Monday, December 12, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten -- Part II

THE POST below, which touches on what is apparently a bit of a legal situation for Marieke Hardy, mentions lawyers and their love of other people's deep pockets. With this in mind, any defamation specialist who comes across the following will almost certainly be gripped by immediate and ecstatic spasms of convulsive delight:
...Melbourne writer Marieke Hardy did take that step, publicly naming and shaming on her website an internet stalker who had harassed her for years. And what that behaviour amounts to is stalking. The cloak of anonymity allows people to act in ways online that in real life would have them arrested... 

And why would a defamation lawyer be tickled pick?  Because there is not an "alleged" or a "who she claims" in that entire passage. It flat-out convicts the man Ms Hardy named, and it does so entirely on the strength of the ABC sweetheart's unsupported assertion in her now-pulled blog post that she has identified the right man, whose name was by then very well known. Golly gosh, it even convicts him in italics!

One imagines a professional news organisation would have done some fiddling to hedge or qualify those assertions, slipping in the invaluable caveats and weasel words that keep the lawyers at bay. Had that been done it would have been a report of Ms Hardy's words and actions, not an endorsement of them.

Yes, a reputatable publisher would have done all that, but then author Elmo Keep was not writing for one of those.

Elmo was writing for The Drum, which appears not to have an editor on staff. What The Drum does have, being part of the ABC, is very, very deep pockets.

That sound you might just be able to catch? It is a defamation lawyer cackling like a fiend.


  1. You do have screencaps, don't you? Even archive sites are not completely immune.

  2. Ms Elmo Keep last wrote for the Drum from Zucotti Park, Wall Street.
    Oh, wow!

  3. It took about 30 seconds to find the name of the alleged stalker. Poor guy, I hope he's OK.

  4. Foolish Elmo clearly doesn't understand how Wikileaks works. In the linked article she claims Wikileaks doesn't have "iron-clad encryption".

    I don't pretend to be a journalist (thank God), but even I know Manning got caught because he shot off his mouth in internet chats (sounds familiar doesn't it). It had nothing to do with encryption (which of course is highly robust).

  5. Just emailed this ABC link to the lawyers for the plaintiff (found out who via Crikey.)

    As for The Drum not appearing to have an editor on staff, I agree, Professor. Damn funny.

  6. The original blog is down but a google image search brings up the pictures it hosted. I laughed at the "for dummies" guide, is that bad?