The editorial board of the Times Picayune has added their two cents to the topic that has consumed my blogging time this week in Theriot’s SLAPP suit against the Blogosphere that is well worth the read. Here is a small excerpt:
Most people, though, wouldn’t expect a government to seek information about suspected misconduct by suing its critics for defamation. Yet that’s how Jefferson Parish interim President Steve Theriot is defending a lawsuit seeking the identity of anonymous online critics of his administration.
This suit is a public relations disaster and likely a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Public relations disaster indeed as the master of disaster in the executive suite and his minion at the Yenni Building swung from this:
in less than 24 hours. Something tells me Madam Diable is no longer bored with the concept of blogging.
Even worse for Team Theriot is this ill-advised lawsuit has opened the Pandora’s box as our newest commenter, SLAPPHAPPY pointed out in a comment last night here at Slabbed. Rest assured if we had been named instead of just threatened the motions would already be on PACER. On that matter I speak for Slabbed alone but somehow I think those that Mr Theriot has literally backed into a corner may be left with little choice in this matter as it is clear Theriot and the gang will stop at nothing to eliminate transparency in government.
Outside of the huge PR favor done Slabbed by Mr Theriot, I’d like to take a second to also thank the gang for introducing the acronym SLAPP to the lexicon of the NOLA area blogosphere. Strategic lawsuits against public participation is a topic we well covered here through time as State Farm, with the assistance of a rogue federal judge in Alabama has done the very same thing to whistleblowers Cori and Kerri Rigsby before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals finally ended the madness and kicked Judge William “Little Billy” Acker off the case.
Finally I’d be remiss if I didn’t again publicly acknowledge the outpouring of support we’ve received from other blogs too numerous to mention and more than a few residents of Jefferson Parish who took the time to thank me for taking a public stand. An investigative journalist here in Mississippi told me something along the lines that in the realm of journalism you’re only as good as your word and reputation in the marketplace of ideas. The same is true in the new media and I hope we’ve demonstrated how serious we are with maintaining the right of our readership to express their honest opinions without fear of reprisal.
As always we hope team Theriot comes to its senses and provides the good citizens of Jefferson Parish the open, transparent government they deserve. We’re not holding our breath.
Times Picayune Columnist Jarvis DeBerry has also penned a piece about Theriot’s SLAPP suit which is very good. Here is a peek:
It probably would have been wise for Theriot to include at least one or two Jane Does in his suit, but maybe Theriot figures no lady could be mad at him. What, with his hair?
Clearly, it’s time for Theriot to put on his big-boy pants. Jefferson Parish has beaucoup problems, but people blasting Jefferson Parish or Theriot on NOLA.com (this newspaper’s affiliated website) and Slabbed.wordpress.com isn’t one of them.
And even worse for Team Theriot other bloggers now smell blood in the water. I can smell the fear……