01/05/09-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Since Friday, a number of news outlets have noticed an increase in a particular type of comment directed at derailing the debate over the Miller/Jenkins custody case. Many of these comments come from the same group of people, and at least one news organization in Virginia has outed some of these posters for posting repeatedly the same distorted information on different names in order to make it seem as if Lisa Miller has greater support than she does. This effort appears to be coming from people following instructions on Lisa Millers Face Book Page directing that Millers distorted talking points on this case are put on any news site covering this story.
The set up at LezGetReal is not conducive to that kind of manipulation; however, a group of roughly three to four individuals have tried to “flood” the comment pages of this newsblog with comments supporting Lisa Miller and spreading allegations which have been proven false by the courts already.
“The flood of protests “by this handful of people often rely upon an interview given by Lisa Miller to the fundamentalist blog Life Site. Unfortunately, Life Site is very unreliable when it comes to the information that it posts as being accurate. A recent case of a woman threatening to kill a anti-abortion rights activist was distorted by Life Site in order to make it seem as if the woman who threatened to kill this young lady was going in for an abortion when it was never proven to be the case.
The allegations leveled by Lisa Miller were, indeed, investigated by the courts, and proven to be a baseless attempt to slander Janet Jenkins and garner sympathy with those helping to prevent Isabella from seeing her mother. By not following the orders of Judge William Cohen, Lisa Miller has lost custody of Isabella, and now faces a very real possibility of jail time. A wide variety of parents’ rights groups have come out in support of Judge Cohen’s orders, and the feeling among many women even in Virginia is that Lisa Miller should hand over custody of Isabella at this point since she has refused to follow the court’s orders.
Support for Jenkins comes from the fact that the law is very much on her side, something that the courts in Virginia and Vermont have stated, and the Federal Courts. Even the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear this case based upon federal law governing custody battles. There exists a very real probability that, should this case continue back to the Federal level, that it will pit the laws governing child custody and custodial abduction against the Defense of Marriage Act. It is likely that, given the importance of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction And Enforcement Act, backed up by the Constitution, that the Supreme Court would end up striking down the Defense of Marriage act before undermining parental rights and the authority of every judge and court in the country.
“The flood of comments” have had little effect in the debate largely because the news organizations reporting upon this case are reporting on the facts and not the allegations. Those using the comments are trying to bypass the journalistic integrity of the news organizations by posting these unproven and unfounded allegations by Miller in the comments pages. Often times, far more people have come forward to counter the points attempted to be made by those trying to flood the system. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to spot that those flooding the forums of those stories reporting on this custody battle are a small hand full of people who are posting.
Many Fundamentalist sites which have, in the past, supported Lisa Miller have started pulling back on their support because there is now the very real risk that they could be seen as supporting a fugitive, and that supporting Miller could end up undermining their own political and social platforms. In the end, the support of Lisa Miller has, despite a belief that it would hurt the LGBT Community, has undermined many of the Fundamentalist groups which have most vocally supported her.
The tactics being employed are not dissimilar to those used by the Teabag Protesters during the August health care reform debate.