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We know it — we’ve been told a thousand times: There are no new problems. Nothing happens that hasn’t happened before. So why aren’t we better at preventing devastating outcomes, especially for innocents?

Years ago, people in the public eye took measures to protect their families from the possibilities of public humiliation and embarrassment. Today, in the Internet era, it is more difficult. Everyone can find out anything about anyone, and they do. This fact has inadvertently kept public people from trying to conceal intimate details about their lives. Perhaps, they have even come to embrace the transparency. It would be hard not to agree that, when things are good, it’s refreshing.

The public likes knowing about the people, virtual though they may be, who come into their lives. Maybe it wasn’t social media that first opened the door, but instead, Kathie Lee Gifford and her endless stories about her children, Cody and Cassidy. Through their mother, these children became icons even for people who didn’t watch Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. Sure, it is important to note: Kathie Lee told her audience stories she wanted to share, nothing less and, for sure, nothing more. Not recently, but for a while even Kathie Lee reportedly regretted sharing so much about her children with the world.

Enough about Kathie Lee. We live in an age where information rests a mere few clicks away. Google provides anyone with enough information to dig deeper into anyone’s life. Let’s face it: If you don’t get dirt on Google, you get a roadmap for dirt. In recent years, this roadmap has been used to contact people who have crossed paths with someone a person might want to destroy — a tactic once utilized by the mob and perfected in recent years by the Internet and media.

Once, we put a label of “sensationalism” on smut periodicals that didn’t own an ounce of credibility, not because what they printed wasn’t true, but because decent society was better than that. Today, this vulgar practice has found a new place among the liberal arm of the mainstream media. Publications that once raged against this cheap form of defamation now openly lower themselves to print and air stories designed to do nothing else but remove competition.

What is defamation? It is a statement that damages the reputation of another. Written, it is libel; spoken, it’s slander. Defamation is not a criminal violation. Instead, it is a civil violation — part of the area of law we refer to as “tort.” In other words, if someone defames you, you must sue them in a civil court to gain justice. No matter how horribly they damage you or your family, law enforcement or prosecutors are not going to show up to protect you. In the United States of America, this, of course, is a shadowy part of freedom of speech.

Ironically, in the months since the election of President Trump, it has become a lethal weapon used against the right by the liberal media. Connor and I have discussed this issue in several articles and in at least one other podcast on Still, never did we imagine this destructive abuse would end in the death of an innocent. Previously, we discussed Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Charles Payne, and Sean Hannity, all of Fox news, all attacked by the mainstream media. Today we are discussing Eric Bolling of the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Channel.

On August 5, 2017 and updated on August 7, an article by freelancer Yashar Ali was posted on Huffpost — formerly The Huffington Post. The article currently online oddly enough is really a rewrite instead of an update of the original article. Nevertheless, the original allegation by Mr. Ali was that Eric Bolling, formerly the moderator in the center seat on the wildly popular The Five and recent star of The Fox News Specialists and the long-running financial program Cashin’ In, had some years ago sent a picture to several female colleagues in the form of a text photo of male genitalia. None of the women came forward; none were directly quoted. Yet, hours after the article’s release, Bolling was suspended by Fox pending further legal investigation. A couple hours after Fox revealed his suspension, a former psychologist and sometimes Fox contributor came forward with a complaint that Bolling had, on occasion, asked her to dinner and had called her “Dr. McHottie.”

Reportedly, none of these women went to Human Resources to air their complaints. Instead they waited to tell their story years later to a left/liberal campaign administrator and sometimes freelancer.

Eric Bolling, former baseball player and oil trader, fits the left’s despised profile: white, middle-aged, conservative, successful — even independent of the cable news — and last but certainly not least, he had influence with President Trump. He is a staunch supporter of the President — just like the rest of the targeted media. Word has it that conservative media is responsible for Trump’s victory and, to prevent such a repeat fiasco, conservative voices with presidential influence must be dethroned.

Now, as with most of these issues, the scoundrel is unmasked through repetition and detail.

For respective reasons, Fox News’ successful primetime lineup had to be revamped as three of the network’s more popular talent left. Arguably, Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, and Greta VanSustren all left the network based on their individual situations, but all because of the election-induced media war. As part of the new lineup, the successful 5:00 pm Eastern Time show The Five moved to Megyn Kelly’s old slot at 9:00 pm. Eric Bolling stayed in the 5:00 pm hour with the new Fox News Specialists.

Now, some months later, apparently, The Five had better ratings at 5:00 pm and The Fox News Specialists — especially without Eric Bolling — was a ratings failure. So, to rethink the primetime composition, Fox began talking to Laura Ingraham, the most listened-to female in radio/podcast history. As a longtime Fox News contributor, the suits know she has the affection of much of their audience. She is a powerful conservative woman and could fight for ratings dominance the old-fashioned way.

Well, days, maybe even hours, after the idea became public, Laura and those associated with her also became part of a smut campaign. Some of the headlines read: “Laura Ingraham: Right-Wing Radio’s High Priestess of Hate” (Huffpost). “Laura Ingraham Has Deep Ties to an Anti-Feminist Group that Pooh-Poohs Claims of Sexual Harassment” (Slate). “The CEO of Laura Ingraham’s Lifezette Won’t Stop Talking about His Employees’ Boobs and Butts” (The Daily Beast). Finally, “Laura Ingraham Torches Krauthhammer After HE Attacks Trump’s Condemnation of Alt-Left Violence” (Gateway Pundit). Oddly, there are some right-wing publications that have started playing along. Nevertheless, it may have started as a plan to take down white-male-dominated, conservative, Trump-supporting media, but Pandora’s box is wide open.

Fast forward to last Friday. As reported, Eric Bolling knew his son was the victim of bullying as a result of his suspension at Fox. His only son was an A student at the University of Colorado. He studied economics and played baseball. After filing suit against the original author, Yashar Ali, for defamation, Eric negotiated a deal with Fox that, according to Fox, was “amicable.” This came from Fox without reference to blame for the conclusion and in fact was presented with the news of the cancellation of the show The Fox News Specialists.

Still, as we all know too well, if there is a negative implication, someone will draw conclusion.

Unfortunately, political and campus discourse has bred and unleashed a fierce form of politically accepted bullying that is quite dangerous. About two hours after his Dad’s negotiated exit from Fox News was made public, 19-year-old Eric Chase Bolling was found dead in bed at his apartment near campus in Boulder, Colorado. Yashar Ali was, oddly enough, the first to break the story of Eric’s son’s death. According to police, there was not an apparent indication of cause of death. No pills, pill bottles, or paraphernalia. He was lying normally in his bed.

Today, we must ask: Without giving up freedom of speech, how do we curtail this kind of politically charged, weaponized rhetoric from destroying conservative media and, even worse, innocent family members?

A civil court will decide whether Yashar solicited smut to print for political purposes that were defamatory.

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