can we expect you to be honest about others? Of course you are not.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 10:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Hector said...

I get it. "Larry" is either Brayton or Myers trying to set up a straw man to shoot down. Come on guys. Nobody is really as dumb as this fictional "Larry. You probably got the name from the clown who was jousting at windmills in the Los Angeles courts years ago assuming that he was too dumb to operate a computer and you would not be detected.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 3:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Sherry D said...

The First Amendment cannot be stretched by any imagination to say anything about a right to post anything on a private blog (and yes Larry, they are private). The reasons for the Fairness Doctrine certainly do not apply to blogs where anyone can have their own blog.

Your argument that the greater readership of other blogs vs yours is reducing your ability to comment is also nonsense. Someone who is giving a well attended speech on private property has no obligation to share the podium with every freak and nutcase who comes by demanding to be heard.

The nutcase can't claim a violation of either his freedom of speech or the fairness doctrine as he can still go down to the public parks and scream "repent" while carrying his sign saying that the end of the world is near.

Nice try, Larry. It looks like you lost another one.

P.S. VIW is right. Your continuing insults and personal attacks in violation of your own stated principles are doing nothing for your credibility.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 8:51:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Sherry D. said,

>>>>> The First Amendment cannot be stretched by any imagination to say anything about a right to post anything on a private blog (and yes Larry, they are private). The reasons for the Fairness Doctrine certainly do not apply to blogs where anyone can have their own blog. <<<<<<

And anyone can have their own radio station -- a ham radio, a CB radio, or a walkie-talkie. And yet the US Supreme Court ruled in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC that the FCC's fairness doctrine is constitutional.

It is the government that decides what is private and what the rights of privacy are. For example, ham radios make private one-on-one communications but ham radios are very heavily regulated by the government, e.g., there is a rule that ham radios cannot be used for commercial purposes.

>>>>>> Your argument that the greater readership of other blogs vs yours is reducing your ability to comment is also nonsense. Someone who is giving a well attended speech on private property has no obligation to share the podium with every freak and nutcase who comes by demanding to be heard. <<<<<<

The ability to directly transfer freedom-of-speech rules and principles from one communications medium to another is very limited because the circumstances for the different media are so radically different. Oral speech, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. all have radically different circumstances.

So far as the sizes of the audiences are concerned, the very popular blogs are like big public radio stations and the obscure little blogs are like ham or CB radio stations. Sure, anyone who has the right equipment and is tuned into a ham or CB radio station can receive that station's signals, but the public radio station is going to reach far more people. So the Supreme Court ruled that the FCC's fairness doctrine could be applied to the big public radio stations.

And like ViW, you have not responded to my argument that blogs that lack reliability and fairness because of arbitrary censorship of comments should not be authoritatively cited by court opinions, official news services, etc..

>>>>> The nutcase can't claim a violation of either his freedom of speech or the fairness doctrine . . .

. . Your continuing insults and personal attacks in violation of your own stated principles are doing nothing for your credibility. <<<<<

You're the pot calling the kettle black -- calling me a "nutcase" and then accusing me of violating my own rules against insults and personal attacks. I said that abuse is discouraged but is tolerated so long as (1) it does not disparage anyone's race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin, and (2) is accompanied by other commentary.

I will tone down my own abusiveness in this thread because I want to attract some commenters who are really knowledgeable and serious (that does not include you and ViW).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Honez said...

I think that you are right Hector. This guy can't be for real. He is a plant to discredit the fundies.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 3:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> And anyone can have their own radio station -- a ham radio, a CB radio, or a walkie-talkie. <

Earth to Larry. You can’t use ham radio without a license gained by passing a test and, as you stated, people are not allowed to use them for commercial purposes. Discussing controversial subjects on the air is also discouraged but not banned.. CB is limited in the area covered and “walkie-talkies” on FMRS are even more limited. In short you can’t have your own one way broadcasting station in any of these cases.

> And yet the US Supreme Court ruled in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC that the FCC's fairness doctrine is constitutional. <

Which is obviously irrelevant.

> It is the government that decides what is private and what the rights of privacy are. <
Not in all forums. In the cases you describe people are using limited bandwidth.

