TechCrunch has a story from last week about a top Belgian politician who apparently got drunk in a New York City bar on a diplomatic trip to the US. A bartender at the bar wrote about it, noting how the politician, Pieter De Crem
had acted in a way that was embarrassing. Additionally, his aides admitted that they came to NYC despite the fact that they knew the meetings they had lined up had all been canceled due to a UN meeting in Geneva. The whole thing got an extra spotlight of attention when a staffer complained to the bar owner, and the bartender was fired. But what's most interesting is how De Crem responded, going on a bit of a rampage against bloggers
I want to take this opportunity and use this non-event to signal a dangerous phenomenon in our society. We live in a time where everybody is free to publish whatever he or she wants on blogs at will without taking any responsibility. This exceeds mud-slinging. Together with you, other Parliament members and the government I find that it's nearly impossible to defend yourself against this. Everyone of you is a potential victim. I would like to ask you to take a moment and think about this.
The thing is, he doesn't seem to dispute any part of the original report. He complains about this idea that people can publish without responsibility -- but if the problem is defamation
, then why not deny the claims? If the report was true
, then what, exactly, is the problem? The problem isn't that anyone can publish anything -- it appears to be that De Crem and his entourage didn't do a very good job hiding their questionable behavior.