A Slander Tycoon in Idaho Falls? Plausible
“ He who conceals hatred has lying lips, And he who spreads slander is a fool.” Proverbs 10:18
Representative Bryan Zollinger of Idaho Falls serves in the Idaho State Legislature. He represents the people of Idaho House District 33 which encompasses most of Idaho Falls and is a member of three legislative committees: Health & Welfare; Judiciary, Rules & Administration, and Local Government. One day in the month of August, he had a great idea. He realized that by doubling down on a smear he had posted to his Facebook page, he could make money.
An Idaho state representative who argued it’s “plausible” that the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, was a…www.washingtontimes.com
It all began on Friday August 18, when Zollinger added something to his Facebook page. Not news of of his legislative achievements or goals, news about his family, or a picture of a cute dog or cat, but a vile brew from a site called AmericanThinker.com. The full pot of dead frogs, serpent bile, and horseshit can be found here. The local newspaper in Idaho Falls, the Post Register, notice it the same day and summarized it as follows:
[It] suggests, at various points, that the white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, which resulted in brawls with counterprotestors and an apparent terrorist attack that left Heather Heyer dead and 19 others injured, may have been plotted by former President Barack Obama, billionaire George Soros, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe or Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer — or by some shadowy cabal involving them all.
In the age of Tweet, some of those in office or other positions of responsibility — of all political persuasions — have posted their self-authored smears, insults, innuendos, gossip, insinuations, and obscenities about public personalities. Some who lacked the originality to write their own, have re-posted those of others. Some have later apologized. Others have not. Bryan Zollinger offered what a dead-fish-hand of reluctant apology. And then, having stood up like half a man, he took back the clammy apology he had just given.
When first challenged about his post, Zollinger said that he was not saying the bizarre accusation “was true” — only that it was “completely plausible.” Then he said that “in hindsight” he “probably” should not have posted it. The dead-fish-hand of the stand-up-guy from Idaho Falls. Next thing you know, good old Bryan discovered that some folks were pledging to pay him every time someone criticized him for the FB post he made, then sort-of-in-hindsight-kind-of-apologized for, so now he was withdrawing his dead-fish-hand and putting it back in his pocket.
Legal slander is based qualifiers like “I’m not saying it’s true, but its plausible.” “Your mother was xx. I’m not saying it’s true, but it’s plausible.” Put any insult you want under xx and change “your mother” to any person you hate enough to want to go out of your way to accuse of bizarre, never-before-told, crimes of unthinkable monstrosity. Had Bryan claimed that it was true that Obama had set up a massive conspiracy to create a violent incident in Charlottesville in order to cause death and destruction in order to cause the news media to criticize Donald Trump, he would have been liable for damages in a lawsuit.
So Bryan he pulled a Zollinger, that is offered something more than an insinuation but less than legally-defined libel.
It is plausible, even highly likely that Bryan didn’t all of a sudden start accepting far-fetched theories about Barack Obama as the hidden hand of evil. It is plausible that he expressed on his FB page is the kind of think he has long expressed to his friends and colleagues in GOP circles in southern Idaho, although not everyone in Idaho Falls accepts his views or behavior. It is not not plausible, although certainly not everyone in Idaho Falls accepts Bryan’s views and behavior. untrue that all the people of Idaho Falls share the prejudices and the recklessness of Bryan Zollinger.It is not only plausible, but historically demonstrable that Zollinger-type slanders have led to prejudice and persecution against those of the same race, creed, ethnicity, or political positions of the person who is plausible linked to the hidden hand of evil.
One day Bryan Zollinger of Idaho Falls, district 33, discovered that he can engage in slander with impunity, and that doing so can be financially rewarding.
It is plausible that some people smear others for free — out of spite and malevolent ignorance. It is plausible that some people will do anything, absolutely anything, for money.
It is plausible that Bryan Zollinger has found his calling.