> For example, ham radios make private one-on-one communications <

Which can be heard by anyone. I could say what I want in a ham radio discussion but you would be unable to respond since you don’t have any sort of radio license.

> The ability to directly transfer freedom-of-speech rules and principles from one communications medium to another is very limited because the circumstances for the different media are so radically different. Oral speech, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. all have radically different circumstances. <

Duh! That is why freedom-of-speech rules do not apply to blogs.

> So far as the sizes of the audiences are concerned, the very popular blogs are like big public radio stations and the obscure little blogs are like ham or CB radio stations. ... but the public radio station is going to reach far more people. So the Supreme Court ruled that the FCC's fairness doctrine could be applied to the big public radio stations. <

Not by a long shot. The FCC’s fairness doctrine is because of the limited bandwidth allocated to radio and TV stations. The blogs are not limited so the fairness doctrine does not and should not apply. Even you are not dense enough not to see that. You are just being obtuse.

> And like ViW, you have not responded to my argument that blogs that lack reliability and fairness because of arbitrary censorship of comments should not be authoritatively cited by court opinions, official news services, etc.. <

I responded repeatedly. The courts and official news services may cite whom they please and I haven’t seen where the blogs they cite lack reliability or fairness. The ones you cite certainly do not censor comments arbitrarily.

> You're the pot calling the kettle black -- calling me a "nutcase" and then accusing me of violating my own rules against insults and personal attacks. <

Calling you a “nutcase” is merely noting a well known fact.

> I will tone down my own abusiveness in this thread <

That will have to be seen.

> because I want to attract some commenters (sic) who are really knowledgeable and serious <

Kevin continues to comment despite your antics. Sherry D. doesn't claim to be an expert in evolution. She is clearly an expert in child psychology. That is where you come in.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 5:49:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> And anyone can have their own radio station -- a ham radio, a CB radio, or a walkie-talkie. <

Earth to Larry. . . .you can’t have your own one way broadcasting station in any of these cases. <<<<<<

Civilization to Voice in the Wilderness --
Yes, I am well aware of the limitations of ham radios, CB radios, and walkie-talkies. I was trying to show the fallacy of blindly transferring First Amendment principles from one medium to another.

>>>>>> And yet the US Supreme Court ruled in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC that the FCC's fairness doctrine is constitutional. <

Which is obviously irrelevant. <<<<<<

No, it is not at all irrelevant. The Red Lion Broadcasting Co. was making the same argument that BVD-clad bloggers are making -- "we're private and we'll do what we want here." The Supreme Court told them to go to hell.

>>>>>> It is the government that decides what is private and what the rights of privacy are.<

Not in all forums. In the cases you describe people are using limited bandwidth. <<<<<<

I wasn't just talking about private property in communications media -- I was talking about private property in general. And if the "privacy" claim does not give radio stations immunity from government regulation, then it does not give blogs immunity from government regulation either. We already have lots of laws that control blogs.

>>>>>Oral speech, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. all have radically different circumstances. <

Duh! That is why freedom-of-speech rules do not apply to blogs. <<<<<<

Now you are really crazy. What does the existence of differences in circumstances between different media have to do with whether a fairness doctrine may or may not be applied to any particular kind of medium?

>>>>>>So the Supreme Court ruled that the FCC's fairness doctrine could be applied to the big public radio stations. <

Not by a long shot. The FCC’s fairness doctrine is because of the limited bandwidth allocated to radio and TV stations. The blogs are not limited so the fairness doctrine does not and should not apply. <<<<<<

Like a broken phonograph record, you keep harping on the issue of scarcity/abundance of sites. I pointed out repeatedly that there is another scarcity/abundance issue -- the scarcity/abundance of comment space per site. The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether an unlimited abundance of comment space -- as blogs possess -- means that a fairness doctrine could or must apply. Because the comment space on blogs is unlimited, a fairness doctrine for blogs imposes no limitations or hardships on bloggers, in contrast to broadcasters, where a fairness doctrine reduces a broadcaster's time for broadcasting its own views. Moreover, because the comment space on blogs is unlimited, blogs can have a perfect fairness doctrine that allows an unlimited number of comments of unlimited length, unlike broadcasting, where there must be time limits on comments. The irony of Internet comment censorship is that it is undermining history's first opportunity for unlimited freedom of speech in a public medium.

