Former NSA Official Thinks A Blog Containing Nothing But His Own Tweets Is 'Defamatory'

from the hilariously,-falsely-accusing-someone-of-defamation-is-defamatory dept

Many people have varying ideas as to what exactly composes defamatory content. Some mistake statements of opinion ("this product sucks") for defamation. Some feel anything that doesn't describe their products or services in glowing terms is defamatory. Some feel any sort of criticism is defamation, even if the criticism is based on known facts.

But John Schindler (whose strange foray into Wikileaks/Snowden conspiracy theories we've covered here previously), former NSA officer and holder of a PhD in history (just ask him!) has gone far beyond any of these misperceptions. According to him, things he actually said are defamatory if published by a third party.

I have no idea how someone as self-assuredly brilliant as John Schindler would make this error but here's the chain of events. Schindler routinely berates anyone who questions his claims, calling them "stupid" and refusing to advance the argument past endless appeals to his own authority (the aforementioned PhD). Someone took notice of Schindler's tactics and crafted a Tumblr blog containing nothing but screenshots of actual Schindler tweets.

Here's a few of the tweets just to give you an idea of both Schindler's "conversational" patterns and the blog's content.







So, if there's anything unflattering contained here, it's Schindler's own tweets. Oh, and this amazing banner.



But when someone brought this blog to his attention, this was his response.
A few other Twitter users, despite being on Schindler's side, pointed out that there was nothing defamatory about collecting and posting Schindler's own words. So, Schindler doubled down.
This, of course, resulted in more derision, including a repurposed movie quote from a very familiar hat.
All the PhDs in the world aren't going to save you from having your own direct quotes turned against you. If anything, it only confirms what Schindler's critics believe: that he's pompous, arrogant and unwilling to actually engage in a debate. Instead, he prefers to belittle anyone who doesn't hold a precious PhD in history, using his doctorate to paper over any flaws in arguments.

I can't imagine it's much fun to see your Twitter feed boiled down to little more than shouts of "stupid!" and continuous pointing to a framed piece of paper, but whether Schindler likes it or not, those are his words and those are his go-to rhetorical devices. For someone who frequently uses the hashtag #caring to show his contempt for the ire he provokes, he certainly can't seem to take having his own abuse heaped on his Carebear-surrounded head.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 11:57am

    Oh my, I'm willing to see him throwing his phD in History at popehat and getting a taste of Ken's phD in "Owning People Full of Shit".

    Tell me he challenged popehat, please do!

     

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

  2.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 12:10pm

    These seem fitting

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-authority

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem

    Also, called out by Popehat, hope he has fun pitting that PhD in history against a site full of lawyers, somehow I think they've got just a titch better idea as to just what constitutes 'defamation'.

     

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

  3.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 12:13pm

    Re:

    While a delightful idea, it's very unlikely he did so, people like that tend to run like crazy when they're faced with someone able, and willing to list and provide references as to just how wrong they are, something Ken would have no problem doing.

    More likely he tried the standard tactic for people like that of suddenly going quiet, and/or desperately changing the subject and hoping no one notices or calls him out on it.

     

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

  4.  
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    sehlat (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 12:30pm

    George Carlin Already Covered This Whole Thing

    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 12:35pm

    Doesn't PhD usually stand for "Pretty hilarious Dumbass"?


    Dont get me wrong, most PhD's are brilliant in what they wrote their paper on, but it seems like so many of them turn in their common sense when they get handed their degree...

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    David, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    Popehat's attention?

    Oh boy, that's a Streisand starting tinderbox he probably really doesn't want to set off...

     

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  7.  
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    Beta (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 12:48pm

    Re:

     

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

  8.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 12:48pm

    sounds like a bully and an ass.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Beech, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Hey, I bet Schindler has a PhD in Defamation too, so, I'm sure he knows what he's talking about, right? Right?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Re:

    Broad brush much?

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 12:54pm

    Re:

    Imma betting on 'roid rage.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    mcinsand, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 1:03pm

    brilliance

    >>Dont get me wrong, most PhD's are brilliant in what they
    >>wrote their paper on,

    From what I've seen, this isn't necessarily so. A PhD is supposed to show proof of added training in an area as well as an ability to carry out an investigation in that area. I've worked with a lot of PhD's in my career, and I wonder a bit about how well those two hold up. As for brilliance, if the frequency is higher in PhD's than the general population, I don't see it. I have known brilliant PhD's, but I have also known brilliant people that did not go on to graduate school. One belief that I do firmly hold is that, when a PhD holds up their degree as a proof of higher intelligence, then the individual is not a member of the higher intelligence PhD group.

