Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lucia On the need to identify satire and Colin Craig

I'm not a huge fan of satire. At times it can be funny, and I must admit that I don't mind the odd bit of it, but I'm of the opinion that if a person posts satire, then they should clearly label it as such. For that reason, we on our blog have a satire tag, and I have insisted from time to time that some of our authors also put the word SATIRE in the blog title, especially if the piece in particular warrants it. Satire could be said to be a form of lying, and as such, should be clearly identifiable.

The worry I have is that some people may not realise that a particular post is satire and take what is written as truth, when it definitely is not. For this blog, that means that there is a potential loss of reputation for perceived lack of truthfulness, and worse, is out of step with our Catholic faith.

From the Catechism, The Eighth Commandment:
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.253

It was said to the men of old, "You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn."254

2464 The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.

Offenses Against Truth:

2475 Christ's disciples have "put on the new man, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."274 By "putting away falsehood," they are to "put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander."275

2476 False witness and perjury. When it is made publicly, a statement contrary to the truth takes on a particular gravity. In court it becomes false witness.276 When it is under oath, it is perjury. Acts such as these contribute to condemnation of the innocent, exoneration of the guilty, or the increased punishment of the accused.277 They gravely compromise the exercise of justice and the fairness of judicial decisions.

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:

- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279

- of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.280

2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

2480 Every word or attitude is forbidden which by flattery, adulation, or complaisance encourages and confirms another in malicious acts and perverse conduct. Adulation is a grave fault if it makes one an accomplice in another's vices or grave sins. Neither the desire to be of service nor friendship justifies duplicitous speech. Adulation is a venial sin when it only seeks to be agreeable, to avoid evil, to meet a need, or to obtain legitimate advantages.

2481 Boasting or bragging is an offense against truth. So is irony aimed at disparaging someone by maliciously caricaturing some aspect of his behavior.

2482 "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving."281 The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: "You are of your father the devil, . . . there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."282

2483 Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man's relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord.

2484 The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only constitutes a venial sin, it becomes mortal when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and charity.

2485 By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity. The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray.

2486 Since it violates the virtue of truthfulness, a lie does real violence to another. It affects his ability to know, which is a condition of every judgment and decision. It contains the seed of discord and all consequent evils. Lying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among men and tears apart the fabric of social relationships.

2487 Every offense committed against justice and truth entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven. When it is impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be made secretly. If someone who has suffered harm cannot be directly compensated, he must be given moral satisfaction in the name of charity. This duty of reparation also concerns offenses against another's reputation. This reparation, moral and sometimes material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the damage inflicted. It obliges in conscience.

Satire is not so much lying in order to deceive, as it is lying in order to be funny; therefore it can skirt on the edge, especially if it tends towards malice rather than friendly jibbing. The Catechism says that irony is an offense against truth if it is "aimed at disparaging someone by maliciously caricaturing some aspect of his behavior."

Given that satirists use irony, let's have a look at a case in the media today, whereby the leader of the Conservative Party, took issue with some satire that purported to quote him:

Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig was among the first to point out the National MP’s mistake.

“Williamson likes to talk about big gay rainbows,” said Craig, “but it would help if he understood what the rainbow actually means. After Noah’s flood, God painted a giant rainbow across the sky, which was a message that he would never again flood the world, unless we made him very angry. And we have.”

At the outset, I have to say that in my opinion, the quote above is pretty mild. There's nothing obviously malicious in it, but, it does caricature some aspect of his behavior, which is his assumed belief in the Bible and an erroneous statement about God flooding the world again "if we made [H]im very angry."  The rainbow was a promise not to flood the world again to the extent of the Great Flood, period. The statement could be considered derogatory, in that it attributes a level of ignorance to Colin Craig about what God's promise to mankind was.

The graver aspect of all of this is that The Civilian, to a person that might have just happened upon that one post and that one post only, is not an obvious satire site.  As I said above, my preference for satire when posted on this site is that it is clearly marked so that the cursory reader will not be mislead.  Looking at the title of the site, it reads The Civilian, followed by: "All the news that's fit on a page."


