Redskins Owner Sues Local Paper Over Satirical Listing Of Grievances... Making Sure More People Read It

from the hello-ms.-streisand dept

We've talked about the ridiculous management of the Washington Redskins a few times before. This is the football team that took the extraordinary step of suing a bunch of fans who, due to the economic crisis, were unable to pay for season tickets they had ordered. While most other teams simply take back the tickets and find other buyers, the Redskins sued over 100 such fans (probably ex-fans now). The team has also been extremely aggressive in terms of what it requires of reporters, including trying to claim that posting photos of disgruntled fans was prohibited and creating "media guidelines" that seriously stifle what reporters can talk about, if they want to continue to be given any access to the team.

The latest situation is even more extreme. The team's owner, Dan Snyder, appears to be the subject of much displeasure among Redskins fans. There are lots of fans of lots of sports teams who dislike the ownership. However, I don't think I've ever heard the level of dislike towards an owner like the publicly expressed feelings many fans have towards Dan Snyder. The local Washington City Paper has, of course, played up on this general dislike of Snyder, and back in November published an amusing Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder, which includes an A to Z listing of "offenses." You see this kind of column all the time about various sports owners. And most ignore it.

But not Dan Snyder.

He had his lawyers send a threat letter not to Washington City Paper, but to Atalaya Capital Management, the investment firm that owns Creative Loafing, which is the company that publishes Washington City Paper. Got that? Atalaya pointed out that they have nothing to do with the management of the paper -- and especially have nothing to do with the content of the paper, but even so, sent back a wonderful letter explaining the basics of the First Amendment to Snyder, especially with regards to public figures. The full letter is embedded below (and worth the read), but a few choice snippets:
The purpose of this letter is not to correct each of your misstatements and mischaracterizations but rather to assert the media's First Amendment right to comment on public figures (which your client undeniably is) and matters of public interest (into which your client voluntarily injected himself through his prominent ownership of the Washington Redskins).

The Column plainly is a tongue-in-cheek opinion piece expressing fans' frustration with your client's ownership of the Redskins. This is quintessential First Amendment-protected speech. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that "one of the prerogatives of American citizenship is the right to criticize public men and measures. Such criticism, inevitably, will not always be reasoned or moderate; public figures as well as public officials will be subject to vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks."
The letter also highlights that Atalaya had been informed by the paper that it was more than happy to allow Mr. Snyder the ability to respond in the pages of its publication.

Snyder, apparently, decided not to pay much heed to this letter, as he proceeded with the lawsuit (full suit embedded below), in which he makes a number of claims. Now, there certainly were some statements that were made in the original article that, if untrue, could be defamatory. However, some of the claims were just downright crazy. The most ridiculous, of course, is his decision to claim that the illustration that accompanied the original article (shown below) was somehow anti-semitic.
Yeah, that's a photo of Dan Snyder with a scribbling of devil horns and facial hair. I'm not sure how a childish scribbling to make someone look like the devil is anti-semitic. And that's because it's not. At all. And Snyder is being widely mocked for thinking otherwise.

Of course, the even bigger issue is that in bringing this lawsuit, you can bet that a hell of a lot more people have now seen the original article totally trashing Dan Snyder. If his goal was to suppress this content, then he's failed badly (yet again). On top of that, a lot more folks now think that Snyder has an incredibly thin skin. I would also imagine that Snyder will not enjoy any actual legal fight, in which the various assertions about him in that original column are dragged into court and examined for accuracy. Even if there are libelous statements in there, is Snyder really interested in going through a courtroom analysis of each of the claims in the column?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    Oh lordy

    The team's owner, Dan Snyder, appears to be the subject of much displeasure among Redskins fans.

    And they say Americans don't do dry humor well.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 11:46am

    Dan Snyder sure looks like the horny fellow...

     

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  3.  
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    John D (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 11:48am

    Cue Streisand Effect in 3..2..1

     

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  4.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 11:48am

    Sigh...

