The DC Voice

The Damage is Irreversible – Closed Captioning

What started as a routine location shoot to cover the Grand Opening of the MGM at National Harbor has turned into a two-year nightmare against one of America’s top technology leaders. The fact that I might be subjected to deleting my body of works because of a strategic assassination of my character is deplorable. Out of 250 videos, this one has caused me the most harm. Now, I must start the removal process of all original compelling electronic media from the tech company’s platform, and no longer use the services or products because of an alleged defamatory action. The nature of the defamation – closed captioning.

Let’s start by defining defamation.  According to Bill 11-0231, “Uniform Correction or Clarification of Defamation Act of 1995,” introduced by Councilmember Lightfoot, defamatory means tending to harm reputation caused by the false context of a publication that is published.  Economic loss caused by a false and defamatory publication.  This Act also applies to all publications, including writing, broadcasts, oral, communications, electronic-transmission or other form of transmitting information.  According to the law, a person may maintain an action for defamation on if: 1) the person has made a timely and adequate request for correction or clarification from the defendant, or 2) the defendant has made a correction or clarification.

In 2012, it was reported by cnet that a 2- year class action lawsuit filed by the National Deaf Association in 2010 alleging the streaming service Netflix was “failing to provide adequate closed captioning on ‘Watch Instantly’ streaming video programming, and therefore was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”  What derived from the class action lawsuit was a decree.  The decree is a model for the streaming entertainment industry.  “We are pleased to have reached this agreement and hope it serves as a benchmark for other providers of streaming video entertainment,” according to Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt in a statement.  Wonder how they went about assessing the damage done in their situation?  It had to satisfy the elements of proving harm was done, and being reasonable in the decision of moving on for the rest of your life from the harm and hold your head high as if nothing every happened.

Damages in the MGM situation can be assessed from two aspects. One is the aspect of defective software, and the second is the rate a glitch is most likely to occur on the tech company’s platform. I believe a damage assessment classification of severe irreversible damage has been done since it cannot be fixed. The tech company’s argument is “why didn’t I take it down?”  The tech company operates the largest search engine in North America, ‘taking it down’ doesn’t erase it from public record. I will always have an issue with accurate results, whether the system is updated or not.  Once information, aka “data” is stored in a database it does not change its content or the context data file storage classification.  The update is more for operational functionality.

As a result of the tech company’s actions, I will be recognized in their database as a disgusting, degrading, destructive, and defamatory statement since the initial act was carried out through electronic media data file transfer. The system database has recognized and classified my identity as disgusting, degrading, destructive, and inhumane; not civil, or credible, worthless.  Words carry meaning, and have a lasting effect, do not let your words destroy or harm.

As a journalist; word choice, use, and meaning must be carefully examined because one word has the ability to change the entire context of the meaning of what I’m attempting to convey to my readers.  This is where I’m most thankful for the editors of the publication to verify that the word choice flows with the context of the paragraphs.  Perhaps words are great to inspire, provoke thought, and hopefully move someone to act on the words to bring them to life, similar to an action verb. 

I use many words that describe the actions which are taking place at a specific time and location to bring my audience closer to the event.  When that selection of words and phrases is not properly represented and contributes the misrepresentation of facts, it not only damages my credibility as a journalist, it deprives my audience interpretation and presentation of the venue I have worked so hard to bring to them. “The damage is irreversible.”

Mindy Hill

Mindy Hill

Enjoys the Art of Living and Creating compelling content for years to come.

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