The About Us page likewise speaks of the posts on the site as "news".

Several months ago, however, I came upon a small, promising but possibly illegal business venture that allowed me to accrue enough funds to return to life in a moderately well equipped apartment building in the heart of our nation’s cultural capital, Greymouth. It was from here that I decided to spite my wife by doing the one thing she told me that I could never do: start a newspaper.

The inspiration for said newspaper came one afternoon as I was sitting in my apartment watching popular television show The News. Did you know the news is watched by more than one million people every week? That makes it one of the most watched television programmes in all of New Zealand, only slightly behind such favourites as Border Security and that one with Alison Mau. And I was thinking on this as I watched it, and I suddenly realised “Wait, why doesn’t anyone put the news on the internet?”

It was that idea that gave birth to The Civilian, and it is that idea that is at the very heart of it today.

The Civilian is not just a newspaper. It is a newspaper on the internet.

It is here that you will find the news in a format that you are unlikely to have ever seen it before: online. And so I encourage you, and all those who believe in the common decency of me, to read and share what you find here, to tweet it and like it on Facebook. Together, I believe that we can better inform the public and, much more importantly, make this newspaper New Zealand’s pre-eminent source of news.

The Civilian misrepresents his site as news, but it is satirised news, and should be clearly identified as such so that there is no misunderstanding.  News implies an attempt at reporting the truth, (even though we know that many news outlets fall short of this standard) and by using the word news without any explanation other than what he has said, he risks fooling people and possibly annoying his targets enough to use lawyers, as has happened.

Sure, in reading his site, the more switched on readers will immediately realise that they are reading satire and treat it as such.  Not everyone will however, and so some sort of disclaimer or explanation is prudent, preferably on each page itself.


As an example of what a much larger satirical website does with regards to informing readers on the nature of what they publish, I give you The Onion, who have an explicit statement explaining that what they publish is satire in their Frequently Asked Questions page:
The Onion is a satirical weekly publication published 52 times a year on Thursdays. The Onion is published by Onion, Inc. The contents of this material are © Copyright 2010 by Onion, Inc. and may not be reprinted or re-transmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the publisher. The Onion is not intended for readers under 18 years of age.

The Onion uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

While there is no disclaimer on each page, The Onion is famous enough that most people will know that is a satirical look at the news, while as The Civilian cannot claim quite that sort of fame, in spite of the boost Colin Craig may have given him.  However, The Onion also state that they are satirical,  which may be what many consider the obvious, yet they've still done it.

You only have to look at fiction books to see that disclaimers are par for the course.  From the inside of a Dean Koontz novel, I find the following:
All characters in this publication are ficticious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Just in case some person out there thinks that Dean Koontz is writing all about him and goes bonkers and sets fire to the author's letterbox in retaliation (unlikely, yes) they have this statement in the beginning of most, if not all fiction books.  And not just Dean Koontz's novels, all the others, too.

Colin Craig has also said that people actually thought that what was quoted on The Civilian was what he said, which shows the satirical nature of The Civilian site was not obvious to all readers:
Mr Craig said he knew the post was satire, but others had not recognised it as such.

"I've had people say, 'Gee, I'm surprised you said that Colin'. Not everybody is able to tell the difference.

"I take these things pretty seriously. We are a serious political party and want to go a long way, so making sure that what is reported on what I have said, is accurate is important."
That's pretty significant, having people think that what they've read was actually true.  Maybe those people are morons, as David Farrar says when referring to the types of people that wouldn't realise that The Civilian's site was satire, but sometimes you have to cater for all types when publishing and not discriminate against morons.  However, I think it's more likely that there are more people out there who are not morons, that are very trusting of websites that call themselves "news" sites, not expecting that there are people around that don't have that same regard for truthfulness as they themselves do.

Colin Craig's reaction to being misrepresented by The Civilian does seem heavy handed to some in the Blogosphere and the media.  Personally, I'm not sure a kindly email would have done anything, except maybe generate another satirical post, while as the letter from the lawyers got an immediate reaction and a change to the post.  Not only that, but it generated a whole lot of media attention, which would have then potentially informed those people who didn't realise that The Civilian was a satire site, of the true nature of the site and the posts.