    "The most ridiculous, of course, is his decision to claim that the illustration that accompanied the original article (shown below) was somehow anti-semitic."

    Ah, I see. Dan Snyder objects to the to squigly lines drawing devil horns and a goatee (by cracky) on his image because they're anti-Semetic. Dan Snyder, you see, is against images and depictions of racist and culturally insensitive nature.

    Hey, fuckhead. You own an NFL football team based in the nation's capital called the REDSKINS! Are you kidding me? It's an insensitive term with a stereotypical logo of an American Indian, the gall of which is only supplanted by the fact that the team is located in the home city of the governing body that raped and pillaged their people? Who the hell are you crappin'?

    How about some Irish immigrant owning a football team called the New York Porchmonkeys (I'm just bringing it back)? Or that Saratoga Slants? Maybe the Talahassee Towelheads? Portland Pollocks? Ooooh, the Memphis Micks (that one is close to my heart)?

    Way to be a hypocritical polesmoker there, D-bag....

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 11:58am

    Re: Sigh...

    If I had been drinking coffee while reading that comment it would have been spewed all over my monitor. Too Damn Funny!

     

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  6.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Sigh...

    Hey, fuckhead. You own an NFL football team based in the nation's capital called the REDSKINS! Are you kidding me? It's an insensitive term with a stereotypical logo of an American Indian

    Damn. That's such a good point, I'm really disappointed in myself for not thinking of it.

     

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  7.  
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    Mitch (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

    This has been all over the DC area

    Dan Snyder is a complete jerk. He has sued fans he has done all sorts of things that have destroyed the redskins organization. This is just another item in a VERY long list of BS things he has done. He is one of the most hated figures in sports (at least in the Washington DC metro area) Mike CwF+RtB is the exact opposite of what this man has done and continues to do.

     

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  8.  
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    zaven (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Re:

    I for one am a Redskins fan. I had never heard of this article but it sounds hilarious. I've bookmarked it to read later this weekend.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous a-hole, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Sigh...

    I'm kind of liking that naming system.

    We could have the Dallas Drunken White Trash, the Detroit Niggers, New Jersey Wops, Boston Micks and the New York Jets.

     

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  10.  
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    dano (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Taking a cue from Dark Helmet & Mike...

    He should rename the team the Washington Thinskins.

     

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  11.  
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    crade (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

    Does snyder think the devil is jewish?

     

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  12.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Taking a cue from Dark Helmet & Mike...

    "He should rename the team the Washington Thinskins."

    I was going to suggest the Washington Foreskins, but then we'd be right back to the anti-Semite thing....

     

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  13.  
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    zaven (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Re: This has been all over the DC area

    Exactly. People pay him money regardless of how much they hate him because they love the team so much. Then you look down the street at Leonsis (Capitals owner) and you see how to build a pretty successful franchise that the fans love.

     

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  14.  
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    TriZz (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    I live in DC

    ...and as a resident of the capital of the greatest country in the world, I'd like to say that Dan Synder is a tool bag. He has destroyed that team and that devil picture isn't anti-Semitic. It's flattery. That guy is way worse than the devil.

     

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  15.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Sigh...

    If we call the Dallas team the Rednecks, at least the rivalry would be alliterative.

     

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  16.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: Sigh...

    "Damn. That's such a good point, I'm really disappointed in myself for not thinking of it."

    Heh, the point probably would have been more effective if I wasn't sporting an avatar w/a stylized Blackhawks jersey....

    That said, I'm not the one speaking out hypocritically about offensive mascot images, so I'm considering myself in the clear....

     

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  17.  
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    Trails, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Sigh...

    Epic.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Trails, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Sigh...

    Supposedly, that's consider not (as?) offensive, because the skin colour isn't the colour of a can of coke and because the the Blackhawks were/are an actual tribe, while "redskin" is a derogatory/dismissive name for a native american.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re:

    Bookmarked it?
    I'm copying it & forwarding it to everyone I know :D

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Sigh...