    FWIW, I have a PhD... in polymer science. So, I am no doubt unqualified to speak on this topic. It's what I see, though, in three decades of working in research laboratories.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 1:09pm

    Brings back memories of Grubor...

     

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

  14.  
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    Mark Wing, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 1:13pm

    A history teacher who doesn't understand the law. Who could have seen that one coming.

     

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

  15.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 1:18pm

    Re: brilliance

    "One belief that I do firmly hold is that, when a PhD holds up their degree as a proof of higher intelligence, then the individual is not a member of the higher intelligence PhD group."

    Gotta agree with you on this one. I have known and worked with many PhDs. The ones who cringe when you call them "Doctor" are more likely the best and brightest; the ones who volunteer their PhD or mention it out of context generally lack some essentials ... like breadth of common knowledge, self-awareness, stuff like that. (Like someone telling you how honest they are = red flag.)

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 1:24pm

    An ugly new defamation site against me....
    ...as opposed to the ugly old defamation site?

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 1:34pm

    Re:

    Just means being knowledgeable (about something) does not equal being intelligent.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 1:34pm

    You show me a PhD who corrects you with "Doctor" when called "Mister," and I'll show you an insecure pompous ass.

     

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

  19.  
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    DOlz (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 1:35pm

    Re:

    I guess he wouldn't complain if it was a pretty new defamation site. Lets face it care bears are tacky.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 1:40pm

    Re:

    That's DOCTOR insecure pompous ass to you my good man.

     

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

  21.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: brilliance

    My observations of life have shown me this:

    If you feel the need to keep reiterating how smart you are when in a debate, you have already lost that debate.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Baron von Robber, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Intelligence: Knowing the coordinates of Walla Walla Washington, it's annual rainfall, population size, demographics, etc...

    Wisdom: Knowing what to do when you get there.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 2:00pm

    You give Phd's, a bad name

    Pompous PHd holders who think that a piece of paper actually means something make actual smart PHd holders look bad.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re:

    meh, there is only one person who can rightfully demand to be called doctor and he is from Gallifrey...

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    steven roth, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 2:04pm

    PhD's

    The problem with many PhD's (we used to call the degrees, BullShit, MoreShit, and Piled higher and Deeper)is that their focus on a particular field is so narrow, they can't see the forest for the trees, and are extremely close minded and unable to think from any other perspective other than their own ego. What separates true genius is the ability to think outside of your prospective, like Einstein did. The great minds of the scientific revolution, everyone from Galileo, Newton, and even DaVinci, to more recent minds like Tesla, what made them so brilliant is that they had a very good grasp of multiple disciplines in science, not just one. It seems anybody with half a brain these days and enough money can get a PhD and put it on their fridge next to the picture they colored in without going outside the lines. The most brilliant people I have met and known personally, have been self taught/educated, some even awarded honorary doctorates later in life for their success and contributions.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    observer, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: brilliance

    Related to Danth's law: if you have to say that you've won an argument, you haven't.

     

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

  27.  
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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 2:16pm

    This reminds me of the old joke about what a PhD REALLY means...

    "You know what BS is, right? Well MS is just more of the same. And PhD? That is more of the same, just piled higher and deeper!"

     

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

  28.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 2:42pm

    Re: These seem fitting

    Yes, this. I've known and worked with MANY PhDs in various fields, and I've noticed a few things they all have in common. One of them is that very, very few of them constantly point to their PhD in debates or demand that they be called "Dr." unless they're medical doctors -- which is the same thing as pointing to their PhD.

    The ones who do are invariably the least capable ones.

     

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

  29.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 2:53pm

    Re: PhD's

    yeah, but how well do those brilliant people color?

     

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

  30.  
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    ECA (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 2:54pm

    SORRY

    http://www.usnwc.edu/Academics/Faculty/John-R--Schindler.aspx

    Im looking at this and cant figure out WHERe he gets this knowledge..

    Dr. Schindler holds three degrees in modern history: a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. from McMaster University.

    Then I see his title..
    Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI, where he is a specialist on intelligence, terrorism, and European security issues. He is also a Senior Fellow of the International History Institute at Boston University.

    HOW do you get a professorship in security??

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Kevin Creel, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 3:08pm

    Re: PhD's

    spot on

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Mark McDonald, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Intelligence: Knowing the coordinates of Walla Walla Washington, it's annual rainfall, population size, demographics, etc...

