CNN hosts: In light of Sherrod story, legal steps/”checks and balances” system needed for bloggers

Alana Goodman from Newsbusters files this disturbing report:

Should there be a “gatekeeper” regulating internet bloggers? In the aftermath of the Shirley Sherrod incident, that’s what CNN promoted on July 23.

Anchors Kyra Phillips and John Roberts discussed the “mixed blessing of the internet,” and agreed that there should be a crackdown on anonymous bloggers who disparage others on the internet.

“There’s going to have be a point in time where these people have to be held accountable,” Phillips said. “How about all these bloggers that blog anonymously? They say rotten things about people and they’re actually given credibility, which is crazy. They’re a bunch of cowards, they’re just people seeking attention.”


“Well what Andrew talked about with me was this idea of a gatekeeper but there are huge first amendment rights that come into play here – freedom of speech and all that. And he said the people who need to be the gatekeepers are the media to check into these stories,” said Roberts.

Phillips wanted to go even further, asking if “there’s going to come a point where something’s going to have to be done legally” about anonymous bloggers.

“There has to be some point where there’s some accountability. And companies, especially in the media have to stop giving these anonymous bloggers credit,” she said.

Roberts responded that anonymous blogging might benefit from “checks and balances.”

“If you’re in a place like Iran or North Korea or something like that, anonymous blogging is the only way you could ever get your point of view out without being searched down and thrown in jail or worse,” said Roberts. “But when it comes to a society like ours, an open society, do there have to be some checks and balances, not national, but maybe website to website on who comments on things?”

CNN’s two regulation-happy reporters, think the Sherrod situation can help bring attention to the “necessity” of blogging reform if she brings a defamation lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart.

Isn’t it interesting how they are talking about the alleged “hatefulness” of “anonymous bloggers” yet the blogger in question that has caused CNN to fire on all cylinders is NOT anonymous? I’m guessing this point has probably escaped them …

And, seriously, these folks are whining about supposed “lies” spread about Sherrod by Breitbart? What he did was called an “honest mistake” – something the media would do well to remember next time it’s caught deliberately distorting/lying about the facts to help “their guy.”

Really, when it comes to the battle between who spreads more deliberate lies and distortions about public figures, hands down the mainstream media wins that one over “anonymous bloggers” anytime.

In related news, I see Sherrod is still milking this for all it’s worth, suggesting once again (as she did earlier this week) that Breitbart and his supporters want to take us back to the days of slavery.


Ed Morrissey, who has video of Sherrod’s remarks, responds:

But here she is pushing a caricature of her own — with no evidence to support a charge this incendiary — and Cooper the journalist lets it slide, presumably because he’s squeamish about siding with Breitbart against someone who, to his audience, is a sympathetic victim. What a perfectly depressing note on which to end a depressing week.


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