The Civilian couldn't help but throw in another dig at Colin Craig in his amended post, however, when he says, he apologises for potential harm to Mr Craig's "impeccable reputation".
This article is the subject of a legal dispute between The Civilian and Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig, which came about as the result of a legal notice that you can read in full here.

In this article, The Civilian published a statement which it attributed to Colin Craig regarding Maurice Williamson, “big gay rainbows” and the passing of the gay marriage legislation. We accept, upon further review, that Mr. Craig never made the statement attributed to him. We retract the statement and apologise to Mr. Craig for any harm we have caused to his impeccable reputation.

We would like to note that we have also taken the additional measure of bolding the statement in question so that everybody knows which thing it was that Mr. Craig did not say.

Colin Craig has now also withdrawn the threat of legal action.

So, in conclusion, I hold truth to be important, and I think that Colin Craig was justified in the reaction he had to being misrepresented on a satire site that wasn't necessarily obviously satirical.  I think that if he had been satirised in one of Tom Scott's cartoons, he would have just taken it like any of Tom Scott's other targets.  That it was the nature of the post and the site that didn't clearly identify itself as satire that was the problem.  However, politically, it might have been better to handle it differently, as not everyone in New Zealand believes in truth, and as a conservative, Colin Craig to them is fair game.  But then, the outcome was probably as good as can be expected.

And yes, I somewhat disagree with ZenTiger.

Related links:
Maurice Williamson looking pretty stupid after floods ~ The Civilian
Colin Craig warns on satirical quote ~ NZ Herald
Chapter Two:"You shall love your neighbor as yourself : The Eighth Commandment" ~ Catechism of the Catholic Church
Colin Craig threatens The Civilian with Defamation ~ KiwiBlog

16 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

A great piece of blogging!

Offering a well reasoned counter opinion to the lame stream media and other floggers out there.

Ackers said...

FFS Colin Craig is the biggest turkey NZ has produced.

Quite beyond satire.

If we can't make fun of politicians or if 'politics' is somehow above being made fun of we really have reached a point only Stalin could have aspired to.

Brooklyn said...

Politically Correct? No not us.

XChequer said...

Goodness sakes, Lucia. That would be some fine analysis if one was to be absolutely literal.

However the test is would any "reasonable" person find this literal and true. The reason that the proceeding has been abandoned is that the answer is "no" - no reasonable person would. I suspect Mr Craig's lawyer even told him this before the letter was sent and that after the mocking Mr Craig has recieved for his frivolous and vexactious stunt, the client probably listened to the advice given.

Even the "About Us" page that you quote is so rich in absurdity that, despite your literal interpretation and "liberal" use of bold font, most people who can read would realize that this is plainly not news.

You say that if it were Tom Scott, it would have been ok......because......well.... its Tom Scott and everyone knows that Tom Scott isn't serious, right? And if it were The Onion, well they have been round for donkeys, eh? And they have the good grace (sic?) to put a disclaimer out there just in case someone who doesn't know about them despite their longevity and sucess might take them litteraly.

This is an unreasoned argument because its based on the fact that "you know" they are not serious. Does the fact that "you know" now become the benchmark for whether something is satirical?vite you to

As to "not an obvious satirical site", I would invite you to peruse any of the "headlines" on this "news site".

E.g

"Opinion: I am the man who decided to insert a hot dog into the crust of a pizza. I must be stopped"

or

"Air Crash Investigation to be replaced with nicer, more realistic alternative"

or

"Bob Parker contemplating return to space"

If one was to honestly look at these Headlines and say "well, yes!. It is entirely concievable that Bob Parker is originally from space and, as such, it is entirely believable that he may return to said space" then perhaps one may need to re-examine one's definition of real and not-real. Is there any way that someone might infact take this for "news"?

