Journalist’s attack reminds ‘venom’ extends to snakes and speech (TX)

Estate of Denial® has posted articles about the plight of former Ellis County Observer publisher Joey Dauben.  Many of the articles were written by David Webb, a Texas-based veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues and all other facets of the news for the mainstream and alternative media for more than three decades.

Webb has written many credible pieces on Dauben’s colorful history and its interspersion with potential public corruption and threats to journalistic freedom.  On his The Rare Reporter blog,  Webb’s latest column Night in the snake pit; hate speech gets blog shut down details the depths to which some individuals will go in seemingly protecting unknown interests through attempted denigration of legitimate journalistic efforts.

From Night in the snake pit; hate speech gets blog shut down:

If you’ve got snakes in the cellar there’s only one way to get rid of them. You’ve got to go down into their dark, stinking den and chase them out in the sunshine.

That’s how it seemed when I recently went to battle with a nest of vipers who pose under pseudonyms and congregate every night on a defamatory blog to hiss and spit their venom. The blog and the cowardly bullies who frequent it began breeding quite a while ago, but the menace mattered little to me until I also became a target of their wrath.

I suffered bites from several of the serpents because I began reporting about the legal problems of Joey Dauben, former publisher of the Ellis County Observer blog, after he was charged in Navarro County in December 2011 with four counts of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old male teenager. The assault allegedly occurred five years ago on a church camping trip that Dauben and the teenager attended.

While jailed, Dauben wracked up yet another felony charge, fraudulent use of identifying information, in Ellis County in connection with a blog post he wrote in mid-2011 that named and suggested violence against a Red Oak man whose ex-wife had accused her ex-husband of child molestation. In the story Dauben gave the man’s name, address, phone number and place of employment. He also wrote that the man should die if the allegations proved true.

As it turned out the allegations against the Red Oak man proved false, and it landed Dauben in the biggest jam of his life — next to the allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor, which he is scheduled to fight in a trial early next year. Ellis County recently tried and convicted him on the fraud charges, and he received a probated five-year sentence.

Dauben, who started off as reporter for a small town newspaper and then moved on to self publishing under the Ellis County Observer banner as a blogger, managed during his decade of reporting to probably make more enemies than any other writer that I’ve ever encountered — even more than me.

Dauben’s style was so reckless and unprofessional and exhibited such a total, unapologetic disregard for the truth that he absolutely intrigued me. I felt compelled to meet him and attempt to influence him to mend his ways because I thought he probably possessed a natural raw talent that could be cultivated.

When I sent Dauben an e-mail he accepted my invitation to lunch, and he seemed interested in what I had to say about learning accepted standards of professional journalism and practicing them. He had started writing for newspapers in high school and afterwards went to work for a small newspaper without obtaining a college degree. After talking to him, I attributed his overly-aggressive style and unprofessionalism to a lack of education and training.

At the time of our meeting in the summer of 2011, Dauben had just moved to Cedar Creek Lake from Ellis County to live with his 81-year-old grandmother and help care for her. He mentioned that he had left behind a professional matter in Ellis County that worried him, and I later realized he had  referred to the botched story he wrote about the Red Oak man.

He confided in me that he feared he had finally given his enemies — which apparently included people of all walks of life from police officers to city and county officials, to lawyers and judges — an opportunity to destroy him.

Read more.


Night in the snake pit; hate speech gets blog shut down
David Webb
December 7, 2012
The Rare Reporter

EoD believes in the credibility of Webb’s work and the legitimacy of questions he raises.  That other parties would work to dissuade – even silence – his journalistic efforts create a sense that despite a reckless sometimes unprofessional approach, Dauben just might have hit on issues or actions some would prefer to remain unknown.

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