Sunday, September 13, 2009

There's no slander on OurConcord.com

I won't go into this in any detail, but the spouse of an elected official in Concord has requested that I "stop slandering" certain elected officials "in the paper or your blog."
Just so we are all clear here, since this spouse is probably not alone, I have not published a single thing that would be considered "slander" by its legal or perceived definitions.
Dictionary.com describes "slander" as "a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report." The legal definition is as follows: "defamation of a person by unprivileged oral communication made to a third party ..."
My pointed criticisms and opinions are based on pure facts, facts which I have either gathered myself, witnessed in documents, or witnessed myself. They have been, so far, irrefutable.
OurConcord.com is both a blog and a news site and, accordingly, will have opinions, analysis, and straight news stories. It is just one person, with occasional submissions from others. However, I'm careful to not print anything that I'm not completely sure of or have referenced from something that can be sourced. If I do make a mistake, I pull it from the page and offer a correction.
The Concord Monitor does not allow "slanderous" statements to be published in its newspaper. You can ask the editors over there for yourself. As regular readers of this site know, I have been critical in the past of their heavy editing, for lack of a better term. So, even suggesting that anything they have published on my behalf is slandering is, well, a little loopy. Lighten up folks.

Over the years of being both a journalist and broadcaster, I have been mystified that readers (and listeners) can't move beyond the difference between news and opinion. Admittedly, with blogs and the Internet, it gets a bit complicated. And reporters, like other human beings, do have biases and motivations that get them to write and report a certain way. Trust me when I say that the good ones work really hard to subdue this instinct. We do the best we can even if it is hard.
But I have found that readers don't always know what they are talking about when it comes to what they are reading, especially terminology. I don't know if it is lack of media education or they just don't care or whatever. But there is a difference between "slander" and "opinion" ... there is a difference between "criticism" and "attack" ... there is a difference between "analysis" and "news." Again, the Internet complicates things, especially when compared to the grand old days of having an afternoon paper with all the day's news delivered to your door (often by kids like me).
In the case of some of the things I write about here, it can be a mix of things. But it is not, and has never been, slander.
If the spouses of elected officials can't handle the criticism, they have some choices. They can ignore this site and others, if they like. They can educate themselves about media literacy and interact in a sensible manner. Or, they can go back and tell their spouses that maybe, just maybe, those with pointed criticism, backed up by facts, might have some reasonable points. Or maybe the elected officials should go back and reexamine what they are doing ... because, maybe, their plans are indeed wrong or not the best.
We live in the United States of America. We have a Bill of Rights that allows us the freedom to speak. Some of us do more than that - we say what we feel and what we know to be true. If you can't take others analyzing important public policy positions in a critical manner, especially when tens of millions of dollars are at stake, then your spouses shouldn't be in the positions they are in. Don't immediately talk down to voters, taxpayers, parents and constituents as if we are children because you don't like what we are saying. Some of us have children. Some of us, in some cases, really do know better than you do about what's best for our families and our pocketbooks.
Lead or get out of the way. Don't lecture us.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some should wonder why you no longer are a "journalist" or "broadcaster"? As for your readership being up, the Monitor Comics Page readership is up as well. Food for thought.

Tony said...

Anony6:25: You're funny! I still work in journalism and I still do radio every once and a while. Why can't you use your real name? Why hide? If you are going to insult folks, have the stones to sign your name.

Anonymous said...

Tony is an editor at a Mass newspaper and has been in the biz for many years.

He puts his name to what he says, and doesn't hesitate to back it up with documented facts.

As to the Monitor Comics Page readership being up, or anything associated with the Monitor readership being up... I don't think so.

Tony said...

That's right Anon8:30, thanks for the note.

Anonymous said...

What you write never rises to the level of slander, but you have strong baises just as the Union Leader has strong biases in favor of some rather far out people. I would never argue with your right to publisjh anything you would like but I encourage readers to look behind the words to what is motivating you at any given moment.

Tony said...

Anon7:40: Fair enough.
And yes, you are correct: EVERYONE should consider the motivations of ANYONE who writes ANYTHING, whether it is a blog, posting board, political Internet site, family-owned newspaper, or corporate controlled media outlet. The more aware people are of motivations, the better they are.
That said, I stand by the site and would note to readers that my prime motivation is to expose the truth to people and to bring about more open and honest government.

Anonymous said...

The first and third anonymous writers seem to be implying something bad without having the courage to actually say it. An insidious type of mudslinging. It could imply anything, but leaves the victim (in this case Tony)without an actual accusation to address.

Small, odious minds.

AroundTown with Dick said...

Good evening, looks like a fairly quiet week after having a messy mini snow bout on Friday. Regardless of big or snow, it's hard to complain about the general services department. They have been trying to keep up with the roads and sidewalks. Plus they need to keep the cemetery roads open as well. Then they also need to take down the Christmas tree at the State House Plaza and Boudreau Square. They will be taking down the banners on Main Street and Loudon Road. So they are are really working up there.

The Fire Department has been doing their great work as usual. In addition to their regular duties,they also need to shovel out fire hyhdrants and talk to citizens about fire dangers, and do training. Both The Fire and Polie in this city are the best you will ever find. And the same way about the General Services Dept. We should be very pleased about what happin this City.

The City Council meets Monday night at 7 p.m. The Agenda seems like a big one.


There is one item that I will be speaking about. There will be a hearing about some of the u-turn
stops that they want to do away with. I drove around Ward 8 and there are several on Loudon Road and Fort Eddy Road that I feel are dangerous. I feel some of these u-turns are dangerous anyway.

My sincere best wishes and prayers are extended to Vern Mitchell, Yvonne Crocker, and Elizabeth Cotsibas. Try to keep positive, all your friends are with you.

Pineconia Grange #322 will be delivering new dictionaries to third grade students in Concord and Dunbarton schools. The Dictionary Project is a nationwide Grange endeavor. Rodney and Shelley Huntoon have done this for Pineconia for the past few years, but were unable to this year. This year I have taken this on. It is a great project and I didn't want it to end. Plus I have included Concord Christian and St. John Regional School as well.

Pineconia Grange meets 4th Monday of the month at Havenwood Retirement Center at 7 p.m. We are in need of members. We do so many community projects, but we need help. The dues for full membership are $40 a year; family membership are $30.00 a year; Friends of the Grange, $20.00 a year; Business Friends of the Grange, $25.00 a year; We also sponsor Boy Scout Troop 90 and Cub Scout Pack 90; also heavily involved with christmas parade and christmas tree lighting and decorations. providing food and holiday surprises along with 10 stockings for christmas for the teenagers.

Please call me if you have news i am doing this like the old days of Town Crier in the Monitor on Sundays. Thanks to Tony, i have been ressurected.