I write this in defense of the ability to speak freely and honestly - the ability to speak within the strictures of soceity's moral bounds (and perhaps within the bounds of the commandment and chatechism's however, I'm not a theological scholar so won't go there) and also in defense of the 99.9999% of people who realised that this was patently not a true story.

Or.......

Your entire post was just a more subtle case of irony - of overthinking and over-analysing a situation - in which case, the joke is on me. :-)

ZenTiger said...

Ironic then that your own reply is very long and perhaps over-critiquing the post?

Your Tom Scott argument is weak. because a cartoon is a different format than a quote. People are expecting there to be a joke or a punchline.

You make the argument that you "write this in the defense of the ability to speak freely and honestly"

Two things. The satire wasn't honest. That was one of the points of Lucia's post. It was a deception designed to make Colin Craig appear as a religious fundamentalist and a bit nutty. If you look at Dim Post's satire piece, you see even less honesty - an offensive piece of writing using the defense of "I was only joking", but comfortable setting up connections of sexual perversion to a christian man, because that is the stereotype liberal progressives like to run with.

Second thing - Lucia isn't curbing free speech, just suggesting that clearly identifying satire and made up stuff is a reasonable thing to do, like using a tag and updating the site's about box.

In that regard, she has used the Colin Craig piece as an example, because we can probably find many other examples where the satire isn't as obvious.

And the problem doesn't usually stem from the 99.99% who take the whole article as satire, but perhaps a larger percentage who still take away the idea that the quote was somehow taken from a comment he actually made - something that Craig Craig has experienced already.

XChequer said...

Zen,

Juvenal is probably laughing in his grave.

Given the overtly irreverent tone of everything on The Civilian's website, I'd suggest that everybody bar Colin Craig and the one person who didn't bother to read the rest of the website but nevertheless asked Colin if he did utter the line, was expecting it to be a joke. Even Tom Scott. Just because its a different format doesn't change the ribbing nature of the post.

How can the satire not be honest? The point of satire is to hold up something or someone and by caricature or humour, ridicule "ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement" (Thanks wikipedia). How was it dishonest?

And by denouncing something that Lucia sees as "bad" and asking for disclaimers to be added because "people might not get it", isn't that trying to curb the rights and abilities of people to satirise? I.e one can only satirise if "we" get it otherwise it must be bound by our rules? Their are already rules out there. If the Civilian had broken them, Mr Craig would be proceeding with his proceedings - which he is not.

Just because something isn't as obvious as some others would like, doesn't necessarily mean its not there.

"
And the problem doesn't usually stem from the 99.99% who take the whole article as satire, but perhaps a larger percentage who still take away the idea that the quote was somehow taken from a comment he actually made"

You mean there is a larger percentage than the 99.99% who didn't get it? Mmmmmm. Will have to ponder the maths on that one.

ZenTiger said...

Careful not to invent arguments where they don't exist. I heard reports that Colin Craig knew the post was satire. His concern is that things are taken out of context, and he was trying to nip it at the source.

Already, people seem to believe he didn't get that it was satire, even though one article confirms "Mr Craig said he knew the post was satire, but others had not recognised it as such."

Your estimate of 99.99% is a number you have imagined up. The problem is that, as I said, the whole post may be satire, but can still give an impression that the satire is built around what people *might* have said, and more than .01% might make such leaps of logic.

Brooklyn said...

The best thing was that the joke wasn't even on Colin Craig until CC decided to display his own rare talent for satire. In case you don't get it the joke goes like this "wasn't it funny how those floods happened just after the Marriage Definition Bill passed". The Colin Craig role could have been played by "Bishop" Brian, The most reverend John Dew, or Abu Qatada or whoever.

ZenTiger said...

Yep, it wasn't on Colin Craig, apart from the name bit.

Oh hang on, I get what you mean now - the liberal mindset imagines that you insert the name of any person associated with any religion for that joke to work.

That's awesome, because now I can make sweeping statements about liberal/progressives without the need to be particularly specific.

It also explains why I'm reading arguments on other blogs that Colin Craig would have said exactly that, no matter what his opinion might be on the matter.

