February 20, 2019

"The suit alleges that The Post 'targeted and bullied' 16-year-old Nicholas Sandmann in order to embarrass President Trump."

I'm reading about the lawsuit against The Washington Post in The Washington Post.
“In a span of three days in January of this year commencing on January 19, the Post engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism by competing with CNN and NBC, among others, to claim leadership of a mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified, and threatened Nicholas Sandmann, an innocent secondary school child,” reads the complaint.

It added, “The Post ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President.”

The suit was filed by Sandmann’s parents, Ted and Julie, on Nicholas’s behalf in U.S. District Court in Covington. It seeks $250 million because Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos paid that amount for the newspaper when he bought it in 2013....
An interesting basis for the claim of damages. When I just saw the headlines I guessed that $250 million was the estimated value of the life Sandmann would have had if the media hadn't ruined his reputation.
The Sandmanns’ lead attorney is L. Lin Wood, who represented Richard Jewell, the security guard falsely accused in the bombing of Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta in 1996. He also represented John and Patsy Ramsey in pursuing defamation claims against media outlets in connection with reports on the death of their young daughter, JonBenet....
Did Richard Jewell win his lawsuits? According to Wikipedia, it looks like there were 5 lawsuits, 4 of which were settled (with the amount of the settlement only known for the one against NBC ($500,000)). The Atlanta-Journal Constitution fought and won — with the court saying, "because the articles in their entirety were substantially true at the time they were published—even though the investigators' suspicions were ultimately deemed unfounded—they cannot form the basis of a defamation action."

Back to the new WaPo article. Here's an interesting juxtaposition of paragraphs:
The Sandmanns’ suit asserts that the newspaper “bullied” Sandmann in its reporting “because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap.”

It calls Phillips “a phony war hero [who] was too intimidated by the unruly Hebrew Israelites to approach them, the true troublemakers, and instead chose to focus on a group of innocent children.”
I read between the lines: If we're going to be sensitive about "bullying," this lawsuit is bullying the Native American man ("phony war hero") and the black men ("unruly"). WaPo's argument might be that there are a lot of colorful characterizations that get expressed, but they're not really falsehoods in the sense that ought to matter. That is, it shouldn't be so hard to report the news with vivid prose, and courts should refrain from delving into the motivations of the various speakers and judging who's got a "bullying" mentality. I'm not choosing sides at the moment, just trying to picture how the lawsuit might play out.

The WaPo article ends with the assertion that "A plaintiff must show that a defendant acted with 'reckless disregard' to sustain a defamation action." I don't think that's right. Sandmann was a private citizen. You on have to show "reckless disregard" ("actual malice") when you're suing a public figure. That's the First Amendment standard dating back to New York Times v. Sullivan.

Interestingly enough, it was just yesterday that Clarence Thomas wrote an opinion (concurring in the denial of certiorari) arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court ought to reconsider New York Times v. Sullivan. This was a defamation case brought against Bill Cosby by a woman who accused him of rape. The court below had decided that the woman, Kathrine McKee, was a "limited person public figure" who would have to show that Cosby had "reckless disregard" for the truth when he said defamatory things about her. She "thrust" herself into the public debate by talking about Cosby.
McKee asks us to review her classification as a limited-purpose public figure. I agree with the Court’s decision not to take up that factbound question. I write to explain why, in an appropriate case, we should reconsider the precedents that require courts to ask it in the first place.
Thomas wants to take up the entire question of the higher standard rather than to tinker with the scope of what it takes to trigger the standard, what it means to be a "public figure."
We should not continue to reflexively apply this policy-driven approach to the Constitution. Instead, we should carefully examine the original meaning of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. If the Constitution does not require public figures to satisfy an actual-malice standard in state-law defamation suits, then neither should we.
Well, that's a big deal! But it's only Clarence Thomas. And yet, who knows? President Trump, who's been appointing Justices lately, has said he wants it to be easy to sue for defamation. Maybe things are moving in that direction.

But in any case, Nick Sandmann wasn't a public figure when the media jumped on him and mauled him!

169 comments:

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lucid-Ideas said...

