Forbes Senior Editor Targetted in Smear Campaign

Senior editor at Forbes, Daniel Lyons, has become the target of a vile smear campaign. The campaign against Mr Lyons is run by one Simon G Best, a known “internet stalker” and contributor to IBM cheer-leading blog Groklaw.

The campaign takes the form of a blog named “Sinking Point”, a weak pun on the name of Mr Lyons’ personal website. Launched late last week, the blog could easily be described as dedicated to slinging mud, with Lyons as the only target. Nearly every article contains the name “Dan Lyons” somewhere in the title, often in ways that could only be described as slanderous. For example, one such title ironically asserts, “Dan Lyons Implicated in Groklaw Smear Campaign”.

The most recent example, “Is Dan Lyons a Prostitute?”, questions Mr Lyons’ integrity as a journalist on the basis of nothing more than unsubstantiated speculation. Citing no evidence to support such a slur, Best makes some disparaging remarks about free market capitalism before copying chunks of text from Mr Lyons’ own articles.

Remarkably, for someone copying chunks of other people’s material, Best had previously accused Mr Lyons himself of copyright piracy. The basis for such piracy allegations was simply that Mr Lyons, in some of his articles, had quoted some comments that others had made. As anyone who’s read a newspaper knows, that’s completely normal. It’s what all journalists do. It’s called “fair use”, and is a well-established part of law that protects free speech and freedom of the press.

Interestingly, Best only makes the copyright piracy allegation in relation to quotes from comments on Groklaw, a “Free Software” blog that opposes the commercial use of software. According to the activists who frequent Groklaw, Intellecual Property should be abolished. Yet Best wastes no time in appealing to copyright – a common form of Intellectual Property – when it suits him.

When asked, for this article, about his blog, Best said, “There is a theme,” as if the theme of slurring the name of Mr Lyons isn’t already obvious. But he explains, “‘By their rod shall they be measured.'”

But who are “They?”

“The SCO Group and Dan Lyons,” Best says. “It’s just a matter of seeing how their own material – court filings and articles in the media – measure up when measured by their own standards.”

When I put it to him that he seemed to be doing exactly what he accused Mr Lyons of doing, he said that he was just doing it “rhetorically”.

“I know that what I’m doing might superficially appear hypocritical, but I’m applying ‘By their rods shall they be measured’ at more than one level.”

Best has previously been listed as an “internet stalker” and linked to terrorism by networking legend Jeff V. Merkey.


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