Monday, June 20, 2005

Blackmail, Censorship, the Metro Pulse

We have a personal rant this morning...World events will have to wait.

Someone tried to blackmail a friend of mine this week. I didn't even know my friend's name until just now. If that seems odd, just note that my friend is a blogger, South Knox Bubba, Captain of the Rocky Top Brigade, a blogger group that I am a member of.

Bubba's blog is not his business. His business, which he shares with his wife, is software. All this is relevant because somehow, Bubba commented on an article in the Metro Pulse, a local alternative weekly rag in the Knoxville area... and generally well thought of until now.

A Mr. Brian Conley, an owner and the Publisher of the Metro Pulse seemingly took offense and sent and email suggesting the possibity of disclosing Bubba's real name, his police record, credit history, and information concerning Mr. and Mrs. Bubba's business, which would thereby supposedly suffer as a result.

When someone threatens blackmail by disclosing information, the only way to deal with it is to take away their ammunition by revealing the information yourself. Now we know bubba's name. We also know that he has no police record and is financially "doing OK".

The News is not that we now know who South Knox Bubba is. That's not it at all! The stunning revelation is that the Publisher of a heretofore reputable and respected Knoxville weekly magazine attempted to blackmail Bubba into censoring the comments on his blog and messageboard, deleting anything that Mr. Brian Conley objected to.

The bottom line in this sad episode is not that Bubba is outed, but how it came to pass. The publisher of the Metro Pulse, Brian Conley, delivered an implied email threat to reveal information that could damage Mr. Bubba and also attack his wife at the same time, damaging their business and livelihood. Mr. Conley even threatened to reveal credit history and police records! All this in an attempt at censoring Bubba and his friends.

SKB did the difficult and honorable thing and took away the only censorship leverage Conley had, Bubba's anonymity. Now Bubba seems to be a really nice guy, turn the other cheek and all that. If it had been me that had been attacked, I would have made a mental note to have a heated discussion with Mr. Conley if I ever ran accross him. If it had been MY WIFE that had been attacked...Well that's a scumbag thing to do, and I am not sure I could stop myself from pursuing every avenue in existance in order to make Mr. Conley's life....unpleasant.

In all this, the Metro Pulse Publisher seems to have demonstrated his willingness to slant the information he provides in his magazine and also his willingness to attempt to force others to also present a biased in line with Conley's decidedly narrow view of the world. This is unfortunate and bodes ill for the Metro Pulse if he continues at the helm.

One must ask how often has Brian Conley tried to blackmail others into censoring their reporting?

In addition, Mr. Conley's other business dealings appear to be drawing a spotlight, including the millions in construction dollars he has received fron the City of Knoxville. It may well be that the source of Mr. Conley's ire toward Bubba is more related to Conley's questionable business dealiings and follows the "I'll get you" form of social interaction.

So, let's see what we learn about Mr. Conley over the next few weeks, or perhaps he would like to take the high road, as Bubba did, and out himself? By that I mean get OUT of the Metro Pulse!..But he could also "out" himself in the way he threatened Bubba.

Perhaps, as Conley threatened to do to Bubba, we could have Conley's own credit history and police record? A complete listing of business dealings with his construction projects would be helpful, also. As we are seeing, these deals with the city of Knoxville have been very lucrative, though tacky.

And...After reading his emails and postings I think Conley needs to release his medical records as well. If the world could see that he is on serious medication for manic mood swings, then it could be understood and possibly forgiven that he was not himself when he acted like such a creep.

At any rate, there is a widespread call for Mr. Conley to relinquish his position as Publisher of the Metro Pulse as a result of his flagrant and possibly illegal attempt at censorship by blackmail.

I believe that would be a very good idea.

AS for Bubba? I don't think I will ever use his name. It's a blogger thing.

I like the "South Knox Bubba" thing as an alter ego for someone who appears to be a truly nice guy, working to better his beloved town, and doesn't deserve the load of crap he's been tossed. One thing I know for sure:

The RockyTop Brigade will never stand for censorship!



Here you go...the comments are fascinating:


1 comment:

  1. Once again, SKB showed what a great fella he is. Just goes to show you that when grandma told ya "what goes around comes around" she knew what she was talkin' about!