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Unmasking Zero Means Zero

Fri Aug 28, 2009 Miss Vicky 

Perhaps inspired by this case, a lawyer is pursuing legal means to unmask the anonymous bloggers at Zero Means Zero. Of course, it's more than a little ironic that the client of said lawyer prefers to remain anonymous while trying to find out the identities of Joe and Jane Smith, the Zero Means Zero bloggers.

Miss Vicky will be on CTV news at noon today (Live from the 'Burg) offering her comments on the isssue

Any Ottawa Bloggers want to join me in a little of this? I am the Zero Means Zero blogger!

Some people were moved to reply

Mrs.Desmarais Aug 28, 2009 10:41 PM said:

I am really disappointed with the low level of accuracy perceived in the story that aired on the 6 o’clock news on August 28th, 2009, regarding the Ottawa-based blog, zeromeanszero.blogspot.com about Larry O'Brien.

First of all, bringing in Christopher Waddell, of the school of journalism at Carleton University, to state that a blog is a radio station or a newspaper, etc., is a false statement. I think this a foolish thing to do for anyone trying to demonstrate expertise or knowledge about a subject. I think most people know a blog is a blog, and not a newspaper or radio station. If you read the blog you will see the homepage makes a similar statement: “A blogger is not a journalist nor has this one ever purported to be.” Christopher Waddell appeared uninformed about the blog and appeared to be speaking of things he does not know about. His statements represent CTV in a poor light because this news source then also appears not to know the subject they discuss in the segment aired. Anyone who visited the webpage was sure to see the bloggers’ comments on this, as well as the issue of their anonymity, and it quickly becomes clear that CTV’s story held little accuracy.

Especially since the segment also contained another false statement, this time by the Winnipeg-based privacy lawyer, Brian Bowman: “These types of really false and highly-damaging materials need to be removed…” I can understand why someone from Winnipeg may be out of the loop on all the drama surrounding O’Brien’s since his term as mayor commenced. As a local, and a social scientist myself, I am well-informed and have followed O’Brien’s career since he was first elected. I have read some of the postings and find what I read to reflect a high rate of accuracy with what I already knew about Larry O’Brien.

Your segment did not make any mention of how well written the blog is, nor make mention of the fact that Jane & John Smith have used legitimate photos and quotes from reputable news sources, including CTV News. It would be something else entirely if this dynamic duo was using Photoshop to alter pictures of the mayor, but that does not appear to be the case on zeromeanszero.blogspot.com.

They have expressed an opinion, by exercising freedom of speech. This is a human right, and also their right as Canadian citizens. Furthermore, in a democratic country, freedom of speech is an important part of the process for Canada to call itself a democracy. Freedom of assembly (even if it’s online in cyberspace), is an equally important aspect of democratic processes. Remember George W. Bush? Thanks to the American people voicing their opinions freely about their leader and fostering open discussions collectively, they were able to collaboratively work together to select a much better political leader. Amen to that. Freedom of speech is integral to democracy.

In case anyone is unclear about what democracy means, this literally translates as 'the rule of the people' and 'the rule by the people' - 2 definitions are required because democracy is a two-part process whereby people express what they expect of their political leaders and then they vote to select the type of leader they want. And although I am a proud Canadian, I believe that Abraham Lincoln had the best description of democracy as 'The rule of the people, by the people, for the people.' This former president of the United States made a statement about the role of politicians which includes listening to the needs of the people they represent and then implementing strategies, decisions and policies that reflect what the people want and need.

Has Larry O’Brien really done this? And if not, why can't we speak out about it? Regardless of whether it is in a personal conversation, a blog, or a newspaper, we have the right to express our individual views, including views where we state that we want a better leader. This is what makes us a democracy. It also prevents us from having another George W. Bush in a powerful position where lack of integrity compromises good social practice and policies.

In conclusion, I think it's hypocritical of the privacy lawyer's client to ask to remain anonymous while trying to unmask anonymous bloggers, John and Jane Smith.

Alayne McGregor Aug 30, 2009 11:44 PM said:

I find ZMZ not that well-written and certainly double-check what I read there, but I believe the ZMZ blogger has the right to remain anonymous. He/she is commenting on issues in the public sphere and the performance of our Mayor -- and s/he has every right to do that.

I think it's interesting that all these councillors are so upset at ZMZ but don't give a darn about the garbage and falsities being spread every day on the call-in shows on CFRA.

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