In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 27, 2008 / 26 Menachem-Av 5768

Anarchy on the Internet

By Thomas Sowell

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Internet provides vast amounts of information but it can also spread vast amounts of misinformation, or even deliberately misleading disinformation.

For more than two weeks, scarcely a day has gone by without e-mails pouring in to me, asking about columns that someone has written and brazenly spread around the Internet with my name on them.

Most of these e-mails have come from regular readers who are savvy enough to recognize columns that have a different style and substance from my own columns.

We usually think of "identity theft" as involving using someone else's name for economic fraud. But identity theft can be used for political fraud as well— as in this case.

Creators Syndicate, the authorized distributor of my column, is investigating this situation, and it has been like trying to unravel a mystery in a detective story.

First of all, they discovered that there was a blogger on the Internet making unauthorized distributions of not only my column, but also of columns from the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Universal Press Syndicate and the Washington Post. But there was no way to contact that blogger directly.

Since the blogger who posted the recent phony column uses the facilities of Google, an e-mail was sent to Google, which brought a response from people identified only as "The Blogger Team," who declared: "We strongly believe in freedom of expression, even if a blog contains unappealing or distasteful content or presents unpopular viewpoints."

We are all against censorship but the right of free speech does not cover libel, threats or identity theft.


Every weekday NewsAndOpinion.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.

Creators Syndicate's attorney— Charles Adamek of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP in Los Angeles— pointed out in a formal reply that Google has itself created rules for people who set up blogs, and that not enforcing those rules means accepting "this blogger's activity in misappropriating Dr. Sowell's identity and passing off writings as if they were Dr. Sowell's when they are not."

That message brought another e-mail reply from the same anonymous Blogger Team, essentially repeating what had been said before: "We strongly believe in freedom of expression, even if a blog contains unappealing or distasteful content or presents unpopular viewpoints."

Finally, this situation came to the attention of Editor & Publisher magazine, the leading trade publication of the newspaper industry.

On August 15th Dave Astor of Editor & Publisher posted an account of what had happened under the title, "Blogger's 'Impersonation' of Columnist Leads to Creators-Google Tussle."

This account also said, "Aug. 13 and Aug. 14 e-mails from 'The Blogger Team' at Google indicated that the company may finally be looking into the problem. But the piece attributed to Sowell remains on the blog as of this afternoon— Aug. 15th."

This was more than two weeks after the phony column was posted and more than ten days after Google was notified by the attorney for Creators Syndicate.

Finally, on August 18th, Dave Astor of Editor & Publisher posted another account with the headline, "Blog No Longer Posting Wrongly Attributed Sowell Piece."

What is surprising to me is that the bogus column sent out with my name on it has been spread around the Internet in a chain letter, which means that people are passing on something to others when they have no way of knowing whether it is for real or a hoax, much less whether they might get drawn into a lawsuit.

The implications of this episode reach well beyond the newspaper industry. Everyone should be concerned about Internet anarchy in which anybody can pretend to be anybody else, unless something is done to stop it.

If hoaxes like this go unchecked, who can believe anything they see on the Internet? What good would the Internet be then?

If the people who control Internet web sites do not do anything, is that not an open invitation for government to step in? And does anybody want politicians to control what can go on the Internet?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Thomas Sowell's column by clicking here.


Thomas Sowell Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate