Before my rant, I do hope my readers had a happy and peaceful christmas holiday and that together, we will all have a prosperous 2018.
There was a time when even known IRA hard men, strongly suspected of killing innocent civilians, were treated with respect and restraint when arrested. You see, officially, the law states that you are, “Innocent until proven guilty.”
The very worst of mankind are entitled to their day in court and access to a fair trial. It can test the patience of a saint at times but our system is a glowing example of out humanity and our democracy. It demands that we calm down and study the facts. It expects intelligent analysis of those facts, deliberation on the evidence and expert opinion in some cases. Twelve good men and true must ponder it all while feeling the full weight of the responsibility placed on their shoulders. Conclusions cannot be jumped to but instead, guilt must be proven beyond doubt. . Then and only then can a judgement be made and a conviction of guilt applied.
Today though, that has all changed. Now all you need to do is to go anonymously onto Twit-Face, pick any high profile person you like, preferably a white male one and type in that you have heard/spotted this Mr ‘X’ behaving in an inappropriate manner with a child. Then you can sit back smugly and watch your lying poison go viral. You have made an unsubstantiated accusation knowing that it alone can destroy ‘Mr ‘X’. The coward hiding behind the keyboard is a modern evil of our times and incredibly, for each one of them, there appears to be thousands of supporting condemners lurking about and only too glad to also put the boot into any Mr. X.
Another tactic that is becoming popular with these accusers is to find some comment that the targeted Mr X made twenty or thirty years before, twist it out of context and then christen Mr X a modern day misogynist and/or a racist. That will always get the feminist vote out with loud vocal support for the keyboard coward. It is vicious and nasty and becoming more prevalent as well. Mind you, this is not to suggest that Mr. X is always innocent. The point though is that guilt is unproven yet damage is inevitably done to Mr.X. Legend has it that LBJ, in one of his early congressional campaigns, told one of his aides to spread the story that Johnson’s opponent fucked pigs. The aide responded “Christ, Lyndon, we can’t call the guy a pig-fucker. It isn’t true.” To which LBJ supposedly replied “Of course it ain’t true, but I want to make the son-of-a-bitch deny it.” When you are accused in the wrong, you can find yourself pedaling backwards and on the defensive as you try to clarify things. You run the risk of appearing shifty and dishonest.
So how can any Mr. X defend himself today? Under law, defamation of character is an offense for which a complainant may be eligible to bring another party to civil court. There are two types of defamation: spoken defamation, or slander, and written defamation, or libel. One essential element in any defamation action is that the defendant published something defamatory about the plaintiff. A communication may be considered defamatory “if it tends so to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating with him,” according to the American Restatement of Torts (or “The Restatement”). Examples of defamatory statements are virtually limitless and may include any of the following:
• A communication that suggests the plaintiff was involved in a serious crime involving moral turpitude or a felony.
• A communication that exposes a plaintiff to ridicule.
• A communication that reflects negatively on the plaintiff’s character, morality, or integrity.
• A communication that impairs the plaintiff’s financial well-being.
• A communication that suggests that the plaintiff suffers from a physical or mental defect that would cause others to refrain from associating with the plaintiff.
On the surface of it then, Mr. X has recourse to justice. This has always been the case for media journalism where the first law for the journalist is, “Don’t get us sued.” And yet it seems that the media can row in behind an unproven accusation and repeat it often enough that an audience comes to believe it must be true. Kevin Myers made the point that well paid female newsreaders who were agitating for equal pay with their male counterparts were remiss for also not agitating for equality for the female canteen staff. I wrote about George Hook’s alleged crime in an earlier article and I contend that all both men wanted to do was balance their respective debates and invite comment. But no! Instead what we got was the outraged, self-righteous lynch mob baying loudly for the blood of both men based on unsubstantiated accusations. I say unsubstantiated because the only substance they have are that they subscribe to a narrative promoted by vested interests in certain quarters. This unsettling narrative is not based on common sense nor will it tolerate free thought or free speech of any kind. If you depart from the narrative you will be bombarded by wild accusations, your denial of guilt will be viewed as proof of guilt and after constant repetition of the false accusations you find yourself convicted without trial. It has become mob rule by the vested interests behind the keyboard cowards and their faceless followers.
It is a societal sickness of the modern age, one that will utterly destroy civilized society if it isn’t tackled and reined in.