I sincerely truly hope that, should this fail to be settled out of court and go to trial, and a jury decides to award the maximum, WaPo shall henceforth be known as the Covington Post.

rhhardin said...

Sandmann was a public figure for the purpose at hand. Indeed the damages Sandmann can collect are against the first video maker, which damages would include making Sandmann a public figure.

The Post though is dealing with a public figure. Damages following from what the Post reported are recoverable against the original video maker but not the Post. They constitute proof of damage against the video maker, is all.

rhhardin said...

The decision has to preserve freedom to publish what you think is true without having to wonder if you've been deceived. That worry would suppress reporting of anything.

The deceiver would take the liability for deceiving, not the reporter.

rhhardin said...

I didn't care for his smirk, by the way. A child you stay far away from.

Hey Skipper said...

I read the article, then the first forty or so comments.

Lefties are a nasty bunch.

The decision has to preserve freedom to publish what you think is true without having to wonder if you've been deceived. That worry would suppress reporting of anything.

Then there is no such thing as journalism.

Sandmann was a public figure for the purpose at hand.

That logic is perfectly circular.

rhhardin said...

Justice Thomas is wrong because there's a tradeoff against the first amendment he isn't considering.

Browndog said...

Parts of the suit I read seem to feature the fact he was a minor child. It seems like there must be some statutory relevance.

I could be wrong.

rhhardin said...

You never really know that anything is true. How do you know it's a ball of wax? You only strictly see a surface, and only a front surface at that.

Solved long ago. God guarantees everything.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

WaPo - the house organ for the corruptocrats

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

can you be made a 'public figure' against your will,

and in so doing, be denied protection?

mccullough said...

Phillips deserves every word about him in that Complaint.

And Bezos deserves this suit. Maybe the kid loses the suit but the Compleint is good. It basically nails the Post and the other media. They are into narratives. White kid with MAGA cap.

Pretend not to notice the fringe black nationalists and promote the cigar-store Indian who is a liar.

All to Get Trump.

The complaint basically shows this whole thing was a non story. But the media leapt at the chance to Make Narrative.

And their dick-pick sending owner needs to take some responsibility for his employees bullshit.

TickTock said...

@rhhardin. Surely the higher standard for defaming a public figure loses all meaning if anyone can make someone else a public figure by posting their image on the internet.

Shouting Thomas said...

The lefty comments on WaPo's article are truly horrific. Read them.

rhhardin said...

It's in the law. Public figure for a specific purpose. It's doubtless there just to allow reporting on matters of public interest, which is thought to be a good.

Darrell said...

Free Prime for life.

Tank said...

Reading the Complaint itself, a lot of the “statements” do not appear to me to be defamation For example, accurately quoting what someone said is not defamation.

Also, I wonder why they did not include a “false light” Count, which would have been easier to prove and seems to better fit the facts in the Complaint.

Amadeus 48 said...

We can all look at the archive, but as I recall without looking at it, Althouse reacted to and cited Scott Adams's condemnation of the Covington boys, and then later noted Adams's complete retraction and apology, then viewed the longer tape herself and said she saw nothing there.
Again I note one of the all-time great comments made on this blog, when Freeman Hunt looked at the tape and said what she saw was America in the public square, people peacefully exercising their rights to free speech and free assembly.
If I am wrong, prove it.

mccullough said...

So everyone in the stands at an MLB baseball game is a limited public figure. Because the game is a matter of public interest.

That’s not the law.

Bay Area Guy said...

AA sez: "But in any case, Nick Sandmann wasn't a public figure when the media jumped on him and mauled him!"

Mr. Sandmann, bring me a dream
(bung, bung, bung, bung)
Make him the cutest that I've ever seen
(bung, bung, bung, bung)
Give him two lips like roses and clover
(bung, bung, bung, bung)
Then tell him that his lonesome nights are over…

- The Chordettes, "Mr. Sandman" (1954)

Browndog said...

I've never understood how there can be criminal carve-outs for one set of the citizenry.

Either all laws apply equally to all citizens or no laws apply equally to anyone. That's how you end up with stuff like "prosecutorial immunity".

Dave Begley said...

The staff writers and editors at WaPo surely know that this kid is not a public figure and the burden of proof is different. More narrative. More fake news.

