Crotonblog seems to have acquired its own axis of evil. Our response to Marie Yurchuk's attack on Crotonblog in the pages of The Gazette (see: "Marie Yurchuk Takes a Swipe at Crotonblog. We Respond") has elicited three orchestrated responses from three nattering nabobs of negativism, Joann Minett, Richard Pellicci and Marie Yurchuk. Although they disdain Crotonblog and become annoyed when their names appear in it, we are nevertheless taking the liberty of publishing their three letters responding to our response to Mrs. Yurchuk's original attack.
First up, Marie Yurchuk...
To the editor,
This is in response to Mr. Weale's comments about my recent letter to the Gazette.
1) Mr. Weale claims that the Croton Democratic website does not refer residents to the Crotonblog. It doesn't now but it did. A Google cached copy shows that village residents were advised to "sign up for daily email updates of new items posted" on the blog throughout 2006.
2) Mr. Weale claims that my letter was filled with "misinformation" and was non-specific. Here's what traditional media like the Journal News and the Gazette have to say specifically:
a) The blog did post that resident Bob Wintermeier used the "n word" implying the racial slur. He did not. (Journal News, March 16, 2006: Anonymous accusation draws fire.)
b) The blog did post and anonymous and false claim that a former trustee "stole soda." (Same Journal article. In that article, Mr. Weale said that the blog "generally does not censor comments, cannot verify their truth and allows for anonymity.")
c) The blog did post the claims of a former trustee who stated that residents fighting Regus or pre-emption issues were engaged in "half truths and rumors." Those residents set the record straight in three recent letters to the Gazette (Brady, Roth and Raymond). There's more but I'll stop here.
Mr. Weale tells us that many comments fall under "political satire" and are not subject to libel laws. He says that blogging is in the future. God help us all if this is the future where you can say online anonymously what you would not say out loud about your neighbors at a meeting or a signed letter to the paper.
The truth is that people all over are fighting those bloggers who do commit libel or defame and that they are winning. In Yonkers, a court has ordered a blog to turn over the IP addresses and related information of certain posters. In Putnam, an official won a $25,000 judgment a poster who claimed that she had altered records (Journal News Oct. 28, 2006: Libel verdict in Southeast).
Dan Gillmor, director of the Center for Citizen Media, said this in the March 2006 Journal article: "People who read anonymous postings should give then zero credence in most cases."
Citizens who believe that what they have to say is important sign their own names. That's what it all boils down to. I am not alone in my respect for Mayor Schmidt and Trustee Brennan who by Mr. Weale's own admission, have refused invitations to post in such places.
— Marie Yurchuk, Croton-on-Hudson
Followed by Richard Pellicci...
To the editor,
This is in response to Mr. Weale's letter to the Gazette defending the Crotonblog stating it is not a chat-room. At a recent board meeting I quoted from an article in the Wall Street Journal of December 20, 2006 by Joseph Rago entitled "The Blog Mob, written by fools to be read by imbeciles."
"The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. Journalism requires journalists who are at last fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers for their part produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the Main Stream Media like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps."
My opinion concerning the Croton "blahblah" blog could not have been stated better. Fact, there was a link from the Croton Democratic website to the Crotonblog. It has now been taken off. (I have a saved screen shot of it in case anyone is interested.) Maybe because of the recently won libel lawsuits, maybe because our Croton Democratic candidates Gallelli, Kane and Wiegman do not want to be guilty by association to Crotonblog's commentaries concerning residents by its illustrious anonymous posters this close to election time, who knows.
So, Mr. Weale, you wonder why Mayor Schmidt and Trustee Brennan will not post on Crotonblog. Please!
As a democrat, I advise the majority of Croton's tunnel vision democratic voters, as always, to get the facts folks, get the facts.
— Richard Pellicci, Croton-on-Hudson
And finally, from Joann Minett...
To the editor,
I'm writing in response to a letter written by Mr. Weale in last week's Gazette.
Yes, Mr. Weale this is the 21st century. And with that comes all new forms of communications over the net, new dangers, risks and crimes. As responsible people we must be careful of what the internet can do. We must adjust our life styles to many forms of angers.....sexual predators, thieves and liars.
I find the Croton Blog, as I do any blog or chat room to be a black hole of evil in Cyberspace. In regard to the Croton Blog, I have come to the conclusion that it is a nasty forum of life, deception and division. It has been a site that has festered very poor commentary and behavior. The people who visit the site and write lies and defamations against their neighbors hide behind anonymous names. I just prefer to call them cowards. Despite all that is "free speech," which is the foundation of our country.
People should take the Croton Blog for what it really is.....entertainment, and not take it as a source of accurate information.
Everyone knows that a major source of lies and defamation came from our own x-trustee Georgianna Grant who accidentally wrote her name on her entry. She has a long history of Wee-Will entries in which she found the need to write misinformation (proven misinformation) under a false name as to not be accountable for it and to better her party. Sorry Mr. Weale, but it is she, and her friends, that have helped to peg the Croton Blog site as a political one.
I'm glad that Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Brennan chose not to visit this black hole for comments. I commend them for that. It shows that they are men of good character. Should anyone want to find correct information in regard to our village, its policies, or should anyone like to express their opinions and concerns, they should attend the village board meetings, call the offices, or visit the village website. Otherwise you will get misinformation, lies and deception on the Croton Blog site.
— Joann Minett, Croton-on-Hudson
We won't bore readers with refutations to their long-winded complaints, except to say that we did purposely refer to Robert Wintermeier's use of the "N" word in the headline of a news story. The reference, of course, was to his single-minded objection to negotiations of any kind over the former Metro Enviro property at 1A Croton Point Avenue. Our use of the phrase "N word" in the headline is known journalistically as a "teaser" to prompt viewers to read the piece. But such subtleties are beyond these pathetic people, who will create issues that don't exist to further their desperate, small-minded causes. What is more, these people are apparently not aware that in any legal action the first question asked of both parties by the presiding judge is, "Have efforts been made to resolve the matter amicably through negotiation before resorting to legal action?"
We shall probably use the "N word" again, applying it to Joann Minett for her nutty concept of Croton geography, to Richard Pellicci for his no-talent cartoons depicting people he dislikes, and to Marie Yurchuk for her longstanding negativism dating back to the time when her children were in Croton schools and she was regarded as a thorn in the side of the school administrators.
The anti-Crotonblog crowd makes much of our provision of anonymity to those making comments, an almost universal practice in the blogging world. The vehemence of their attacks on Crotonblog demonstrates why some readers will not comment without the protective cloak of anonymity. Interestingly, those who are now so opposed to anonymous comments on Crotonblog had no objection to anonymity when Crotonblog began. In fact, they were so enamored of anonymity they became frequent anonymous commenters on Crotonblog (see: "Maria Cudequest Forgetting Her Own Experience with Croton's 'Local Internet Chat Room'"). Frequent, that is, until we discovered they were abusing the privilege. Comments signed with a half-dozen different pen names were appended to the same article. We discovered that these emanated from a single computer user located at 84 Grand Street and quickly put a stop to this deceitful practice (see: "A Penal Process Known as Banishment... Explained"). So much for their mealy-mouthed objections to anonymity.
What these three nattering nabobs of negativism need is a theme song. Crotonblog suggests that the perfect one for them would be "Whatever It Is I'm Against It," the song Groucho Marx sang in the movie "Horse Feathers." Here's how it goes: "Whatever it is I'm against it. No matter what it is or who commenced it, I'm against it. And even when you've changed it or condensed it, I'm against it."