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Don Carpenter on Twitter sometimes I have to laugh at these untrained unskilled wanna be independent journalists. BLOGGERS ARE NOT JOURNALISTSI came across this remark by Don Carpenter who is part of what is known as The Mobile News Network and is best known in some circles for his coverage of the Steubenville, Ohio gang rape case. He is also known for his recent coverage of Deric Lostutter.

Tweets with replies by Don Carpenter AnarchyWaltz Twitter

I am rather curious if he is applying his remark to ALL bloggers or a few that may have come to his attention. Of that I am not certain.

The question of bloggers being journalists or not comes up from time to time, mainly from those professionals who do not like bloggers encroaching on their turf.

As it happens there is a federal case that addressed this very question.

12 35238.pdf

As stated in this article:

The federal courts stated “

“Although the Supreme Court has never directly held that the Gertz rule applies beyond the institutional press, it has repeatedly refused in non-defamation contexts to accord greater First Amendment protection to the institutional media than to other speakers,” he wrote. In one case, he said, “the Court expressly noted that ‘we draw no distinction between the media respondents and’ a non-institutional respondent.”

12 35238.pdf(2)

The judge also stated :

“The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media . . . the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.”

12 35238.pdf(2)

The author of the article wrote

“So everyone—not just journalists—benefits from the First Amendment’s protections, which makes bloggers (even slimy ones) legally equivalent to journalists.”

So what exactly is the Gertz rule?,_Inc.

“Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323 (1974), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States established the standard of First Amendment protection against defamation claims brought by private individuals.”

Will this end the debate regarding the journalism status of bloggers? Probably not, but it does point out that this is one example of the federal courts stating quite clearly that bloggers at least enjoy the same first amendment rights as do professional journalists.

Stay tuned



    • A Vexatious Litigant
    • Posted April 11, 2017 at 2:40 am
    • Permalink

    “I did not ask to be in the position I am in now.”

    I am certain you did not.

    And, if what you claim is true, I find it terribly unfortunate that you suffered the things that you claim to have happened.

    While it is nice that a federal court has said that bloggers are on equal footing as “professional” journalists when it comes to 1st Amendment protection, they are not on equal financial footing. Unless you are able to enforce your rights, it does little good to have them.

    “Had these hackers chosen another target, there would be no need for this blog and for me to be paying attention to hackers in general.”

    Other than as some kind of mental health therapy, I do not see how you “paying attention” to hackers in general, by blogging, does a bit of good. The best defense against crazy people on the internet is to disengage and find other things to do with your time.

    I did not spend a great deal of time on it, but I did read the post about you on that Rip Off Report website. It was all very long and very, very stupid. Doesn’t matter if any of that crap is true. But the simply fact that you and that guy went back and forth posting comments at each other FOR YEARS AT A TIME is just beyond crazy. I am sure you justify it to yourself as some form of “self-defense”, but I think you are nuts for engaging with random idiots on the internet.

    Pick any Hollywood star that you care to, or any politician or successful business person, and you will find all sorts of similar grudge or hate websites of the type you have here about them. Nobody gives two shits about what guys like you have to say on your blogs or tweets or Facebooks or any of that stuff. It costs absolutely nothing to create a Twitter account or a WordPress blog or a Facebook page. And, as you know, opinions are like assholes. Unless the guy tweeting about you or blogging about you is from the NY Times or something, nobody fucking cares what you have to say.

    Again, I understand that the hurt you felt was very real to you and I am sure that blogging and such are mental health coping mechanisms that you use to help you get through the day. It beats the fuck outta sticking a gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger, eh?

    But you are an “old” person (not to cause offense) who does not appear to be in the best of health and on what looks like a very limited income. Do you really wish to spend what little time you have left on this Earth blogging about “hackers” and riding around in a fake-assed news van shaking your fist at the injustice of it all?

    Spend time with your family. Go on a cruise. Learn a new hobby or volunteer for the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. Or get a part time job at a bookstore or something just to keep you busy. But don’t spend what little you have left raging at assholes like Lostutter because I guarantee you – 100% – that tomorrow there will be another guy just like him popping up.

    All it takes is for you to cross paths with the wrong person and your whole fucking life will be over with in an instant. There are lots of violent, irrational people that are fueled with rage, own guns, and who are not intimidated by police or care about consequences who will seriously fuck you and your family up. Lostutter could be such a guy – you don’t know. It’s not like your home address isn’t out there, right?

    Say, remember about 10 yrs ago when that astronaut chick drove from Houston to Kennedy Space Center wearing a diaper and carrying zip-ties and mace so she could go kidnap her lover’s girlfriend or something? Or how about that dude who flew all the way from Alaska to Florida and who shoot up the airport a few months ago? Or the guy in San Bernardino today who shot up an elementary school?

    Lots of crazy people. Again, I am deeply sorry for what happened to you.