Congrats to the lawyers for WaPo. $10m or more payday coming.

mccullough said...

Phillips, the fake Vietnam vet, is a public figure. He’s also a liar. Any reporter who was mildly competent knows it. His non existent war record was easy to find.

Only the Narrative Creators would not look because they rely on guys like the cigar store Indian as their go to players on this stuff.

If nothing else, the Covingtons put him out of business. Hopefully the Post is out of business soon. Let the leakers who control the Post’s coverage start their own websites.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Shouting Thomas - whole article is behind a paywall. I cannot access.
Re-post some of them. oh and let us guess - they are nasty death threats against Sandman.

Dave Begley said...

Plaintiff has a much better case against CNN.

Dave Begley said...

Damn right Phillips is a public figure. And his criminal record is easy to find. He asked from the Nebraska State Pen at a young age. Mr. Google told me.

Amadeus 48 said...

Team Sandmann has a long road to legal victory against news organizations and a short road to numerous settlements with undisclosed settlement figures. Afterwards, both sides will claim to have vindicated the wisdom of the first amendment. As to our our revolting "news" and opinion people, celebrities and political figures who defamed Sandmann, I see embarrassment and voluminous apologies, but little money changing hands.

Browndog said...

Reminder: This is one suit, specific to The Washington Post on behalf of one student. There are said to be many more with different plaintiffs and different defendants.

Jason said...

Good case. Bad filing.

mccullough said...

These Savages also went after Joe the Plumber for nothing.

The Narrative Creators. Anything for the Narrative.

The lawsuit is a public service because it exposes what despicable people they are.

They publish knowing lies all the time.

Smollet blew up in their faces. Next time perhaps they will use “alleged attack” when an obvious hoax from an unstable entertainer happens.

Jason said...

Sandmann was a public figure for the purpose at hand.

No.

If this is true then there's no such thing as a private figure.

Ann Althouse said...

Try again, Allen S.

I deleted your comment because you defamed me -- as the first commenter. Yeah, you put it in the form of a question, but that was sleazy and devious.

If you want to go back, find what I said about Sandmann early on, quote me, and make some point or ask a question, you can do that, but don't come here and shit at the top of the post and muse I wonder what that is?

mccullough said...

This suit isn’t about money. It’s about vindication.

Expose all the rats and show what they did and who they are.

Steven Hatfill didn’t win his lawsuit against the New York Times and Nick Kristoff. But he exposed that they are just stenographers and ass kissers for Mueller and the higher ups in government.

So anyone who trusts them is a moron. They are hacks and a disgrace. That lawsuit was a huge public service. The Times should have fired Kristoff. But they have no standards.

Jess said...

The Washington Post would have a good defense, if they'd made strong efforts to not only retract their stories, but to spend considerable time admonishing those that wrote the defamatory articles. They didn't, so their libelous behavior leads them exposed to the punitive damages of a law suit. Their actions caused considerable harm, and left many believing the plaintiff was not only of bad character, they should be punished for something they never did.

Considering the current political climate, many still consider the plaintiff as evil, and a simple poll would probably reveal the magnitude of the damage.

Hey Skipper said...

[DB@H:] Shouting Thomas - whole article is behind a paywall. I cannot access.

Copy the link.

Open an incognito window (Chrome)/private window (Safari)

Paste link.

Rory said...

If they can get to the point where discovery starts, there's going to be lots of email showing the intent to damage the kid for life, both physically and financially.

buster said...

Where was the lawsuit filed? Kentucky? D.C? Seems to me that makes a difference for bothegL and factual issues.

Browndog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buster said...

Both legal and factual issues

Browndog said...

All defendants were sent letters giving them 3 days to retract their false accusations in light of new "publicly available information" (the entire video), or face a lawsuit.

They did not.

Jupiter said...

"She "thrust" herself into the public debate by talking about Cosby."

So, if you drug and rape a woman, and she mentions the fact in public, that makes her a public figure?

Amadeus 48 said...

I am re-reading The Bonfire of the Vanities. Tom Wolfe nailed the problem of the media and media-driven narratives 30 years ago, but he had himself had written some pretty awful things about NYC glitterati.