>>>>>>> And like ViW, you have not responded to my argument that blogs that lack reliability and fairness because of arbitrary censorship of comments should not be authoritatively cited by court opinions, official news services, etc.. <

I responded repeatedly. The courts and official news services may cite whom they please and I haven’t seen where the blogs they cite lack reliability or fairness. The ones you cite certainly do not censor comments arbitrarily.<<<<<<

You are just plain lying, ViW -- I have given several examples of arbitrary censorship of comments on blogs. And you are still ducking my argument, because whether or not you know of specific instances of such censorship has nothing to do with whether or not such censorship exists or how common it is. And my argument could still be answered as though it were an argument that assumes a hypothetical situation. You have plumb run out of excuses.

There is now a big controversy over whether courts should be citing Wikipedia because Wikipedia has a big reliability problem, so why shouldn't there be a similar concern about blogs that are unreliable because of comment censorship? And why would courts cite something whose reliability or fairness could later be challenged? And why would official news services want to cite unreliable sources? Haven't they gotten into big trouble for doing that? What in the hell is the matter with you, ViW? You're just trying to make me look like I am practicing Charlie McCarthyism (formerly known as sockpuppetry).

>>>>>> because I want to attract some commenters (sic) who are really knowledgeable and serious <

Kevin continues to comment despite your antics. Sherry D. doesn't claim to be an expert in evolution. She is clearly an expert in child psychology. <<<<<<<

What is the "sic" for? That is how "commenter" is spelled.

As for knocking kids, they are smarter than we think. Remember the story of the emperor's new clothes.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 12:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> I was trying to show the fallacy of blindly transferring First Amendment principles from one medium to another. <

Duh! You are finally realizing what I was trying to tell you. In this case First Amendment principles don't apply at all.

> No, it is not at all irrelevant. The Red Lion Broadcasting Co. was making the same argument that BVD-clad bloggers are making -- "we're private and we'll do what we want here." The Supreme Court told them to go to hell. <

The Supreme Court made its determination based on the limited bandwidth of the radio and TV channels. It had nothing to do with Red Lion being private. The airways are public. Blogs are not.

> I wasn't just talking about private property in communications media -- I was talking about private property in general. <

The Supreme Court was talking about communications media, not private property in general.

> And if the "privacy" claim does not give radio stations immunity from government regulation, then it does not give blogs immunity from government regulation either. <

In many months that has to be the most illogical statement that you have made. You seem to be unable to grasp the concept of limited bandwidth. Ask your therapist to explain it to you.

> Now you are really crazy. What does the existence of differences in circumstances between different media have to do with whether a fairness doctrine may or may not be applied to any particular kind of medium? <

You are showing your abysmal ignorance of why the fairness doctrine came about in the first place. It was because of the limited nature of the radio and TV bandwidth. You seem beyond hope on this. No wonder you have been described as being as dense as a neutron star.

Like a broken phonograph record, you keep harping on the idea that the abundance of comment space per site has relevance to whether people should allow anyone at all to repeat comments endlessly and make threats on their private blogs.

> The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether an unlimited abundance of comment space -- as blogs possess -- means that a fairness doctrine could or must apply. <

Because you are likely the only one on any planet who would make such a stretch.

> The irony of Internet comment censorship is that it is undermining history's first opportunity for unlimited freedom of speech in a public medium. <

We are not talking about a public medium. We are talking about private blogs.

> I have given several examples of arbitrary censorship of comments on blogs. <

You are just plain lying, Larry. You claim that you were arbitrarily censored on PT and Dispatches and we all know that there was nothing arbitrary about it.

And you are still ducking my argument. You can cite no specific instances of such censorship. You have plumb run out of excuses.

> There is now a big controversy <

One nut bleating about something does not constitute a "big controversy".