    Plus the Blackhawk Nation had settlements in and around Chicago, if memory serves, and half the teams are filled with ACTUAL native-north americans (mostly from Canada)....

     

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  21.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Sigh...

    I don't know whether to rate this insightful or funny.

     

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  22.  
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    Trails (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Sigh...

    I'm sure Curtis B. Krasik of K&L Gates would say exactly the same thing

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    Re:

    maybe it's the uni-brow that is anti-semitic?

     

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  24.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re:

    "maybe it's the uni-brow that is anti-semitic?"

    Werewolves are Hebrew?

     

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  25.  
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    Beefcake (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    Al Davis Proves the Point

    "However, I don't think I've ever heard the level of dislike towards an owner like the publicly expressed feelings many fans have towards Dan Snyder."

    I think the hatred of Al Davis by Raiders fans (of which I am not) is worse, but he isn't suing them (just the league and former coaching staff). Kinda gives credence to the Streisand Effect point you made.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 1:14pm

    Wow, seems Dan Snyder is a real jerk. I'm glad he filed the lawsuit. If he hadn't I might have read the humorous article about him.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Sigh...

    As an environmentalist, I vehemently object to the Portland Trailblazers.

     

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  28.  
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    PandaMarketer (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 1:33pm

    Nation's Capital?

    Aren't the Washington Redskins from the STATE of Washington? (not the Capital, D.C.)

     

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  29.  
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    dave blevins (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    tongue-in-cheek praise

    A great opinion column in the Wash Post on this. Ran on Op-Ed page on Thursday, 2/3/2011.

    Until reports of his suit, this was below the radar even in most of D.C. area. Talk about a Streisand Effect, wow !!

    http://goo.gl/w6BkT

     

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  30.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Nation's Capital?

    "Aren't the Washington Redskins from the STATE of Washington? (not the Capital, D.C.)"

    Well, if they are then somebody in the NFL is geographically challenged, considering they're in the AFC East division....

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    DS, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Sigh...

    Ah, so that's what your shirt is... I've always wondered... and now I know.

    (PS.. My avatar is a easter-colored snowflake)

    :)

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Al Davis Proves the Point

    "However, I don't think I've ever heard the level of dislike towards an owner like the publicly expressed feelings many fans have towards Dan Snyder."

    When the Chicago Blackhawks announced that owner Bill Wirtz was dead, the crowd cheered. Ask Dark Helmet. I think that's a higher level of dislike than Dan Snyder has received so far.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 2:46pm

    Dan Snyder is the biggest douche bag in the universe

    He needs to be pimp-slapped into a quivering, whimpering, panties-pissing heap on the ground, and then have his teeth kicked out on the curb. And that's before this latest outburst of idiocy came to light! What a whining bunghole he always was and will be. He is a pimple on a hemorrhoid of the anus of the universe, and should be popped. Anyone who has the opportunity to kick him in the balls and fails to take advantage of it should be sent to Gitmo for life. What a punk-ass beeyotch he is! BTW, I am a lifelong NY Giants fan, in case nobody guessed. Other than that, I have no quarrel with the man.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Al Davis Proves the Point

    "When the Chicago Blackhawks announced that owner Bill Wirtz was dead, the crowd cheered. Ask Dark Helmet. I think that's a higher level of dislike than Dan Snyder has received so far."

    It's true. More dislike for the man. Problem is there's a ton of Redskins fans and when Dollar Bill Wirtz died there were about 75 people in the city that could tell you two players on their top line....

     

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  35.  
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    Josh O. (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 2:57pm

    I love this.

    As a Cowboys fan, I love this. This brings a little bit of joy into what is an otherwise dreadful season topped off by the Packers and Steelers playing the Super Bowl in my hometown.

    Also Dark Helmet, Redskins are NFC East, not AFC.

     

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  36.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 3:26pm

    My God! He's an even more gigantic douche than I ever thought possible.

