They’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take bloggers anymore!
County GOP Chairman Vincent Reda, Legislator/Clarkstown Highway Dept. Assistant Frank Sparaco, Clarkstown Highways Superintendent Wayne Ballard and a local businessman are all suing “Mad Blogger” Michael Hull and former GOP candidate and Rockland Times columnist turned political blogger Anthony Mele, claiming the pair consistently and knowingly exaggerated, distorted and flat-out lied while producing their blogs on the New City Patch website.
The GOPers point out that in one particularly egregious display of jaundiced blogging, both Mele and Hull portrayed Legislator Sparaco as intimidating voters because he was calling residents on Election Day, encouraging them to get out and vote after he had checked a voter roll to see who voted thus far. Though this is a common and perfectly legal practice, Mele and Hull were able to whip up a virtual lynch mob smearing Sparaco with charges of criminality.
Citing other instances of alleged hackery, the GOP group has decided to sue, however, according to the 1960s Supreme Court decision “Sullivan vs. NY Times,” they have an uphill battle and then some. The GOPers must prove the bloggers had a premeditated intent to misrepresent the facts. Simply proving errors will not suffice.
Mele and Hull supporters accuse the GOP group of engaging in a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), meant to intimidate opponents and dissuade criticism of political activities. Indeed, Mele and Hull, both Republicans, have been a thorn in the side of party leadership. The bloggers’ supporters chalk the lawsuit up to just another “dirty trick” by politicos they distrust.