> so why shouldn't there be a similar concern about blogs that are unreliable because of comment censorship? <

Let's see. You are saying that because the Earth is flat, why shouldn't basketballs be flat? Let me clue you in, Larry. The Earth is not flat. I don't know about your planet.

> And why would courts cite something whose reliability or fairness could later be challenged? <

The reliability and fairness of everything could be challenged. In this case it is not being challenged successfully.

> And why would official news services want to cite unreliable sources? <

What is an "official" news service?

As far as news services, don't they always cite unreliable sources. This is an exception. Wikipedia is generally a reliable source. They certainly are in this case.

What in the hell is the matter with you, Larry? You're just trying to look like a loon and descredit the fundies.

> As for knocking kids <

Who is knocking kids? I have several times suggested that you ask them to explain things to you.

> Remember the story of the emperor's new clothes. <

It doesn't apply here. The public is not fooled. You are the only one that doesn't realize that you are naked.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 8:01:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Two-faced ViW continues to exploit my no-censorship policy while ridiculing my opposition to arbitrary censorship of blog comments.

ViW, you just keep repeating the same repeatedly refuted arguments over and over again in the hope that I will just get tired of answering you so that you can then declare that you won the debate. Here is an example:

>>>>>The Supreme Court made its determination based on the limited bandwidth of the radio and TV channels. <<<<<<

To which I answered in my last comment (therefore you can't claim that you forgot my reply) --

Like a broken phonograph record, you keep harping on the issue of scarcity/abundance of sites. I pointed out repeatedly that there is another scarcity/abundance issue -- the scarcity/abundance of comment space per site. The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether an unlimited abundance of comment space -- as blogs possess -- means that a fairness doctrine could or must apply.

Here is another one of your typical arguments:

>>>>> In this case First Amendment principles don't apply at all. <<<<<<

ViW, have you ever heard of the logical fallacy known as "begging the question"? It works like this --

Q: Does the First Amendment apply to arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments on blogs?

A: The answer is no. The reason is that the First Amendment does not apply to arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments on blogs.


>>>>>> Like a broken phonograph record, you keep harping on the idea that the abundance of comment space per site has relevance to whether people should allow anyone at all to repeat comments endlessly and make threats on their private blogs. <<<<<

LOL! What commenter is repeating comments endlessly here?

>>>>> What is an "official" news service? <<<<<

Associated Press, Reuters, major newspapers, TV and radio stations, etc.. BVD-clad bloggers are not included.

>>>>> Who is knocking kids? <<<<<<

Sorry, I was wrong -- you weren't knocking kids. You said that I am like a kid, which means that I am very smart.

I have been very patient in answering your comments, ViW. In contrast, Fatheaded Ed Brayton kicked me off his blog permanently before I had even a single chance to respond to his opposition to one of my comments.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Hector said...

> It doesn't apply here. The public is not fooled. You are the only one that doesn't realize that you are naked.<

It is true. Larry actually thinks that the crazy analogies that he is making actually hold water. He seems totally incapable of understanding the issues.

1. Bloggers making any selection of allowed comments they want does not have any relation to the First Amendment or freedom of speech.

2. While I am sure that everyone believes that they exist, you have given no examples of arbitrary censorship. Your claim that you have been arbitrarily censored at sites where you were actually blocked for cause does nothing for your credibility.

3. The fairness doctrine was applied only because of the limits of the radio/TV spectrum. It does not apply to the limitless space for blogs on the Internet.

4. Your argument that the limitless space available for comments on the Internet gives rise to an imagined requirement for people to allow anything of any kind on their blogs is baseless and irrational.

It is fairly obvious that you have a need for attention. Why not try to bring your own blog up to the quality that will draw readers and commenters? You have already started by cutting out some of that childish name calling. I would offer a few more suggestions.

Once you have made a statement or argument, limit your repetition of that argument to say a dozen times. You seem to have no limit to the number of times you repeat something even after the argument has been conclusively shot down or the statement has been proven false.

Make some attempt to read and understand posts before attempting to reply to them. Poorly thought out or lame responses are worse for your cause than just ignoring arguments that you can't beat. Repetition of known falsehoods further drives people away.

