UPDATE : Even though I didn't mention the name of Daily Telegraph journalist Tim Blair in the story below, Blair's lawyers seem to think this story is about him, and have sent threatening letters demanding a compensation payment for the "immeasurable hurt" I've supposedly caused by publishing it on this blog.
Much of this "immeasurable hurt" appears to have been inflicted by my merely linking to the posts on the Pure Poison blog that first broke the story that either Tim Blair, or someone in Tim Blair's household, using the alias 'WB', was filling comments at his own blog and other blogs defending him, or trying to steer conversations about Blair away onto other subjects.
At Tim Blair's Daily Telegraph blog, 'WB' posted some 70 comments in just a couple of months.
According to blogger Jeremy Sear, who claimed he spoke to him on the phone, Tim Blair acknowledged that while 'WB' was posting comments at his blog, and other blogs, all through his home internet account, he didn't know anything about it. Or that he did know, but wasn't prepared to disclose who 'WB' was.
The letter from Tim Blair's lawyers I received after first posting the below story, also demanded I stop posting other "defamatory" stories about the Daily Telegraph's associate editor on this blog, though they didn't point out any other stories that are allegedly defamatory.
Letters from Tim Blair's lawyers threatening legal action have also been sent to at least three other bloggers who either wrote about what 'someone' in Tim's house was getting up to online, or linked to the same Pure Poison stories that I linked to below (which are now deleted).
Even though the links in the below story now lead to a blank page at Pure Poison, I've been told by Blair's lawyers these links to nowhere should disappear from this blog.
Not so long ago, Blair would have taken on his critics and his mockers at his blog, and would have made a fair to decent attempt at slaying them mightily. It probably would have been funny, too.
The game has changed. This is serious.
You occasionally hear about people taking legal action against Murdoch newspapers or columnists or journalists for something they've written or claims they've made online or on air.
But this is the first time I've heard of any Murdoch journalist trying to sue bloggers for merely linking to a story about them, and demanding other stories and comments discussing the linked story be deleted from a blog, and forever disappeared from the Google cache.
Obviously I won't be taking down the below story. Such an action could be perceived as an admission of guilt. Or cowardice.
Anyway, if I disappear the below story Vex Voyager will be pissed. It's the only thing he's done that I've allowed him to post on this bog. I have no intention of causing him "immeasurable hurt."
And as far as "defamatory" comments on a blog go, here's one that's been up for a couple of years at Tim Blair's old blog, where one of his regular commenters made up the following psychotic slander and posted it under my name :
Killing Howard is laudable. Killing his cabinet got to be OK too. Killing members of the Liberal party - that has to be a plus, surely. And what about the Nationals? We’ll kill them too. They helped keep Howard in power. And Family First, slit their throats. And what about other Christians, they are conservative and probably voted Liberal. Best kill all them along with small businessmen. There is a real hotbed of Liberal sentiment among these fascist businessmen. Don’t forget the Jews, the money grubbing bastards. They have to be next. Then there are those class traitors, the workers who voted Liberal. Kill them all. Purge the public service of suspected Liberal sympathisers too. That teacher over there. He’s wearing a tie so he must be a conservative. String him up. Hey, that guy’s got an American accent. Slaughter him and his baby too. It’s in their genes, you know. It’s a lot of people to be massacred but it will reduce greehouse gases in the long run.Blair knows I didn't write that. But he has no problem with it remaining on his website under my name. He refuses to delete it, or apologise for its publication.
Fortunately, I don't suffer so easily from the "immeasurable hurt" bloggers and commenters and links apparently inflict on Tim Blair, even though the above grim tirade posted under my name has led to some interesting, if very short, job interviews when some Googling was done.
I AM NOT A SOCKPUPPET AND NEITHER IS MY CAT
By Vex Voyager
There's been a bunch of accusations floating around the Australian blogstream in recent weeks, in which it is claimed that a 'journalist' with a major daily Sydney newspaper has been commenting away like a maniac on his own and other blogs under an assumed identity, or assumed identities, or that someone very close to him is doing all this, from his home.
The journalist's excuse when he was called on this alleged sock-puppetry by the rowdy lads at Pure Poison, basically ran something like this (not direct quotes) :
Yes, someone in my household has been commenting on my blog, and other blogs, trying to shield me from criticism, but it's not me. I either don't know who is doing it, from my home, maybe even from my own laptop, or I'm not prepared to say who it is. And by the way, my lawyers have a letter for you. So here's a big bowl of shut the fuck up.The 'journalist' now accused of what most bloggers call 'sock puppetry', and who has had great fun in the past accusing other bloggers of doing what he now stands accused of, and who has often railed about Evil Pagan Lefties threatening defamation to try and shut up up bloggers like him, has swallowed down a whole bucket of "I'm A Fucking Hypocrite" and has now set his lawyers loose on bloggers who won't shut up about this story.
