Fighting the other guy’s war… March 31, 2008Posted by WorldbyStorm in Blogging, Irish Politics.
There is a problem with the nature of the internet, particularly the unpleasantly named Web 2.0. For those who have use or have access to sites there is the opportunity to use them as and when the mood strikes. Which is unbelievably dangerous because it engenders a sense of importance, which can be illusory, and immediacy, which is very poison.
I’d echo entirely Conor’s words on Dublin Opinion about the recent problems over at Politics.ie, not because I’m a wimpish blogger, or middle-class bottling it in the face of power, but simply because they are right.
P.ie has become a bear pit in regard to all things Ahern and Tribunal. Words were allegedly put in the public domain that have now impelled a legal company into action with charges of defamation.
The possibility of such words being written was obvious, the response inevitable. And that David Cochrane has been, to some extent, caught in the crossfire is unfortunate.
But this is the real world where chances are a legal firm will be first to up the ante – particularly if they think that it is themselves who have been impugned.
To read this then as some sort of attack on Politics.ie with the motive of ‘chilling’ conversation on the topic of the Tribunals or Ahern is nonsense. To see that then as the rationale for a broader campaign to defend ‘free speech’ is near-risible. To then, as some (assiduously hunting with the hounds and running with the hare) suggest conspiracy – or rather air the idea that some are saying it is only to dismiss it while simultaneously spreading it yet further is … well, it is what it is.
In a situation like this there is one solution. The problem is dealt with as it by separate legal teams, because that’s the only way it can be dealt with. No public campaign on the internet is going to change this issue. No appeal to a gallery that will melt away at the first hint that this will incur either financial or other penalties. No dubious relocations whose efficacy has yet to be proven in Irish law.
It requires first and foremost cool heads, restraint, and the sort of compromise that is one aspect of the nature of the legal system. Particularly when what we’re talking about are commercial entities.
But restraint is not the nature of the internet, of boards, or whatever. In an echo of the supposedly ‘legacy’ media, immediacy is all. What is written takes on a life of its own. The ‘campaign’ becomes all, in a perfect simplification. We’re all ‘meant’ to rally to Politics.ie (best of all someone started a P.ie ‘pledge’)…
Nevermind that Politics.ie closed down discussion of the Tribunal and Ahern. Nevermind that they weren’t asked to in the original letter, and were questioned as to why they did so in the second letter. Nevermind that apparently they are going to reopen it as soon as it suits. Not the solicitors. I think the actions were understandable, but developed into the wrong response. So why on earthy would I or any thinking human being pledge ‘support’? Or as a poster on P.ie put it;
I support Dave Cochrane. I don’t support those who persist in putting his site and personal finances in jeopardy especially those mouthing off when service of legal action may be imminent.
My thoughts entirely.
Addendum: I note that Adam Maguire got some unkind words directed at him for daring to express his (entirely moderate) opinion about the matter on Newstalk today. That’s pretty unfair to, as anyone who has met Adam will confirm he’s a good observer of all things internet. Slightly entertaining was the confusion of him with Damien Mulley who is also guilty of thoughtcrimes… albeit ones that date back some time now…