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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

It's time to chill the "free press"

Allowing Sarah Palin to continue her libel lawsuit against the New York Times "would chill expression by journalists who want to draw connections and inferences," Noah Feldman wrote in a column for Bloomberg News.

That is an excellent idea, because increasingly people in the press show a constant, malicious, and reckless disregard for the truth.


In 2011, Jared Lee Loughner killed a federal judge and five others, and severely wounded Democratic Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

Democratic Party operatives spread the lie that a map targeting Giffords in the last election inspired the carnage.

However, Loughner did not vote in that election. He is psychotic.

But the press keeps spreading this lie.

You can see why after six years, Governor Palin wants to end this evil, nasty, and vile slander against her good name.

In June, a Democratic Party activist, inspired by the Resistance movement, made a real political assassination attempt on Republican congressmen while they practiced for a ballgame.

To deflect attention from Democratic Party violence, the Times in an editorial made a false equivalence that was factually in error.

But here is what the Times wrote:
Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.
Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They’re right. Though there’s no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack, liberals should of course hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.
That was a lie.

Feldman does not believe the Times should be punished for lying about Palin. Again.

He wrote:
There was a factual mistake in the sentence: The Palin PAC ad put the districts under crosshairs, not the Democrats personally. On its own, this false statement would not have even plausibly counted as a libel, because it does not defame Palin. Saying the PAC put crosshairs on candidates doesn’t damage the PAC’s reputation, or Palin’s.
In the editing process, things got worse. The Times’s editorial page editor, James Bennet, not only missed the factual error but also compressed the comparison between the political atmospheres in 2017 and 2011. He wrote simply that when Giffords was shot, “the link to political incitement was clear.” He then immediately used the draft’s line about Palin’s PAC.
Now Palin had some basis to sue for libel, which she immediately did. Arguably, the Times editorial as published defamed her by saying her PAC’s ad was linked to the Giffords shooting. And the premise of the link -- the supposed crosshairs on Giffords’s face -- was demonstrably false.
No, the premise of the editorial was that Palin was linked to a mass murder.

But rather than deal with that, Feldman tried to re-frame the issue.

The ad had nothing to do with the shooting. That is the lie that Palin wants to stomp out.

The New York Times cannot prove a link because such a link does not exist.

Instead of bemoaning being called Fake News, the mass media needs to start cleaning up the mess its Fake News makes.

In tort law, that is a tort.

And civil libel is tort law.

This is journalistic malpractice. How does one stop a lie of this magnitude from being repeated?

Feldman wrote:
The Palin case came before Judge Jed Rakoff, the most prominent federal judge on the Southern District of New York and probably in the whole country. When the Times asked him to dismiss the case outright, Rakoff took an unusual step: He ordered testimony on what the editor knew about the Palin connection when he put together the final text.
Bennet testified that he did not review past Times stories debunking the connection between the Palin ad and the Giffords shooting. He added: “I did not intend to imply that it was a causal link to this crime.”
If he wants to dismiss the suit, Rakoff now has two options. Neither is perfect.
Well, actually the judge has a third option: let a jury decide.

Horrors!
Of course, Rakoff could let the case go forward. But that would be disastrous from a free press perspective. It would chill expression by journalists who want to draw connections and inferences.
By allowing testimony, Rakoff sent a message to the Times that in an era when the U.S. president regularly denounces the paper of record as “fake news,” that paper had better be more careful. Now that the message has been sent, it’s time for him to dismiss the case. Freedom of the press is on the line.
The message would be sent?

How about we apply the Rule of Law?

The Times wronged her, and now it must pay.

We have a free press to serve the nation.

Instead, the free press serves itself.

The way to change that is to hit them in the wallet. Hard. Make that editor sweat out deposition. Make the Times turn over six years of internal communications in discovery. And finally, let a jury decide.

That's what every other business in America faces when a company injures a person.

Who exempted newspapers?

***

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24 comments:

  1. Pass the popcorn. Welcome to our little world Mr high and mighty NYT reporter

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  2. Feldman is arguing for a class privilege saying that certain people have a right to maliciously and with intent to do harm lie about what other people do and say and believe in order to achieve political goals all the while using corporate power to deplatform those they disagree with.

    He should be publicly caned.

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    1. I read that last line as canned at first. I LOVE the idea of caning. "Michael Peter Fay is a US citizen who was the subject of international attention in 1994 when he was sentenced to six strokes of the cane in Singapore for theft and vandalism at age 18." I'm pretty sure he never did anything that stupid again

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    2. Gentlemen, let's not tear ourselves apart arguing. Let's compromise. Caned and then canned.

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    3. Pure Genius Don. Just about blew my bacon out my nose...