The Orstrahyun has asked the 'journalist' three times to answer three simple questions about who, if not himself, is writing all those nice things about him online, from his home. Three simple questions. But he refused to answer any of them, instead warning The Orstrahyun to leave the story alone, and go away.
As if that's going to happen.
So, instead, I made up a false identity, Vex Voyager (edit...No you didn't, I'm real - Vex Voyager), to ask myself some hard questions about The Evils Of Sock Puppetry.
VV : You've been accused of sock puppetry, that is writing comments online about your own work under an assumed name, haven't you?
DM : Yes, I have. But I deny everything. It could have been anyone in my house doing it, when I'm away or asleep. You can't prove anything.
VV : Who else in your household could have done it?
DM : Anyone. It could have been the maid, the butler....the sushi chef, he spends a lot of time online, playing games I think, but you never know....
VV : So someone else in your house is going online and writing nice things about you, and going after your critics, when you're asleep or at work, and you don't know who that person might be?
DM : LIke I said, it could be anyone. But It's Not Me. I know that....I'm pretty sure of that. Yep, damn sure. I think.
VV : Hmmm...
DM : Maybe it was the cat....
VV : The cat?
DM : Yeah. He's pretty smart. He can knit blankets out of his molting fur to keep himself warm. How environmentally friendly is that? He should get a whole lot of carbon credits for cutting down on...
VV : You must think I'm the Mayor Of Stupidtwon to believe something like that.
DM : I'm not telling you what to believe. Make up your mind. But my cat is whip-crack smart. That I do know.
VV : Can your cat work a keyboard?
DM : He can hit the keys, but the music is mostly shit.
VV : ....no...I meant, does your cat know how to type?
DM : I've seen it sitting there, licking the mouse pad. I don't think if it smells of mouse, but...
VV : But you were saying before that someone else in your house must have been leaving those comments saying nice things about you online, under fake names....
DM : What's a fake name anyway? I mean, what sort of fucking name is Vex Voyager? I once met a guy named Tooty Von HammerFix, and...
VV : That never happened. Now, you claim as your defence against accusation of sockpuppetry that someone else is writing comments on your own blog, from your home, from the same internet IP address, but you don't know who it is. Is that correct?
DM : Maybe someone comes in at night, when I'm asleep and pushes the cat aside and...It could happen.
VV : Someone breaks into your home and steals nothing but while they're there they get on a computer and leave nice comments about you at various blogs, talking up your work? And they do this over and over again? Night after night? And you don't know who it is?
DM : Hey, like I said, before....how do I know it wasn't the cat? I'm sure the cat understands that if, say, I was working at a major Australian daily newspaper, and I was doing a blog that maybe earned money for me based on how many people were recorded visiting and commenting on my site, if that was the situation, well, the more I earn, the better the cat eats, right? I mean, if I earn more because more people are supposedly visiting my site and leaving comments and I could make retarded claims that my blog is The Blog An Entire City Is Talking About, then I could afford those treaty cat biscuits with the soft, creamy fishy centres. Cats love them. They're like fucking crack for cats.
VV : And you also think your cat might be waiting until you go to sleep, then jumping online and reading through blogs looking for valid and often viciously accurate criticisms of you and then your cat is typing responses either defending you or steering the comments off onto another subject so other commenters stop hammering you...
DM : Yes, this could be so.
VV : And your cat is doing all this, while you're asleep...
DM : Or at work.
VV : Or at work....your cat might be doing all this, falsely inflating your blog's comment counts because it knows if you earn more money it will get a better kind of cat food? Do I have that right? Is that the full story?
DM : I didn't say that is what happened, I'm just saying, maybe it could happen that way. Who knows? I don't know. But someone in my house is doing it, and it's not me.
VV : So it could be the maid, the butler or the sushi chef, correct?
DM : Or the cat. I'm not saying it is, but....
VV : You don't have a sushi chef, do you?
DM : No.
VV : And there's no butler. No maid.
DM : ............correct.
VV : Do you think there's a need to exaggerate about such things?
DM : What do you care? You don't even exist.
VV : Yeah, that's right....