CNN Claims 'Something Must Be Done' About Anonymous Bloggers
from the yes,-but... dept
If you follow political news even slightly, by now, you've probably heard about the whole Shirley Sherrod incident, involving an edited video of a talk she gave, which took her quotes out of context and made it appear she was saying exactly the opposite of what she was actually saying. The original video appeared on Andrew Breitbart's website, so it seemed kind of odd in discussing this incident, that two CNN anchors spent the majority of a video segment attacking anonymity on the internet. The first two minutes just complain about the internet in general, aided by a typically cranky Andrew Keen, but after the Keen segment, Kyra Phillips and John Roberts focus on the fact that people won't put their name behind what they say online:
Of course, anonymity had nothing to do with this incident at all. All of the players were known, so it seems odd to pick on anonymity. On top of that, both Phillips and Roberts seem woefully clueless on the subject of anonymity and liability. Roberts notes that Keen told him about companies that try to ruin other companies by posting false information online. What companies? He doesn't say. Where's the proof that this is happening? He doesn't say. Why the companies who have had falsehoods spread about them by other companies haven't sued for defamation? He doesn't say. In fact, Phillips falsely implies that there are no remedies for this, and suggests it's ridiculous that people have "freedom of defamation." She goes on to say that something needs to be done, and implies that the law needs to change, saying "something's going to have to be done legally," and that there needs to be "accountability." Um.... except defamation laws already allow people to sue over anonymous falsehoods. You would think that newscasters arguing over this point would know the basics like that.
But an even bigger point, as raised by Glenn Greenwald, is the fact that CNN relies on anonymous quotes all the time. It doesn't take long to find articles on CNN that quote anonymous officials. For them to rage against "cowards" who won't stand behind what they say, and then to regularly quote "anonymous" sources, seems pretty damn hypocritical. Phillips claims anonymity online is "very unfair." Phillips also attacks the media for "giving anonymous bloggers credit or credibility." But again, CNN quotes all kinds of anonymous sources all the time.
Later on, Roberts suggests anonymous blogging "has its place" and suggests that place is Iran and North Korea. But not the US. The authors of The Federalist Papers are rolling over in their graves.