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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hornell Mayor Blasts Online Anonymous Bloggers

Hogan goes off on bloggers

Evening Tribune
By Justin Head

Hornell, N.Y. -Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan devoted at least 10 minutes of Monday’s Common Council meeting to blasting online media commentators or “bloggers.”

“Weather it’s the local paper or the Corning paper or the Rochester paper or the Times-Union paper. There are people that are allowed to blog and say whatever they want with no truth, no bearing, no fact,” said Hogan.

“I don’t mind criticism ... but people who are faceless and nameless, sitting in their underwear in their basement and smoking cigarettes are blogging on the computer because they can say anything they want to about anybody or anything.

“I think that poisons our society today. If someone wants to say something negative sign your name, or come to a meeting, or make a phone call or stop into my office. I’ll never turn anybody away,” said Hogan.

Hogan referred to several comments that appeared on The Evening Tribune’s Web site about an Alstom story on layoffs and stories on the thefts of city hall monies by former clerks.

The mayor called on Hornell High School students in attendance to avoid such behavior. “Don’t fall victim to that. Don’t let someone else do the thinking for you.”

He told the students to draw their own conclusions from the available facts and immerse themselves in various media outlets.


Anonymous said...

Hey Hogan, you ever hear of the first amendment?

P.S. I think you are a terrible mayor and you smell funny.


Terry Wankel said...

Definitely sounds like something that concerns city council. The guy is probably getting blasted for a stupid decision that he had made, and is angry because he can't suppress the "bloggers" like he can the local newspapers.

The advantage to running your own online news site: No boss to tell you that you can't report on the facts on a story simply because it's his friend, or an acquaintance that he doesn't want embarrassed.

Terry Wankel said...

Also, apparently truth, bearing, and fact don't have a place in a city council meeting, as the mayor has no way of knowing if a blogger is sitting in a basement, if they smoke, or if they prefer to blog in their underwear. I personally prefer to blog while wearing a tuxedo. It makes me feel like I'm just typing something up real quick before I head to the prom. ;) LOL.

Anonymous said...

I believe if one is accusing another they should sign their name. We all have a right to face our accuser. Cheryl Bryant

HFCDirector said...

It seems that Mr. Hogan has a loose grasp on reality or would rather certain (accurate) news items NOT be reported or discussed. The article sites layoffs at Alstom and something about his OWN CROOKED EMPLOYEES. His statement that these students should "...draw their own conclusions from the available facts and immerse themselves in various media outlets." seems to forget the fact that the Blogger community, like Jim's site here, ARE the new media. I would think Mr. Hogan would benefit from a healthy dose of reality and be reminded that he actually works for the people of Hornell and not the other way around.

Bad for Business said...

Its the internet Dummy. You have the right to privacy, so if posting by Anonymous offends you retire and go stay in your own basement with just your underwear on.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous blogging only entitles people to not be held accountable for their words! 90% of the harsh, crude comments would NEVER be written if you had to sign your name to it!! Not if that mean't that you had to be (gulp) held accountable for your words?! Could you imagine if we had a name attached to some of these posts?! WOW!!
Freedom of speech means that you are free to express your thought, ideas, opinions! It means you have a voice. I doubt that our Founding Forefathers gave us that right so that one day we could blog anonymously about others?! Gossip, Slander, Lies... Everyone is entitled to a voice, we should be responsible enough to sign our name to it. Problem is.....we lost our integrity along the way!

I'm keeping mine!

Lisa H.

Anonymous said...


Terry Wankel said...

Lisa H said "I doubt that our Founding Forefathers gave us that right so that one day we could blog anonymously about others"

Nope, they did it in print, anonymously. IE, Benjamin Franklin, literature that was passed during the revolution...

Anonymous said...

Communist?! Wow, my husband, father, and grandfather served in the United States Military! I'm a registered Republican who fiercely believes in the right to freedom of speech, the right to bear arms and to keep this Country the way our Forefathers planned it to be. I give my opinion (this is a public blog) about the harm that can come from anonymous blogs and I am called a communist by an anonymous blogger. Ironic?! Not giving a rebuttal, not arguing another side....just communist?! And if they had to sign their name, my bet is they would have skipped the name calling on a dedicated American and just made an educated statement!
But why do that when it's so much easier and fun to just revert back to grade school!?