Wolfe, of course, was a writer for the old NY Herald-Tribune, and he had laid some heavy timber to Felicia and Leonard Bernstein and others in Radical Chic.

Nostalgie de la boue. Who do you call to give a party?

Trumpit said...

I hate dimwitted Clarence Thomas and Trumptard rednecks. I'm also pro Native American. I might be biased from the outset. I don't understand what the fuse is all about. Care to explain in terms a highschooler can understand? In general, I'm all for trying to "get" Schlump who has defamed and demeaned so many people including "fat ass" Rosie O'Donnell. That's the pot calling the kettle black. Trump should pay a trillion dollars for his crimes against humanity including the American middle class.

Tank said...

Rh

“It's in the law. Public figure for a specific purpose”. Do you have a citation for this?

JHapp said...

If mob rule is ok we should teach it in our grade schools.

rhhardin said...

Almost anywhere.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_figure

roesch/voltaire said...

Well now we get a hint about the dinner conversation at the White House,and Thomas serves up the dessert.

Curious George said...

"Darrell said...
Free Prime for life."

Kramer deal.

Ken B said...

I like the amount. The value of NBC is what I would have given Zimmerman after they doctored a tape and tried to get him killed. Such an organization should not exist, and punitive damages exceeding its total assets are apt.

Amadeus 48 said...

Trumpit--

I don't get anything about the way you are thinking about this. Why bring up Rosie O'Donnell? He has said worse things about Little Rocket Man. Can't Rosie O'Donnell also call Trump a "fat ass"? He's a public figure, she's a public figure. Personal insults are of course stupid (but sometimes funny), and they are certainly below the dignity of the office, but isn't Trump for the most part counter-punching? He rarely insults someone who hasn't insulted him first.

"I am also pro Native American." Me, too. So what?

Please list Trump's crimes against humanity. I've got a list of Obama's to counter with.

How do you like the idea that we should drop hellfire missiles on guys we accuse of being bad guys and anyone standing near them? No judge, no jury, no prosecution, no military commissions, no right to defend, no right to appeal, just death from the sky and collateral damage.

Separating families at the border. Obama did it before Trump. What the hell are parents bringing their babies to the US border for? Why don'y they seek asylum at a port of entry to the US as the law requires? Why don't they seek asylum in Mexico as the international convention requires? The fault lies first with the illegal immigrants.

I could go on, but you seem hysterical.

Ken B said...

Hardin is making some pretty strong legal assertions, saying that Sandman is a public figure. Too bad we didn’t have a law prof who could enlighten us on this claim.

Michael K said...


The lefty comments on WaPo's article are truly horrific. Read them.


Evidence of damages. The business about what Bezos paid for the WaPoo is not helpful, I would think.

William said...

Yeah, there are first amendment issues, but I sincerely hope the lawyers find some way to thread the needle.......I can't help but notice the way the Westboros Baptist Church is treated versus the Black Israelites. The differences are stark......Phillips' life and history deserve the appellation of deplorable. I think with a little bit of research you could find some things that are even more deplorable than are currently known, but such research is not being done. Sandmann's offense against humanity consisted entirely of wearing a MAGA hat and having a forced, embarrassed smile in the presence of Phillips' drumming........The wrongs here are glaringly obvious. I hope the lawyers find some way to work around the first amendment issues.

tim in vermont said...

"A plaintiff must show that a defendant acted with 'reckless disregard' to sustain a defamation action."

Don’t worry, a DC judge will decide that they only acted with “extreme carelessness."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Sandmann was and, IS still, a private citizen.

If we use the infantilization of the young that the Liberals do in describing young adults. Sandmann is also a minor CHILD. 16 years old.

Go get 'em Nick!

The media is no longer a journalistic business, reporting the news and events. They want to MAKE the news and events. They print "unfounded" rumours and rank speculation as if those things are facts. When proven wrong they don't retract and why bother the damage is already done. People's lives are ruined. Their potential futures are burned to the ground.

The media has an agenda to push. They purposely stir up the uneducated volatile mob with no repercussions upon themselves. They have stepped far far out of their "safe" zone.

If we allow this persecution by a million dollar industry against private citizens to continue, then we might as well admit that there is no safety for anyone anywhere. Whi is next. You? Your children?