Decide whether you are going to censor or not. If you admit to censoring some things the readers will assume the worst. Your complaint of "gossip" or "discussion of your personal life" (even when you admit that at least some, if not all, of these things are true) comes over as an excuse to censor whatever you want while at the same time railing against censorship. Either stop all of your censorship or shut up about the subject.

Stop complaining about the activities of the bigger blogs and clean up your act and you might find your blog attracting the numbers that you desire.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

Two-faced Larry continues to bleat about his non-existent my no-censorship policy while making only false statements about arbitrary censorship of blog comments.

Larry you just keep repeating the same repeatedly refuted arguments over and over again in the hope that repetition will make someone believe that they hold water.

>>>>>The Supreme Court made its determination based on the limited bandwidth of the radio and TV channels. <<<<<<

> To which I answered in my last comment <

Making an irrelevant statement after noting the comment is not an answer(therefore you can't claim that you replied)

Like a broken phonograph record, you keep harping about the First Amendment and freedom of speech having a connection to limiting replies on blogs. Repetition will not make a connection that isn't there.

> I pointed out repeatedly that there is another scarcity/abundance issue <

Which has been shot down repeatedly.

> The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether an unlimited abundance of comment space -- as blogs possess -- means that a fairness doctrine could or must apply. <

They have never ruled on an infinite number of non-issues. What is your point?

Larry, have you ever heard of the logical fallacy known as "begging the question"? It works like this --

Q: Does the First Amendment apply to arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments on blogs?

A: The answer is yes. The reason is that the First Amendment applies to arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments on blogs.


> What commenter is repeating comments endlessly here? <

Larry Fafarman

>>>>> What is an "official" news service? <<<<<

> Associated Press, Reuters, major newspapers, TV and radio stations, etc.. BVD-clad bloggers are not included. <

A fine example of begging the question. Now what is an "official" news service? Don't duck the question this time.

> I have been very patient in answering your comments <

You have ducked my questions, begged the question, or repeated already refuted arguments. You are fooling nobody but yourself.

> In contrast, Fatheaded Ed Brayton kicked me off his blog permanently before I had even a single chance to respond to his opposition to one of my comments. <

Again repetition of a falsehood. We all know why you were rightly booted off of Ed Brayton's blog.

I thought that you were going to clean up your act but here you call Ed Brayton a "fathead". Get a clue, Larry. Being childish is not the same as being smart.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

Hector said...

> It is fairly obvious that you have a need for attention. <

Yes. Every cock has his dunghill to crow on.

> Why not try to bring your own blog up to the quality that will draw readers and commenters? <

Because lacks the ability to do so.

> You have already started by cutting out some of that childish name calling. <

You spoke too soon. Look at his last post. He can't help himself.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Hector said...

VIW,

You could stand some tuning up also.

1. While logically you are beating Larry on every point, you are not stating things in a way that Larry can understand. (I don't know if it is possible to do that. As Einstein said "Everything should be stated in the simplest possible terms - and no simpler.)

2. Don't get caught up in repeating everything, as Larry does. Everyone (except Larry) can see when you have made your point.

3. It is not necessary to join Larry in name calling, even in retalliation. Perhaps he would stop his childishness if we didn't respond in kind. He said that he would drop the name calling but like most of what he says, it wasn't true.

4. It is not necessary to respond to every post. Often the best argument against Larry's positions are his own comments. In some cases you would enhance your position by leaving Larry's post as the last and most noticeable.

The situation is kind of sad. Often I can't resist the temptation to fire a few barbs at Larry myself but I often feel bad about it afterwards considering his helplessness. You don't seem to care. I know that you have stated that you are only here for the laughs. Perhaps it gives you a feeling of superiority. You must ask yourself "superior to what?". It really doesn't say much.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Hector said,
>>>>. 2. Don't get caught up in repeating everything, as Larry does. <<<<<

If ViW did not keep repeating things, he would soon run out of arguments. For example, he said that the Supreme Court's decision on the FCC fairness doctrine was based on the scarcity of broadcasting sites. I pointed out that there is another scarcity/abundance issue, the scarcity/abundance of comment space per site. So instead of responding to me on that issue, he just goes back to saying that the SC's decision on the FCC fairness doctrine was based on the scarcity of broadcasting sites.