Anonymous said...

Franklin was not afraid to put himself out front and proclaim his involvement. ie: Signing his name to our greatest creations that began our free nation. Franklin writing anonymous was mostly done while he was in England, whom did not have Free Speech. He wrote these articles as a teenage and used another's name. A person that he believed the public would be more receptive to listen to under some of the controversial issues he discussed!

There was still a person, a name, someone that was held accountable for the articles. The same thing that should happen on public blogs! Not everyone knows who I am: Lisa H. BUT some do, and I would like them to respect an idea or opinion I had rather than posting the news I heard at the hair salon this morning!

Anonymous said...

Communist was meant for the Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan, sorry you mistook it.

Anonymity is essential for free speech. You just have to weed through the graffiti.

We blog anonymously for the same reason you do not use your last name.

Opinion is fine, but a small part of what the people in the military are fighting for is anonymous blogging.

The key U.S. Supreme Court case is McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission. http://www.eff.org/Legal/Cases/mcintyre_v_ohio.decision

Anonymous speech is presumptively protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Anonymous pamphleteering played an important role for the Founding Fathers, including James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, whose Federalist Papers were first published anonymously.

And the Supreme Court has consistently backed up that tradition.

The key U.S. Supreme Court case is McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission. http://www.eff.org/Legal/Cases/mcintyre_v_ohio.decision

And more-
According to the story ‘Court rules in favor of anonymous blogger in defamation claim‘.

The Delaware Supreme Court rejected a town councilman’s quest to find out who posted obscenity-laden tirades about him on the Internet, saying free speech concerns outweighed the politician’s argument that he was defamed.

The decision Wednesday reversed a lower court ruling ordering an Internet service provider to disclose the identity of four anonymous posters to a blog site operated by Independent Newspapers Inc., publisher of the Delaware State News.

The posted entries, among other things, accused Smyrna councilman Patrick Cahill of “obvious mental deterioration” and used the name “Gahill” to suggest that he is homosexual.

In June, the lower court ruled that Cahill had established a “good faith basis” for contending that he and his wife were victims of defamation, and it affirmed a previous order for Comcast Cable Communications to disclose the bloggers’ identities.

But Chief Justice Myron Steele likened anonymous Internet speech to anonymous political pamphleteering, a practice the U.S. Supreme Court characterized in 1995 as “an honorable tradition of advocacy and dissent.” Accordingly, Steele wrote, a court should not order the unmasking of an anonymous Internet poster unless a plaintiff offers strong proof of defamation.

“We are concerned that setting the standard too low will chill potential posters from exercising their First Amendment right to speak anonymously,” Steele wrote. “The possibility of losing anonymity in a future lawsuit could intimidate anonymous posters into self-censoring their comments or simply not commenting at all.”

Steele also noted that plaintiffs in such cases can use the Internet to respond to character attacks and “generally set the record straight,” and that, as in Cahill’s case, blogs and chatrooms tend to be vehicles for people to express opinions, not facts.

“Given the context, no reasonable person could have interpreted these statements as being anything other than opinion. … The statements are, therefore, incapable of a defamatory meaning,” he wrote.

David Finger, an attorney representing a blogger who challenged the lower court ruling, said the Supreme Court decision helps protect bloggers and all citizens against suits filed only to intimidate them.

Craig Marran said...

I dont know Hogan, probably dont agree with him on half of the issues, but I agree 100% with the bloggers. Especially on this site. What a wasted world it has become because people can be chicken enough to try and cut someone or something down and then hide behind anonymous names. Yeah I know its their right. The 1st amendment also gives you the right to stand up and be heard and have everyone know it without be persecuted so the people that preach the 1st amendment are just as hypocritical as the ones that condemn bloggers. Sites like this one with its comments do nothing to help the world. It may be good intentioned with informative news but letting people post crude and abusive messages all the while hiding just caters to this kind of thing. I know people wont change, and it probably struck close to home for alot of people on here when he talked about sitting in your basement in your underwear somking cigarettes, yelling to the wife to "make me a sammitch". Get some guts people, or just stay cowards. That is your right.