      • Posted April 11, 2017 at 4:19 am
      • Permalink

      Well, as for the ripoffreport. The individual that created that report was arrested by Canadian authorities ( he was a Canadian national ) who served 5 years in prison and was banned from the internet for 5 years. He is also not allowed to contact anyone he has targeted before for any reason. You see, like Deric, he did not remain anonymous and targeted a woman in Canada who filed charges against him. Canada has far stricter laws when it comes to these kinds of actions and the guy found this out the hard way.

      While this did not do me any good, I was happy to see that someone was able to get this jerk locked up.

      I have no family to speak of. I am widowed and my only son died years ago. I keep my expenses fairly low which enables me to blog and travel to KY and elsewhere to cover Deric and his actions. We actually met face to face at the March hearing.

      Also, in regards to my “fake ass van.” Once again you did not do your homework. As I mentioned before, I was a licensed motor vehicle dealer in the State of Florida. One the functions of my business was to lease commercial vehicles to clients. I would take client orders, work with my vendor to equip the vehicle I had acquired wholesale and then lease the vehicle to the client, generally for 5 years.
      The majority of these vehicles are what are called “live trucks.” Lay persons know them as news vans.

      When the vehicles come off lease, the client will remove equipment they want to salvage (they provided the equipment to the vendor who installed it) and left whatever they did not want in the van for me to use or sell.
      In the case of the van that I used for webcasting, the telescoping mast and some other equipment was left in the van by the client when it came off lease. Live trucks are not cheap. It is worth a fair amount of money. It certainly is not a “fake ass” van as you put it.
      I reconfigured the live truck to be able to stream live while mobile and on site at several locations. In 2008 I was the only private individual doing so on the internet. Now anyone can do the same thing with a smartphone.
      The live truck has been obsolete for years and is now used as a ham radio shack. As far as I know it is the only live truck used for this purpose.
      What I simply do not understand is why you keep repeating your comment that I should discontinue enjoying my first amendment rights and go and take cruises and so forth.
      I also do not understand why you keep coming back here. I would think you would be out golfing or something rather than coming in here and repeating yourself over and over again.

      As for anyone wanting to do me harm, Florida has a stand your ground law. They might want to think more than twice before doing anything to me that may cost them their life.


    • A vexatious litigant
    • Posted April 10, 2017 at 5:44 am
    • Permalink

    You read, but you do not understand. This case only held that, when it comes to someone suing for defamation, there is no distinction between me suing the guy on the tv news for telling lies about me then there is if i sue you for telling lies about me. Or even if I sue the next door neighbor for telling lies about me.

    Florida defamation law requires a plaintiff to prove fault (since you are in FL, I use that as the example). The level of fault I must prove depends on my status as a public figure or private individual. I must show that you published the defamatory statement with knowledge or reckless disregard as to its falsity if I am a public figure, or at least negligence if I am a private individual. So if I (or anyone else) were to sue some blogger, or a TV new guys, a Court must first decide whether I am a public or private figure and, subsequently, whether the evidence demonstrates a triable issue of fact as to whether you or the tv news guy acted with the requisite level of fault.

    While it is legally correct to say that “bloggers at least enjoy the same first amendment rights as do professional journalists”, it is more accurate to say that “the level of first amendment rights enjoyed by bloggers and professional journalists is no different than the level of protection anyone else has.”

    The only thing that matters is: Is the person who is suing you a public figure or a private figure?

    Just from some quick Googling on you, you seem like the kind of guy who likes to stir shit up and stick his nose into a lot of other peoples’ business. I can find complaints about you dated back to at least 2010. Not saying that any of those things are true. Not saying that I care if they are true, either. After all, I do not have to live with you and I certainly do not care how you spend your time or your money. But you seem like that kind of person who attracts controversy.

    You are extremely fortunately you have not crossed the wrong kind of person thus far. And by ‘wrong kind of person’ I do not mean other internet nerds who like to play your kind of blogging / tweeting games. I am talking about the kind of person who does not mind spending a decent amount of money to really fuck you up in one court or another. If you have not already done so, I would strongly urge you to look into purchasing some kind of insurance coverage that would cover your kind of first amendment “activities”. Judging from what little I know about you and your personal situation, you do not seem like the kind of guy who can afford to get dragged into courtrooms all across the country by random idiots who decide to sue you for the lulz.

    Here is a good case that you might want to check out that might help guide you in your blogging, sir: Carroll v., Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156499 (S.D. Fla. July 7, 2014).

      • Posted April 10, 2017 at 10:36 am
      • Permalink

      Your research into the so called complaints against me apparently was not thorough for you would understand that they were generated by the very people you cited in the example above. The actions against me started by a group within 4Chan which is a haven for people like Deric. Since I run a business I have liability protections like the one you advised in your post. As for the article you are linking to. The court has actually attached that term to Deric. As someone who seems to know the system, I am certain you can fully understand the seriousness of that designation.

      I did not ask to be in the position I am in now. It was those who were looking for lulz who caused things to be the way they are. Had these hackers chosen another target, there would be no need for this blog and for me to be paying attention to hackers in general.
      It is what it is, however, and that is where things stand today.


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