20 February 2012

Greenwald on VanderSloot, Sawyer, and Ross

That is, noted journalist Glenn Greenwald has written, in the last week, two blogposts that I'm linking to here, because they should be read (and, clearly, me posting them here will get them to a broader audience than would have encountered them otherwise).

First off, a fairly explosive piece titled "Diane Sawyer and Brian Ross belong in a fear-mongering museum," which breaks down an ABC news report on the threat posed by Iran. Greenwald shows, pretty convincingly, that the logic behind the report is not just flawed, but dangerous.

Note that this entire story is based on pure fabrication — not just by accepting as Truth the Israeli and American accusation that Iran is behind these attacks, but far worse, continuously warning about Iranian attacks on synagogues and other targets inside the U.S. There is literally zero evidence that any of that is happening.

Second, a post that came out yesterday titled "Billionaire Romney donor uses threats to silence critics," which exhaustively and frighteningly shows the lengths to which one of Romney's biggest supporters, and his campaign's national finance co-chair, Frank Vandersloot, has gone in order to silence bloggers, journalists, and websites from posting unflattering information about him. These included, among other incidents

- Outing a gay reporter in rural Idaho after he published a critical article
- Threatening to sue Mother Jones for an article that (correctly) reported on that outing
- Threatening to sue Forbes for publishing an article that (correctly) reported on anti-gay causes Vandersloot had donated to
- Threatening to sue a blogger for writing a critical post
- Threatening to sue that same blogger for copyright infringement for posting the letter in which the original threat had been delivered

...yeah. Not such a nice guy. Big quote, from early in the article:

In the last month alone, VanderSloot, using threats of expensive defamation actions, has successfully forced Forbes, Mother Jones and at least one local gay blogger in Idaho to remove articles that critically focused on his political and business practices (Mother Jones subsequently re-posted the article with revisions a week after first removing it). He has been using this abusive tactic in Idaho for years: suppressing legitimate political speech by threatening or even commencing lawsuits against even the most obscure critics (he has even sued local bloggers for “copyright infringement” after they published a threatening letter sent by his lawyers). This tactic almost always succeeds in silencing its targets, because even journalists and their employers who have done nothing wrong are afraid of the potentially ruinous costs they will incur when sued by a litigious billionaire.

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