2010-04-28 My Defamation 2.0 Experience

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<hide> <let name=data index=Date>2010-04-28</let> <let name=data index=Author>Erik Moeller</let> <let name=data index=Source></let> <let name=data index=Topics>\Erik Moeller\Fox News\Larry Sanger\Wikipedia\child pornography\pedophilia\Wikimedia Foundation\Gawker Media\Valleywag\Owen Thomas\defamation\Michael Arrington\sexuality\sexuality/child-child\mainstream media</let> <let name=data index=URL>http://intelligentdesigns.net/blog/?p=101</let> <let name=data index=Title>My Defamation 2.0 Experience</let> <let name=data index=TitlePlain>My Defamation 2.0 Experience</let>

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Today, past defamatory allegations based on an anonymous smear letter which distorted and misrepresented early online comments and writings of mine, were resurrected by Fox News. I want to say definitively: I do not defend nor support acts of sexual violence against children and have never defended pedophilia in any way. Any claims to the contrary are false and a deliberate distortion of my views. Any repetition of those claims is, at best, reckless and irresponsible.

I've remained silent on these issues until now, so not to give credence and visibility to these falsehoods. But now, it seems obvious to me that the issue may be regularly revived, and therefore, I want to set the record straight. The experience of being defamed in this fashion has been highly traumatic and distressing to me. Fortunately, I have the strong support of my employer and my loved ones as I deal with this event in my life, and I'm grateful for all the expressions of support I've already received, also from within the Wikipedia community. The Wikimedia Foundation has also published a blog statement of support: I am grateful for that too.

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Two years ago, a Silicon Valley gossip blog operated by Gawker Media, called Valleywag, began a smear campaign against Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation which runs it. Following attacks focused on the personal life of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, in May 2008 the blog ran a series of posts by Owen Thomas which defamed me by calling me a "defender of pedophilia", deriving its claims from articles and comments I wrote in 2000 and 2001, mixed with malicious fabrications and insinuations.

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That's presumably why technology blogger Michael Arrington asked in early 2008: When will we have our first Valleywag suicide? Not surprisingly, Arrington became a target of multiple Valleywag posts after writing the story. Indeed, before Valleywag targeted me, I wrote a post in my own blog, titled "The Rise of the Trash Blogs", in response to the campaign against Jimmy Wales. I have no idea if Owen Thomas ever read it, and indeed, I do know that it was not the trigger for his series of posts about me.

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What's remarkable about this entire episode is how decade-old web writings have been used against me in a blog-based smear campaign, which then, after another two years, successfully escalated into a mainstream news publication. This is an eye-mainstream media can be when dealing with such challenges.

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