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    4. Unfortunately Michael Peter Fay did not well learn his lesson. He is reported to have beaten his father as well as been arrested for drugs including butane abuse which also resulted in severe burns. He sniffed the butane to help him forget what happened in Singapore. Too bad. maybe the burns will jar his memory.
      While caning sounds good, I think a good old fashioned American method would also work, a bull whip. I think we should do that with first time felons rather than simply putting them on probation.

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    5. Jeremy, only a cow whip should be used on women. Bull whips are sexxxxxxist!

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    6. Tar, feathers, Feldman. Some assembly required. GOC

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  3. Perhaps the biggest issues of our time are responsibility and consequence. If the judge drops this case he will be admitting that for the press niether exist. This of course is what the Bloomberg jerk wants. Speaking for his miserable boss, who once said of himself that he loved to order people around, he is trying to threaten the judge by saying that if he doesn't agree with him, his reputation will suffer in the eyes of the media, understand my friend? This is dictation taken from Bloomberg himself just like the editorial defaming Palin was Schulzberger talking. They hide behind their pipsqueak slaves like little girls or maybe better, the cowardly masters of Jihad who fell from the same mold.

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    1. If the judge drops the case, it's ONE MORE reason to vote for Trump.

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    2. I am so down on NY judges. Your comment should read "when the judge drops the case".

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    3. He is a federal judge. However living in NY makes him more of a local judge given the state's financial influence nationally. A relative who deals in tort law gave me 19/1 odds against Palin.

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  4. They have been getting away with this crap for so long they think they are entitled to lie about people.

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  5. Caned, castrated, then canned sounds like the proper order of payback.

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  6. Libel/slander is one of the few areas where IMHO British law is superior to ours.

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    1. But then, how are the Brits on hate crime speech?

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  7. A good first solution would be to rid the NYTimes of the Sulzberger family's influence. And then, of course, rid the NYTimes of money. Lots of money.

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  8. I don't remember if President Trump explicitly said this last night of if he inferred it - the current divisions in this country to a large degree now sit at the feet of the American media.

    I read the NYT when I was growing up in the 50's and 60's. There were people they went after. But what they have been doing the past few years is so far over the line that it does not compare.

    I need to do some investigation on when the newspaper went off the rails. I know it was after Slim bought it, but an not sure if it corresponds exactly at that point. What I do know is this, due to newspapers primary source of advertising moving to the Internet at a far lower cost for far greater effect - real estate ads, auto ads, grocery store ads - in and of themselves newspapers are no longer profitable as a stand alone entity. They are only attractive to people/businesses that can use them as a loss-leader to sell their other products. In the same way that Dan Gilbert can lose tens of millions of dollars even when the Cavs win the NBA championship, but the publicity Quicken Loans gets from the name of the area has made that a household name that in turn resulted in Glibert making far more money with his loan company through customer sales then he could have ever made if he did not own the team.

    The NYT was attractive to Slim,as buying the Washington Post was attractive to Jeff Bezos (Amazon and multiple other business interests). In turn, since most American newspapers cannot afford to pay many reporters on staff, for a far lower cost they pay to run articles from the Times and Post, spreading the influence/interests of Slim and Bezos. Point being that newspapers are no longer the '4th Estate', but rather are lobbying instruments for those that can profit from owning them in other ways.

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    1. Slim does not own the NYT. He is a major share holder and once loaned the paper money. He has no voting rights shares, which are only held by the family. What influence he has over the paper is actually unknown. Bezos actually owns the Post himself.

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  9. "Arguably" (to use one of Fake News' favorite words) this slander of Sarah Palin swung the election away rom the Palin/McCain ticket - thus depriving the country of it's first REAL woman 'president'.

    That being because I - and everyone else I have discussed it with, REALLY voted for Palin, not McCain who only "let the ticket" because of the GOP's male chauvinism.

    (I'm male, and NOT a feminist - she was just the best Reagan-style candidate available at the time.)

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  10. There was but one purpose to "constitutionalize" the concept of a "free press", and that was to allow sources (other than the government itself) to provide information that the people have sufficient information to properly govern (vote) To the degree that objective news reporting slides into propaganda and is agenda driven, it deserves to be discredited and open to the same risks as any common citizen, should it show libel or cause harm to society (that yelling fire etc.)Sic em Sarah....

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  11. Sarah's policy with Leftist MSM SOBBs is simple and can be summed up in one sentence: Go early, go hard, go pocketbook.

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  12. Discovery is simple. You go to the email archive and search Palin. From that you will get all the proxies they use for her, most of which will be profane, misogynist and personal. Then you search those. You will find actual malice. You will find a conspiracy to concoct lies and obscure the truth and you had better believe Palin will not be the only target revealed. Forward.

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