A commenter pointed out on No Minister that Sarah Palin was deliberately and maliciously misquoted to say "You can see Russia from my house" which is obviously to make here appear stupid. And now that quote is attributed to her as if she actually said it. Apparently, a NZ Political Scientist ascribed the quote to Palin recently.

Further in the comment thread, another commenter argues that the lie made more sense than the truth (ie what Palin actually said). But that's only because it fits the narrative that the liberals were trying to portray. Awesome example of progressive thinking though, where what the person actually says is irrelevant to what progressives prefer to imagine they say.

Which is why I think Colin thought he'd engage in his own form of free advertising, using an email from a lawyer to generate a whole pile of free publicity and getting reporters phoning him hoping for further quotes. I'm beginning to see it as a very clever piece of performance art, and I might need to reconsider my first impression on his tactic.

Especially considering he left the way open to get even more press time when he said he was dropping the legal action against the Civilian, but added that he might well be preparing other legal action against other parties.

Brilliant.

ZenTiger said...

No Minister Thread I mentioned

Swimming said...

I think it is as much satire as this from a certain person's e-mail footer " Any mistakes in this email can be put down to professional oversight, hormonal imbalances or the weather. Unless the word “absquatulation” has been used in its correct context somewhere other than in this warning, it does not have any legal or grammatical use and may be ignored. No animals were harmed in the transmission of this email, although the poodle next door is living on borrowed time, let me tell you! Those of you with an overwhelming fear of the unknown will be gratified to learn that there is no hidden message revealed by reading this backwards, so just ignore that Alert Notice from Microsoft. However, by pouring a complete circle of salt around yourself and your computer you can ensure that no harm befalls you and your pets. If you have received this email in error, please add some nutmeg and egg whites, whisk, and place in a warm oven for 40 minutes. If you don't send this email to at least 144,000 people in the next 7 minutes, a large pigeon with a wicked case of diarrhoea will land on your head at 5:00pm this afternoon. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbour's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician. DO IT NOW OR ELSE".

Madeleine said...

Thanks for writing this you made me think and you made some good points I had not considered.

Lucia Maria said...

XChequer,

"This is an unreasoned argument because its based on the fact that "you know" they are not serious. Does the fact that "you know" now become the benchmark for whether something is satirical?"

Er, no. I'm not talking about myself. When I first came across the site, I spent a bit of time going through it and decided that it was satire, and then added it to my sidebar.

However, this post is a consequence of the reaction to Colin Craig's reaction - not my reaction to the site.

Having a look at your blog, I see you have a StatCounter. If you spend any time looking at stats of people coming to blogs, you'll quickly notice that there are some people who pop in, read only one post, and don't actually look around the site at all, and then leave, never to return again. There are others that do look at other posts and even the about page and some of the information about each of the authors, but not all.

I'm getting quite a few of the latter tonight through Twitter. They are only looking at this post and nothing else and therefore only impression they have on this particular site is what they see on this one page.

That is the problem with The Civilian's post - by itself that one post almost read as if it were true (though written humourously), and Colin Craig had people ask him if he really said what that post said he said.

I can see why he would want something done about that, and something has been done and the post even stays up, albeit with some extra stuff added to it - problem solved!

I actually wouldn't consider my post an over-analysis, as it was getting late and I had to stop somewhere, but I still had a few thoughts that I could have written down, but I didn't want to spend forever. In other words, it could have been worse!

Lyndon said...

It's worth noting in this context that Mr Craig has previously extracted a right of reply to a Steve Braunias column [http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/opinion/steve-braunias/7455694/The-Secret-Diary-of-Colin-Craig] in which the only quotes attributed to him are "Go away" and "Now look what you've made me do!"

I don't imagine you'll enjoy the column but I really really cannot conceive of anyone taking it as factual.

And also note that the 'response' did not refer to the content of the original column at all.

As a lover of truth, you might want to ask yourself whether any of Mr Craig's puported justifications apply in that case.

FWIW I consider lying the presentation of a known falsehood with intent to decieve. And the reason the legal test is about what a rational reader would think is that irrational readers - and this being the internet they are legion - will continue to think what they like irrespective. Trying to account for them puts you on a hiding to nothing. (I belive, to use your example, there is a 'The Onion Taken Seriously' Wikipedia page.)

