Queerty is one of innumerable ill-coded, undesigned, copy-error-ridden “LGBT” news Web sites. Everything from its markup to its spelling to its typography to its URLs is atrocious. Now the site has surpassed its own broad-based technical and editorial failings by venturing into the raging seas of defamation.

In its post about a lawsuit against failing gay miniconglomerate Regent Entertainment, I see a host of legal risks taken by the site and the post author (apparently Sean Carnage [no relation; né Carney]):

  • Details of a lawsuit, which contains allegations unproven in court, were reported as fact (23 counts). There was no statement that the allegations remain unproven.

  • The post makes 18 of its own allegations without seeking comment from the respondents, plus one other allegation so legally devastating it stands as its own inducement to sue for libel irrespective of everything else.

  • The writer gloats about the bonanza he scored by ordering the original lawsuit papers, but documents no attempt to seek comment from the respondents on each and every factual allegation, nor on overall themes.

  • The writer makes direct and indirect statements about the legal culpability of some 21 third parties.

  • Respondents in the lawsuit are described, in Queerty’s own original wording, in ways that reasonable juries might consider defamatory (six times).

  • I see two apparent factual errors that cast subjects in an unflattering light, possibly to a legally defamatory degree.

Queerty and Carnage have little in the way of obvious defences.

  • A defence of news reporting is put in jeopardy by typically sloppy copy-editing, in which numerous dollar amounts are listed as “0” or “0,000” (also “ billion” [sic]). Numbers in general are so inaccurately reported as to be unreported (e.g., “To no one’s surprise, the aesthetically-deficient Regent catalog eventually fetched well under million leaving Merrill million in the hole” – itself a statement the writer did not verify).

  • That same defence is jeopardized by the writer’s admission he interviewed third parties with an axe to grind against Regent but none of its principals or anyone named in the lawsuit.

Regent was already guilty of sending Carnage a clearly spurious cease-and-desist letter alleging defamation, which itself was probably legally meaningless because it did not meet the service standards in place in California. (You can’t just E-mail statements of claim; they have to be delivered by messenger, registered mail, or other prescribed means.) In the way that stopped clocks are right twice a day, Regent could still succeed in a new defamation complaint against Queerty and Carnage – perhaps on 70 or more counts.

This, you see, is why online “gay journalism” is a mockery of itself and its own heritage.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.02.11 16:10. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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