    Wisdom: Knowing what to do when you get there.


    Genius: Never going to Walla Walla at all.

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 4:10pm

    Worked for the NSA, can't understand the law...
    I see a pattern...

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 4:26pm

    Lying shithead

    nothing but his own tweets, if you had one brain cell it would die from loneliness!!!

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2014 @ 6:54pm

    Careful what you wish for

    Can we have that asshole John Schindler charged with defaming himself then? That would really make him look like a genius.

     

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

  36.  
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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 8:36pm

    I encountered this moron when looking for more direct sources on info about Crimea.

     

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

  37.  
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    kyle clements (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 9:08pm

    Re: Re: These seem fitting

    I have a fair number of good friends with PhDs, and I am acquainted with many other PhD havers.

    None of them ever point out the fact they have PhDs, it only comes up casually in conversation years later.

    "Hey can you help me with this coding problem I'm having? Oh, wow, you are really good at math! Oh, you have a PhD in the subject? So I should have been calling you "Doctor" this whole time? Hahahah! Another round?"

    The only person I've ever met to incessantly point out that they had a PhD was the worst, most useless prof I ever had the misfortune of studying under.

    Generally, people who are really good at something don't have to point out their qualifications, as their work speaks for itself.

     

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

  38.  
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    Papagnome (profile), Mar 18th, 2014 @ 10:15pm

    Re:

    Heh. "I'M COMING FOR YOU LEWISSSSS!"
    http://www.panix.com/~tori/humor/50ft.html
    Attack of the 50 Foot Grubor
    I chuckled for days over that one.

     

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

  39.  
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    JustMe (profile), Mar 19th, 2014 @ 4:45am

    John Schindler

    John Schindler PhD (Pompous Hackneyed Ass) sounds like an idiot with the mother of all inferiority complexes. His self loathing manifests itself as anger toward anyone he suspects of being either smarter than he is (which is probably pretty much everyone) or not an expert (in his very specific and narrow field) because they are probably able to function in the big world on their own and not color outside the lines.

    He also doesn't appear to understand the definition of the word 'defamation' - which is funny to me. Looking forward to the Popehat smackdown.

    I enjoyed reading his own words over at http://schindlertweets.tumblr.com/

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Strelnikov, Mar 19th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Schindler's List (of Tweets)

    What a dumbass.

    Of course, that's just my opinion.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Corpus Crispy, Mar 19th, 2014 @ 1:08pm

    Schindler

    A PhD is like a dog tag. You can be pretty sure the dog doesn't have rabies, but that doesn't mean he's house broken.

     

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

  42.  
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    KevinEHayden (profile), Mar 19th, 2014 @ 1:44pm

    Re: PHD

    This guy just confirms my belief that PHD stands for Pointy-Headed Doofus!

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2014 @ 8:09pm

    John Schindler obviously must have done his post grad work alongside Wile E Coyote, Super Genius.

    I am not an attorney, but I don't think you can sue someone for defamation for directly quoting what you said. Perhaps I made a mistake in my initial statement, maybe he studied under him, and not alongside.

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Oldav8r, Mar 19th, 2014 @ 8:28pm

    Re: SORRY

    Tenure..

     

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

  45.  
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    Sardondi (profile), Mar 20th, 2014 @ 12:05am

    We used to call this...

    I see that Schindler's Lists contain endless references to his professorship, which he attempts to use as a cudgel to silence those with opposing opinions. This kind of transparent boasting used to be regularly derided on the interwebz as, *ahem*, "dicksizing", and was considered an absolute admission of one's fears that one really didn't measure up.

     

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

  46.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Mar 20th, 2014 @ 1:19am

    Re: These seem fitting

    I'd like to see an addon/widget/api that allows readers to attach these fallacy icons to comments, much like insightful and funny works here on TD.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Tom OB, Mar 20th, 2014 @ 7:35am

    Prof's Twitter Header

    How is it possible that there are no unicorns in his header? Where is the outrage?

    @tomob

     

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

  48.  
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    SonderTwyful (profile), Mar 21st, 2014 @ 4:16pm

    Popehat

    Naw ... Prof Blowhard disengaged. Shows he has some semblance of common sense. He would have been slaughtered. Shame, tho. I was really geared up for a gladiator vs lion type battle. ...sigh... I'll just have to look for my entertainment elsewhere for a while.

     

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


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