Also, ViW keeps changing the subject in efforts to duck questions. When I asked about the problem of authoritative citation of blogs that lack reliability and fairness because of arbitrary censorship of comments, ViW only answered that he had not seen any arbitrary censorship of blog comments.

>>>>> He said that he would drop the name calling but like most of what he says, it wasn't true. <<<<<<

OK, I called Ed Brayton "fatheaded" because it rhymed. But I haven't called anyone a "stupid fathead" or a "dunghill" in quite a while. Meanwhile, others have continued to insult me, as you pointed out.

>>>>> In some cases you would enhance your position by leaving Larry's post as the last and most noticeable. <<<<<<

Please do that, ViW! It would save me the trouble of having to refute your same arguments over and over again. And it would also reduce the clutter produced by your breathtakingly inane comments on this blog.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 1:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Hector said...

> If ViW did not keep repeating things, he would soon run out of arguments. <

This seems to be a description of you more than him.

> I pointed out that there is another scarcity/abundance issue, the scarcity/abundance of comment space per site. <

Which was absurd and he effectively refuted it.

> So instead of responding to me on that issue <

It appears that in addition to not reading some of the articles you attempt to criticize, you don't even read your own blog! His response is here multiple times under this title. What is it that you don't understand?

> he just goes back to saying that the SC's decision on the FCC fairness doctrine was based on the scarcity of broadcasting sites. <

He didn't say that at all. He said that it was due to the limited bandwidth of radio and TV. He was right, of course.

> Also, ViW keeps changing the subject in efforts to duck questions. <

Again you seem to be describing your own tactics.

> When I asked about the problem of authoritative citation of blogs that lack reliability and fairness because of arbitrary censorship of comments, ViW only answered that he had not seen any arbitrary censorship of blog comments. <

That is not all that he said. But it is a good point, which you have failed to answer.

> OK, I called Ed Brayton "fatheaded" because it rhymed. <

"Fatheaded" rhymes with "Brayton"?

> But I haven't called anyone a "stupid fathead" or a "dunghill" in quite a while. <

You have come up with other names that you, or someone using your name, has posted quite recently.

>>>>> In some cases you would enhance your position by leaving Larry's post as the last and most noticeable. <<<<<<

> Please do that, ViW! It would save me the trouble of having to refute your same arguments over and over again. <

You should try to refute them the first time. You haven't.

> And it would also reduce the clutter produced by your breathtakingly inane comments on this blog. <

You are the one who claims that the space for such comments is unlimited. At the same time you want your breathtakingly inane comments to be posted on other people's blogs.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 3:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

Hector,

> As simply as possible - and no simpler <

I don't think it is possible to make things simple enough that Larry could understand them. I can't imagine what could be clearer than the fact that the First Amendment has nothing to do with blogs for example. The nuttiest one is trying to connect the fairness doctrine, applied to limited bandwidth, could not be stretched by any sane person to apply to blogs with infinite bandwidth. Of course Larry will bleat about the infinite bandwidth meaning that there is room for drivel.

It appears that Ed Brayton was right when he said "It would be folly to try and engage you (Larry) in any sort of rational conversation, as we already found out."

> You don't seem to care. I know that you have stated that you are only here for the laughs. <

I don't deny it. Still I often feel that I am torturing a helpless animal. He is unable to defend himself.

Let's get another thing straight. Larry has never been arbitrarily censored. His drumming on this will not change that fact. He continues to lie about why he was dumped off of several blogs. The truth is on the blogs themselves.

As Ed Brayton wisely said " At this point, after being banned from so many different places for the same behavior, you're a lot like someone who has been married 8 or 9 times but has never bothered to consider that maybe, after all, it's them."

Thursday, May 24, 2007 3:39:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

So ViW didn't follow Hector's advice to let me have the last word. ViW has to have the last word because he is full of crap. I don't need to have the last word because I won this debate a long time ago.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 6:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Bill Carter said...