    My last post about that miserable, sub-human sack of monkey dung named Dan Snyder was so off the mark that I am completely embarrassed to have submitted it. It was simply based on his suit and nothing more. How little I knew then! I then read the column linked in this article, and by the time I got to the letter F, I could hardly stand to read any more. But I persevered, and it gave me an insight into douche baggery that I could never have imagined possible, all of it stemming from one galactic scale douche whose equal may never be found - Dan Snyder! Holy frigging shite!

    One creature, the source of such epic douche baggery that residents of neighboring galaxies must be laughing in contempt and derision at the entire Milky Way. The shame! This can never be explained or rationalized, but simply borne by the rest of us for eternity. It makes me ashamed to be a carbon based life form, knowing that we collectively allowed this to happen, and did nothing to prevent or stop it.

     

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  37.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 3:32pm

    Re: I love this.

    You're kidding. They're so bad they're in my conference and I didn't even realize it?

     

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  38.  
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    Prashanth (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 4:49pm

    As someone from that general area, I know that Dan Snyder has a reputation for really thin skin and not being able to take jokes/satire. The reason why this is news is just because no one has seen him react quite like this (though his previous reactions have come close).

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Dork Helmet, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Re: Nation's Capital?

    You guys need to get away from your computers more often. The Washington Redskins play in Landover, MD (NOT the Magic Kingdom of Landover, which you might be more familiar with), a suburb of Washington, D.C. They're in the NFC East, not AFC.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Isaiah Thomas, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Al Davis Proves the Point

    I'm still holding out for the Dolans. Any Dolans. They all suck. They've ruined not one, but TWO franchises, in two different sports, and there are a lot more people in NYC to hate them...

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Dan Snyder is the Devil, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 5:20pm

    Completely lost in all of this is that he basically threatened to litigate the Washington City Paper into the stone age if they didn't fire the story's author. THAT is his most egregious sin (amongst the multitude). He threatened to use his money to bully his way into subverting the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. It was only when the paper refused to capitulate that he filed his spurious lawsuit. Fortunately the paper's lawyers seem to be willing to slap Snyder with a SLAPP suit, which I fully look forward to them winning. Once THAT happens, look for NFL Commissioner Goodell to take action against Snyder.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Someantimalwareguy, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: Nation's Capital?

    "Well, if they are then somebody in the NFL is geographically challenged, considering they're in the AFC East division...."


    Er...you mean NFC East I think...

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2011 @ 6:53am

    Re: Sigh...

    Sort of along the lines of the hypocrisy a sports organization headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana forcing all colleges under their jurisdiction - with one notable exception - to get rid of Native American names and mascots. NCAA anyone?

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, Feb 5th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yep live in the DC area and never heard of the article until yesterday. I sure hope the judge bounces his case quickly. Perhaps we should all forward the link back to Snyder with a thanks for the recommendation.

    This could be a late play for a second win of the Tank McNamara Sports Jerk of the year contest for Snyder.
    http://www.gocomics.com/tankmcnamara/2011/02/05/

     

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  45.  
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    mikez (profile), Feb 5th, 2011 @ 10:30am

    twitter meme

    locals have been having fun on twitter with the #snyderlibel hashtag. though some of them are inside jokes only washingtonians will get, there are some good ones.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    ken, Feb 6th, 2011 @ 6:57am

    bullying journalism

    My gripe is bullying. Our kids are being taught to bully by the news media and especially the sports media! The lack of constructive reporting has turned the media into hate terrorists where all they now do is attempt to increase divisiveness and notch up hate. Who knows where the truth lies anymore! Are they also truth terrorists? I'd love to send some these journalists to Gitmo and get my favorite agents to find out what is going on in the media that is causing so much hate in America. There used to be a word called "sportsmanship". The sports page is now "KILL 'EM"

     

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  47.  
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    Nick Dynice (profile), Feb 7th, 2011 @ 10:14am

    Didn't you know that whenever you offend someone of Jewish heritage you are committing a hate crime and are thus an anti-semite? ;p

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Bat, Feb 7th, 2011 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Pixelation

    Oh so VERY true!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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