My take on retractions

Yesterday I re-posted, with permission, a column sent to me by someone who writes freelance. The article was about the MacIver Institute. Over the course of about 8 hours, I received over 15 emails from the same person, first demanding a retraction of the parts of the post that were about him (I complied) then demanding an apology (I did not comply) and finally, “advising” me to take the post down because he implied that both he and the MacIver Institute would sue Blogging Blue for libel.

I explained to this person that I had reached out to the author of the column seeking an explanation, but that until I heard back, I wasn’t inclined to remove the post. That seemed fair to me, since I didn’t write the column myself, and it’s generally good to go straight to the source and gather all of the facts before making rash moves in situations like this.

But that wasn’t good enough for this person. He was relentless with his “demands” both via email and via twitter.

I do not consider twitter, which is public, to be an acceptable forum in which to air grievances.

The way in which this entire incident was handled by the person demanding a retraction seemed entirely unprofessional to me, and felt like harassment. It was extremely stressful.

But this is a good learning experience for me.

For the record, I am a fair person who would never seek to libel anyone for any reason. The ends do not justify the means. My own personal integrity and the way that I treat others is much more important than any post or story.

So I’d like to request that if any of you have a problem with any of my posts, that you use traditional methods to reach me and be patient while I investigate the problem rather than demanding immediate retraction. Please treat me how you, yourself, would like to be treated.

Thank you.



Related Articles

34 thoughts on “My take on retractions

  1. Silly question- How could he sue you for libel? Maybe a copyright violation, but not libel. Even on the copyright, the internet is pretty much open source. You put it out there for everyone to see. If they haven’t paid or subscribed, that might not hold up either.

  2. I read the article before anything was removed, read it maybe 6 hours later, not remembering what was removed. Relentless demands as you described them, does not surprise me, coming from persons associated with that institute.

    Felt like harassment, means that it is likely what you described. I would seek an RO against the perpetrator. Harassment is a form of violence, is abuse. Normally, if there were actual or potential grounds for a liable suit, the perpetrator’s attorney(s) would have explained what was up in a certified letter to you. Have him be served with a TRO at his home or place of employment and be required to appear in court or accept a potential judgment against him.

  3. I wish to applaud you, however done, for at least starting a discussion on the value of the MacIver Institute.

    I believe, from what little I have studied, that a thorough examination of the MacIver Institute is needed.

  4. When a party refuses to engage in a truthful and open dialogue, they resort to coercion. What the MacIver is doing is betting that bullying a party with limited resources to fight back will outweigh any negative publicity that they are bound to receive. I have seen this tactic employed in many other places, and usually by those who do not have the truth on their side.

    I don’t blame you for doing what you did, and it’s not a situation that I would ask to be in. But perhaps some feedback to the Center for Media and Democracy on this matter might help them to further focus efforts on exposing the MI on what they really are. Bullies.

  5. So who ordered the eight hours of tweets about this from the @MacIverWisc account? A highly-trained communications director, savvy in the worldly ways of good public relations?

  6. Ugh! I read the original and can’t remember what the juicy parts might be. I have the redacted version in my RSS box, but that’s no help. I’d appreciate a detailed account. I’m sure it would prove informative and educational, and in that context, could not be construed as accusatative.

  7. Just so you all know, I’m not just going to roll over and allow MacIver Institute operatives to bully me into silent submission. No way. I’ve got a plan, and the truth WILL come out.

  8. I have forgotten what asses the teabagger bloggers are…

    Lisa…is there any way I can read the original post? I missed it.

  9. When someone is libeled, it is your immediate responsibility to remove said libel. It matters not your “feelings” as to how you are informed. Most reporters who libel are tarred, feathered and put out on a rail in TV land. I’d take the relentless demands over legal channels. You should be thanking Wigderson rather then continuing the attacks. As of yet, you have not technically retracted. It’s still on you to do so.

    1. Erroneous.

      Seems pretty unambiguous to me, and I’ve got emails from Wigderson and Fraley indicating they considered it retracted as well.

      So yes, retracted, “technically” and otherwise.

  10. Sir, I have done everything James Wigderson asked me to do.

    Under the 1st Amendment, I am allowed to express my opinions here. It’s my right as an American. Free speech doesn’t exist only for those with whom you agree.


    1. Precisely.

      The offending entry was removed in its entirety, and Lisa’s entitled to her opinion about the situation, which she expressed without mentioning the names of any individuals involved.

    2. [Sir, I have done everything James Wigderson asked me to do.]
      Morally, you should do more. An explanation on what was wrong and your future vetting process to prevent it in the future would be good. At this point, your trust and honor are damaged goods. You are not a reputable blogger.

      [Under the 1st Amendment, I am allowed to express my opinions here. It’s my right as an American. Free speech doesn’t exist only for those with whom you agree.]
      Yes, you have a right to act like a child, try to slight Wigderson further by implying he potentially libeled you and claim to seek vengeance. See above, trust, honor, etc.

      1. Spock, if you don’t like what Lisa has to say, I’d kindly encourage you to find somewhere else to go vent your “righteousness.”

  11. All I did was re-post an article another author had written (with permission) and a full-on war was waged on me. Why?
    Why not just ignore me?
    Why waste time on me, and try to discredit me?
    Why are some people so threatened by what was written? That’s the real story here, not me.

      1. And now I’m banned from Wigderson’s blog, because made a comment that 1) asked for a link to the offending post, 2) pointed out that Bielke also wrote for the Onion, so therefore he could use the (fellow MacIver writer) Fred Dooley “Southern upbringing” excuse, 3) asked who was in charge of the eight hours of @MacIverWisc tweeting, 4) asked what was upsetting MacIver lately.

        No bad words, no insults, no libel… just too many questions.

        1. Ive been banned @ the wiggy pub since my first post months ago. I guess its only open to a select few. Someone with his “sterling reputation” cant handle anyone to disagree with him.

      2. Copied it this morning to be able to reference it. John the only reason I can see for their disagreement is it must come exceptionally close to being the full truth.

  12. [All I did was re-post an article another author had written (with permission) and a full-on war was waged on me. Why?]
    If you only did that and then retracted, all would be forgotten or ignored. It’s your numerous responses that is most concerning. You have no angst about posting potentially libelous material. You are more concerned with the demands of it’s retraction. Then you play the “poor me” and call for vengeance in all pettiness. The real story is you.

  13. My other question- How is reprinting with permission libel? p.s. Do not delete texts, tweets or emails. They make a fine case for a harrassment suit.

  14. I think the point everyone is missing is…just because wiggy says it does not make it true. As a matter of fact its more than likely not true in all aspects, especially this instance.

  15. Spock aka Wiggy’s mom (because who else would stand up for him this vociferously) please tell us in the original post what was libelous.

    Thank you!

  16. The FACT is, I re-posted an OPINION piece by Dustin Beilke, and I was harassed, bullied, and slandered for it(read the post that James Wigderson wrote about me).

    This is NOT okay. End of story.

Comments are closed.