Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Three Sonorans Post Pulled After Patterson Threatens Lawsuit

Posted By on Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Although it's no longer Daniel Patterson Monday at Weekly World Central, we bring you another, albeit small part, in the ongoing Patterson saga — this one involving a local blogger, a Gannett blog once though impervious to litigation threats and yes, Daniel Patterson.

Three Sonoran's David Abie Morales shared with the Range that he was instructed on March 29 by Tucson Citizen editor Mark Evans to take down a post that referenced Patterson, as well as Tucson Unified School District board member Michael Hicks.

By e-mail Evans contacted Morales and asked that he delete a sentence from a March 26 post titled, "Is the world conspiring against Rep. Patterson."

Rep. Patterson has again involved Gannett corporate in his complaints about you.

I need you to delete this sentence:
“Then again, I don’t know what it is like to have rich parents or a father who was a mayor to shower privilege upon me by hiring lawyers to always get charges dropped.” that is in this post:

And then I need you to delete this entire post:

I need you to do this today as soon as possible and let me know when you have.

Mark B. Evans
520-573-4614 office
520-603-2796 cell

Evidently, Patterson has successfully gone this route in the past by going directly to Gannett's corporate office. He e-mailed corporate on March 28:

Ms. Wilson — More lies again on the 'Three Sonorans' blog. Please call me to discuss, 520.906.2159 . Mr. Evans has so far not been responsive. Thanks.

On March 28, Patterson e-mailed Evans:

My father has never been a Mayor. I pay all my own legal bills. I have worked and supported myself my entire adult life. Charges only get dropped when they are weak or wrong, not because of lawyers I have to pay for due to the false allegations of others, including Morales. Thanks, Rep. Patterson

Evans' response:

Rep. Patterson,
I’ve been dealing with family issues the past few days and have been responding to email as I can.
However, as for your complaint Monday about a post by David Morales, your message seemed to me to be more complaining about David in general than anything specific.
If you could elaborate more on your message (pasted below) and let me know what exactly is untrue, I can forward that to David for response and take it from there.

Then again, I don’t know what it is like to have rich parents or a father who was a mayor to shower privilege upon me by hiring lawyers to always get charges dropped.

Total lie. This racist liar doesn't know me or my family. Why do you continue to host him? His BS on this issue could cause a big lawsuit. Daniel

Mark B. Evans
520-573-4614 office
520-603-2796 cell

Interesting approach for Patterson to take, as well as taking the tea-bagger description of Morales as a "racist liar," but then again, the Three Sonorans blog has regularly covered Patterson's problems from almost the beginning. However, Three Sonorans has gladly pointed out that the Tucson Weekly's Hank Stephenson deserves heaps 'o credit for his early piece in "The Family Man," on Sept. 30, 2010.

Evans' request to remove items from a Tucson Citizen-hosted blog is interesting, too. Wasn't the great thing about Tucson Citizen on-line life is that it is impervious to lawsuits because Evans doesn't edit or make editorial decisions on copy posted on the different blogs?

We e-mailed Evans for comment and this is his reply:

No, as with anything published on the internet, any blogger who writes something that's false that causes harm can face a libel suit.

We (the Citizen/Gannett) assert that because we don't edit or control the content in any way, and anyone who wants a blog can have one, within reasonable limits (must be about Tucson/So. AZ/Arizona, or written by a So. AZ resident), we have protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act from being dragged into that suit.

Many blogging sites, including the Huffington Post, make a similar assertion. However, that's never been litigated.
So when someone claims there is false information on the site that is causing them harm it is in the site’s best interest for me to take a series of steps to resolve the complaint. (Plus, I don't want false information on the site, though that's hard for me to police since there are more than 100 blogs. I usually have to rely on someone to complain that something is false).

First, I refer the complainant to the blogger so the two can work it out.

That usually solves the problem right there.

If it doesn't, the complainant can return to me and ask me to take action. Since I don't know what is true, I ask the complainant to explain in detail what's untrue in the blog post and what the truth is.

I then ask the blogger to explain why they've written what they have and who or what their sources are. I then determine if any change needs to be made to the blog post.

It's only ever gotten this far five times in the three years TucsonCitizen.com has been a blogging site, all involving David Morales. In each case he either changed what he had written to be more accurate or he deleted the post entirely.

If a blogger refuses to change or delete a post I’ve determined has false information that causes harm I will delete it myself. If it happens again (refusing to make a change) I’ll delete their blog and revoke their login. That’s never happened.

Hope this helped, write or call if you need more info.

Morales told the Range that he never claimed Patterson's father was a mayor. That was in reference to Hicks.

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