> I don't need to have the last word because I won this debate a long time ago. <

Larry, if you really believe that, you seriously need help. I don't think you could find a single person outside your asylum who would agree that you won this debate.

Sit back and read what you are saying. You are making a fool of yourself.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 8:27:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Bill Carter (?) says --

>>>>> I don't need to have the last word because I won this debate a long time ago. <

Larry, if you really believe that, you seriously need help. <<<<<<

No. You, ViW, Hector, Sherry D., etc. are the ones who need help.

See? Slinging mud is easy. Anyone can do it. It proves nothing. You might just as well have kept your big mouth shut.

Thursday, May 24, 2007 8:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

Larry(?) believes that he has to have the last word:

>ViW has to have the last word because he is full of crap.<

>See? Slinging mud is easy. Anyone can do it. <

It looks like only Larry has been sling mud. He must realize that he has fallen flat on his face in this "debate".

Thanks again, Larry(?). You have given us all a good laugh.

Friday, May 25, 2007 7:20:00 AM  
Anonymous EtC. said...

Gee, thanks!

Friday, May 25, 2007 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Myra Langerhas said...

So, now, if I take my soapbox to the public square to spout on about the Fed's latest hike, do I have to bring one for Connie the anarcho-feminist, Renaldo the commie, Bill the Royalist and Ben the Crusader?

Gosh Larry, you have invested way too much breath to get owned. Please stop.

Friday, June 22, 2007 7:23:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>> So, now, if I take my soapbox to the public square to spout on about the Fed's latest hike, do I have to bring one for Connie the anarcho-feminist, Renaldo the commie, Bill the Royalist and Ben the Crusader? <<<<<<

You obviously did not read my reasons for proposing a fairness doctrine for blogs --

(1) The bigger blogs have become de facto major public forums.

(2) Blogs are being authoritatively cited in the courts, by official news services, in scholarly journals, etc., and arbitrary censorship impairs the reliability and fairness of those citations.

(3) Since comment space on blogs is unlimited, you have no reason for not bringing soapboxes for others.

Also, I might add that BVD-clad bloggers are asking for special privileges without responsibilities -- they want the reporter's privilege (allowing them to keep their confidential sources secret) but don't want a "fairness doctrine" (prohibiting them from arbitrarily censoring visitors' comments).

Also, I proposed allowing bloggers to be exempt from a fairness doctrine if they post a prominent notice stating that they practice arbitrary censorship.

Friday, June 22, 2007 7:43:00 AM  
Blogger Myra Langerhas said...

So sometimes they are BVD clad bloggers and at other times they are proprietors of de facto major public forums.

You ridiculously overstate the importance of blogs. Their citations are usually to gauge a bellweather of public opinion. Please show me an instance of a court citing a blog as authority.

And how does censoring a comment diminish the importance of a blogpost? It might mean that the author has an itchy trigger finger, or is hypersensitive but nothing more. And if you take issue with a blogger, hmmmm, START YOUR OWN BLOG.

The first amendment regulates the gubmint. You want to regulate individuals. A simple corollary to freedom of speech is the right to not be compelled to give a forum to competing ideas.

Friday, June 22, 2007 8:47:00 AM  
Anonymous USpace said...

The people advocating this so-called "Fairness Doctrine" in broadcasting are fascist garbage. Kucinich, Boxer and the PIAPS? DhimmicRATS don't surprise me, but Trent Lott? He is a shameful disgrace.

The truth is that the phony and failing so-called liberal and progressive agenda is a sham and more people are waking up to it. The Left has a very weak argument that comes across even worse on the radio, and people just end up changing the channel.

Also, conservative talk on radio and cable always addresses and discusses so-called progressive ideology so they can logically show how inferior and flawed it is.

No one is stopping George Soros from buying up radio stations or from pumping millions into a money-losing Air America and keeping it going forever. But left-wing talk radio has proven to be such a bad business model that apparently even Leftie Moonbat Soros can't stand donating endless drops of his bucket to it.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
CONTROL the media

socialists as dangerous
should never be exposed
. .

Saturday, June 23, 2007 1:43:00 AM  

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