Giving Bill White a Big Bandwidth Bill
June 16, 2003 2:47 PM   Subscribe Article Reports and Links to Alleged Cyber-Harassment (thru Yahoo News, no reg, but will evaporate soon)
The story begins: " In hindsight, John Henningham wishes he had never visited ", complete with the direct link to the site in question. Later, the article has a link to another one of the numerous websites that Bill White has registered, using another person's name to accuse him of wrongdoing (he even uses the "Hi, I'm [name], and I'm a scumbag" format), but while mentioning a response site set up by Henningham, the article does NOT include a link (but I do). Is this bad site management (automatically generating links) or bad editing (including the links) or just bad journalism? [more]
posted by wendell (11 comments total)
The whole article is just as even-handed as any story written by a reporter scared shitless of its subject would be (IMHO), but even so, Mr. White has now opened up sites "about" the reporter and his editors. It's obvious he wouldn't be satisfied with anything less than banner headlines supporting his accusations. And considering they all started with the hot button issue of "Catholic Church Child Abuse", the fact that they seemed to have gotten zero media attention - until now - speaks very badly for his credibility. Still, the web responses from his targets/victims (there's more than one) aren't pretty either (even if justified).
So, is this just another web pissing match, started by a hall-of-famer, or is White doing some real damage here? And is the coverage and linkage doing any good? Is my posting this to MeFi doing any good? Should I hurry and register before Mr. White does? And does John Henningham wish he'd never talked to the Times?
posted by wendell at 2:49 PM on June 16, 2003

Busy little beaver, isn't he?
June 16, 2003.  Bill White here.  Well, Steve Hymon and the Lost Angeles Times ran their "kill the messenger" article about me yesterday.  I will put it here in full at the bottom of this page, and work on comments later.

But it is an interesting thing.  Their main source and only picture is "Father" Doctor Trevor Cullen, the ped priest that falsified his PhD in journalism.  Yes, the Los Angeles Times has managed to find and glorify the Jayson Blair of Australia.  That is quite an accomplishment.  How do they go that low?  We will being looking at that.  In the mean time, I think you can assume that "truth" to Steve Hymon is what was said by the last person to blow in his ear.
posted by Guy Smiley at 3:37 PM on June 16, 2003

So I can out up sites about people and spew all sorts of half-truths and outright lies and no one can really do anything about it?


I think the story should have linked to sites from both sides of the story, but then had I been the reporter, I probably wouldn't have met the guy and written the story in the first place. He sounds like a very scary and insane person.
posted by Orb at 4:45 PM on June 16, 2003

Wow. Is it kosher to have all that stuff about White's mental status on the response site? That seems like taking the low road in a bad way.

I mean, what are the ethics of cyberstalking your cyberstalker?
posted by padraigin at 5:47 PM on June 16, 2003

So, what prevents the persons being harassed from filing a civil suit against White in LA? I don't understand. It would probably not be hard to make a judge impose huge fines on him and obtain an injunction against future libel and threats that would impose even more fines.
posted by azazello at 6:24 PM on June 16, 2003

Wow. Is it kosher to have all that stuff about White's mental status on the response site? That seems like taking the low road in a bad way.

The mental status report is "based on professional analysis of the content of his web sites." In other words, a psychiatrist looked at his websites and said "yup, he's nuts" just like all of us did.
posted by letitrain at 6:43 PM on June 16, 2003

Of course if the guy having his name used as a domain to attack him was actually a fictional person known as a corporation he'd have legal recourse. Us flesh and blood types aren't so lucky it seems.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:20 PM on June 16, 2003

Crazy people websites - the freakshows of the internet.
posted by spazzm at 7:58 PM on June 16, 2003

The problem with responding in kind to abuse like this is that it fans the flames. I can see why they're trying to set the record straight, but anonymous psychological profiles based on his Web sites aren't an act that screams "we're the rational ones." It's like responding to a persistent flamer on Usenet -- they always have more time than you do, and most people are just going to become disgusted with both sides.
posted by rcade at 8:29 PM on June 16, 2003

wendell: You left out an important option.
Just a bunch of irrelevant questions in a FPP?
posted by mischief at 8:58 PM on June 16, 2003

Just a bunch of irrelevant questions in a FPP?
My specialty. Considering getting a keyboard without question mark, parentheses and colon, but I'd probably not survive the withdrawal.

Of course these questions might not be so irrelevant to you if you were one of us who choose not to try to be anonymous on the web and still hope some nutcase doesn't use that to shove the internet equivalent of a ten-foot pole up our ass...
posted by wendell at 10:28 PM on June 16, 2003

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