The Wild, Wild, Blogging West

I'm all for free speech, but I'm not sure if the U.S. Supreme Court got it exactly right when it ruled that bloggers and those who host blogs are pretty much immune to libel and defamation suits.

I can understand the part about the hosters. If I'm an ISP or host a site with blogs, I don't want to pay for the misdeeds of those who might visit and post from time to time. Nor do I want to spend my days censoring each and every nugget. But to allow people to knowingly post false and harmful information about others with no repercussions seems a mite insane. Your thoughts, libel-free of course, are welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Give it Away, Give it Away, Give it Away Bill!
Bill Gates gave an interesting speech recently about why he started giving away his money, and why it made him want to retire. It seems that spending your days making money -- and evenings and weekends giving it away -- might get confusing. So Bill decided that as long as the Microsoft money keeps pouring in on its own, he might as well devote himself to philanthropy.

Gates is now helping to solve problems few of us have even heard about. Instead of learning that half-a-million children die each year from rotavirus, we are subjected to hours of TomKat's wasteful wedding, Paris Hilton getting hammered and Michael Richards' ridiculous rants.

Gates really nails the disconnect between the goals of capitalism and the needs of the world. For instance, companies have very little interest in curing problems for which they can't get paid. It's the nature of the beast. But as capitalism creates wealth, some of this can be diverted by individuals to treating disease, curing hunger and spreading education. Can Gates save the world? Probably not. But I'd settle for him saving half-a-million kids.

Some PR People Have No Shame
Most PR folks are moral, law-abiding citizens who help bring us all information about companies and products and people. And some are as honest as a nun attached to a lie detector.

Then there are those who would do anything to get their clients publicity, and in the case of BetUS.com, the tasteless tactic worked.

The other day I got an e-mail asking if I wanted to interview an analyst. Hmm, is there a new controversial tool from Microsoft, a major security breach or a new government regulation concerning compliance?

Nah! This PR guy -- I’ll call him Charlie (because that's his real name) -- wanted me to interview someone from BetUS.com about the Rev. Ted Haggard sex scandal. Betting analysts have come up with odds on the Haggard aftermath. The odds are 1-2 that another sex scandal will rock the church, 4-1 that someone else will accuse Haggard of hiring them for, uh, well, you know, and 6-4 that the original allegations will be proved true.

After all this ink, I guess Charlie really is a heckuva a PR guy!

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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