Bloggers Beware

I’ve been operating the Blue Collar Republican website since 2006 and during that time the other authors and I have offended many people who simply did not like what we had to say. However, we have always striven to be fair and honest with our reporting, making corrections to posts when when we found them to be factually inaccurate or in the realm of a personal assault on anyone. I had one local state representative who actually retained a lawyer and after several phone consultations with him I eagerly awaited a day in court. The individual himself then called me and in tears explained how the post had the potential of affecting his main job (school teacher) and as a result I pulled the post. It is not our goal to personally injure anyone, so I took the heat and snide remarks from other bloggers because I pulled it without explanation.

In February of this year, there was an incident in Philadelphia on my news feeds which I did a commentary on, entitled “Why I Don’t Fly”. The original post (if it still is online) can be found at the original BCR site and is archived as a page here. The post quoted in accordance with fair use a news item from Philly.com which has since been removed. The only reference which can be found on their site now is one with these comments.

One other case has particular relevance – that of Nadine Pellegrino, a Florida businesswoman jailed for 17 hours after she objected to a screening by TSA workers who say she assaulted them.

Once Municipal Judge Thomas F. Gehret heard that the TSA had erased the tape of Pellegrino, he threw out the charges against her because she’d been denied the best evidence. Her record has been expunged.

In that case, airport security manager Renee Tufts testified that the electronic memory required to keep all tapes was not within the city’s budget.

Several weeks ago, Ms. Pellegrino contacted me via email with this accusation in regards to my post.

In performing a google search I found false and slanderous info about me in the description of a link to your website that can be referenced at bluecollorrepublican.com/blog/?cat+22 – Cached. The Google search starts with “ Just Because Iit Pisses Me Off <<Blue Collar Republican …..she was arrested on felony counts of assault because her bags touched TSA workers and had called them bitches.

I wrote back to Ms. Pellegrino explaining that the post was a commentary on a news article and the subject of the rant was the TSA and the judges opinion, not her. She responded back demanding I take the post down. I explained that I do not take down posts, but would be happy to post any clarification that she felt needed to be added. If the Philly.com news item was in error, then shame on them and that in itself is a story worth pursuing further. I also explained that only her last name was used in the quote, not her full name.

Ultimately, the woman has been bugging me for weeks with threats and demanding I take the post down. When I refused she contacted our hosting service, ipowerweb and they sent me a nice little note.

We have been advised by a visitor to your web site (bluecollarrepublican.com) that such web site contains content that is alleged to be untrue, offensive, slanderous, harassing or controversial in nature.

Well, first of all the key word is alleged. It is based on a news story and the facts are open to debate (something of a ‘he said, she said’), but I think the balance of the dispute is in the post (both sides of the story). Second of all,

Accordingly, please remove such content within 48 hours of this notice. Failure to delete such content within such period will result in termination of your website.

Okay, we are a political blog, so just about everything on our site is going to be “offensive” or “controversial” to someone. So I informed ipowerweb that their service did not meet our requirements. After 4 years with ipowerweb, the service of the host has degraded to the point where people have a hard time getting on the site. We have gone from a peak of 10,000 visitors a day down to less than a 100 over the past few years because of hosting problems. I’ve just put off moving because I did not want to lose our archives, but now I have some additional motivation.

Back to the subject at hand. Free Republic has more on the original story and Ms. Pellegrino’s lawsuit against the TSA (in the comment section). Contrary to Ms. Pellegrino’s claim, she was not found ‘not guilty’. The charges were dismissed because the TSA could not produce the video from the airport of the incident. She was non-the-less arrested and charged, so nothing in the post is false, just differing versions of what was said between her and the TSA workers.

So, I’m moving us to a new home (long overdue) in preparation for a nice little legal fight. This is my opinion, and strictly my opinion only (still America and I can have one). Based on the email exchanges I’ve had with Ms. Pellegrino, the woman is unbalanced. I have no desire for a fight, but I won’t run away from one either. Again, if there is anything factually wrong in our reporting, I will be happy to add a correction to the original post.

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