ZenTiger said...

I'm beginning to think we all missed the point, and there is a method to Colin Craig's supposed madness.

Firstly, it is obvious that anyone publicly announcing strong Christian beliefs is going to be the target for much ridicule, and it gets to the point that negative ideas and thoughts will be attributed and assumed EVEN IF he doesn't say those things.

Satire is a weapon in that you can be over the top, and this allows people to say the most horrible things (ie DIM POST recent interview). Of course, everyone is going to understand that post was satire. Yet it reinforces an unsubstantiated idea that Colin Craig is just like Graham Capill, and all Christians are just like that - there is already two threads on WhaleOil that back up this argument (but I refuse to link to that trash). You yourself take the cheap shot and manufacture the stereotype: "Mr Craig, or as he's sometimes known "Mr Crag" which I imagine is some kind of S&M codename) is clearly not of the common herd. " I see a few twitter feeds setup just for the sake of putting the boot in, and they aren't particularly pretty.

So such satire is treated as a "free pass" to just make sh*t up, and if it is funny, even better.

That information spreads fast and unrestrained, and the facts get mixed with the lies and it gets even worse.

Just with this post (looking out outgoing links to other sites) we see two new ideas emerging that are untrue:
1. That Colin Craig believed this was not satire. He didn't.
2. That Lucia thought it was true until she looked at the rest of the site. No, she knew it was satire. She looked at the rest of the site to see the context, and discovered the entire site delivered only satire.

Are rational readers really that stupid that they would get those things wrong? The problem of course, is the rational readers don't always go to the source or read the whole thing carefully, or they get an impression that the story is satire, but the quotes are true. I've done that a few times myself - written satire but used real quotes from Trotter or The NZ Police. (thinking of two recent examples) (Yes, they really said those things and I don't need to make it up, but they may well think that I've misrepresented them anyway.

These are mild examples of some far worse things I've seen, but you might get the point.

ZenTiger said...

So I'm beginning to think that having the tactic of complaining about being mocked is a great way to get some press.

I'm swinging around a bit from my initial reaction [Craig in the Kitchen] Because the press love the fact that they can portray Colin Craig doesn't have a sense of humour and can't take a little bit of bullying, oops, sorry, critique.

Hey, if that's all they got stuck in to him for, it's no problem. However, it's just scratching the surface. So making a complaint doesn't come off well, but he gets free press and his target voting segment get to hear some reasonable words they wouldn't otherwise hear.

Who cares about the 50% of the population that hate his guts just on 'principle'. Another 30% are going to end up hating him because it is reinforced through column inches and satire that usual stereotypical memes that seek to marginalise him and his politics anyway.

That leaves a sizable chunk that might just get a bit sick of the fact that the parties in power don't publish manifestos that they don't stick to anyway and do whatever the hell they want irrespective of voter preferences.

So now we move to the next phase - the liberal cry baby phase.

This is the phase where Colin doesn't play by the liberal playbook. He is supposed to grin and bear it, and instead he threatens legal action. Hey, those tactics aren't allowed. Boo hoo. He's stopping my right to free speech.

No he's not, he's getting some free speech of his own.

It's a variation of the same tactic some liberal/progressives are trying against anything that challenges their own world view.

Gay activists storming meetings and disrupting proceedings, storming church services and disrupting mass, destroying church property in the name of tolerance, ripping up signs and billboards (Prop 8 vote), threatening people, labeling people homophobic if they support civil unions but were against the redefinition of marriage - all just devices to disrupt.

All justified by some kind of right to comment on the commentary.

Well, on that basis, it's our basic right to ask the courts to decide if a certain bit of writing is deliberately defamatory.

Of course, if that right is abused and is frivolous, then liberals start squealing like cry babies. Well, they need to start squealing like cry babies when other types of disruptive tactics are used in the same way against Christian groups for me to give any sympathy.

After all, hasn't he withdrawn all legal action after making the point and getting his press time?

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