If that is the case, then we need to really consider how to protect ourselves from this persecution.

tim in vermont said...

Blogger roesch/voltaire said...
Well now we get a hint about the dinner conversation at the White House,and Thomas serves up the dessert.


Yes, obviously the little bastard deserves everything he got and more for wearing that fucking hat! Case dismissed!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

can you be made a 'public figure' against your will,

and in so doing, be denied protection?


Evidently. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Don't go out in public. You might do something while shopping for eggs and become a public figure.

Not Sure said...

If we're going to be sensitive about "bullying," this lawsuit is bullying the Native American man ("phony war hero") and the black men ("unruly").

Yes! Because spreading complete lies about a 16-year-old kid is exactly the same as calling a guy who fabricates his military experience a "phony war hero" and an unruly mob "unruly."

You been taking empathy supplements?

tim in vermont said...

If you want to go back, find what I said about Sandmann early on, quote me, and make some point or ask a question, you can do that, but don't come here and shit at the top of the post and muse I wonder what that is?

For a short time you assumed it was true, based on the fact that Scott Adams also thought it was true, IIRC, and then as the truth became clear, changed your position and made it very clear that the boys had been subjected to another of the left’s “two minute hates.” Had the WaPo done the same, they wouldn’t be facing this lawsuit. But that might have helped Trump and Trump is a public figure... The boys are just collateral damage and as I said above, deserve everything they got, just ask R/V.

Nonapod said...

I have no idea what kind of chance this suite realistically has, but I'm glad it's happening. There has to be real consequences for the dangerous behavior of these powerful media organizations or they'll just continue to behaive badly. There has to be some financial pain inflicted so that the next time a story like this appears, they'll be much more circumspect and skeptical before they incite a mob.

There has to be consequences for yelling "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater when there's no fire.

tim in vermont said...

I don’t think that “unruly” includes shouting racist and homophobic comments at a group of high school kids waiting for a bus. Nor does “phony” include exaggerating your military record. All truth is now based on identity. Get used to it.

Ralph L said...

It would be funny if they used the nasty WaPoo comments as evidence of damage.

mockturtle said...

Nick Sandmann wasn't a public figure

True. He should be suing for libel or slander, depending on the medium.

tim in vermont said...

I was at a tourist spot this weekend and there was a guy wearing a “Blue Nation” Democrat shirt. I am sure that had I threatened him with a gun, it would have been national news, yet someone in a MAGA hat gets threatened with a gun, as just happened.... crickets..

This is about intimidating Republicans, intimidating their donors, look at what NYS is doing to a donor to Trump’s inauguration, this is about battlespace prep. No Trump signs in your yards to be allowed, no bumperstickers on your cars allowed, this is about deplatforming the Republican base.

“We are killing democracy with darkness..."

AZ Bob said...

She "thrust" herself into the public debate by talking about Cosby.

The same can be argued against Sandmann when he put on the red MAGA cap.

Ironically, NY Times v. Sullivan has a lot to do with why the media is so distrusted today. But the interest of the free and fluid exchange of information demands that we stick with it.

Trumpit said...

"Care to explain in terms a highschooler can understand? - Trumpit

I would still like to know why a punk redneck kid with a MAGA red baseball hat deserves 45 cents let alone $250,000,000 for smirking and staring down an old Native American man beating his tom-tom drum during a protest against injustice? Show some respect toward your elders. I think young Sandmann and the elderly gentleman should sit down for a lunch of vegan chili, and iron out their differences. I'll spring for their lunch. The kid's parents are trying to make a killing out of a lawyer-driven frivolous lawsuit on the kid's behalf. Sad!

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

The real sin - displaying any support of Trump via a maga hat.

The fascist left will not abide.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Trumpit

You might want to educate yourself on what really happened. WE know you are a loyal leftist fascist, but do try and keep up.
We know in corrupt leftwing America- it would be illegal to wear a red hat. Bravo - brave leftwing fascists.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tank said...

@rh

Using your cite, he is clearly not a public figure.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

I was at a tourist spot this weekend and there was a guy wearing a “Blue Nation” Democrat shirt. I am sure that had I threatened him with a gun, it would have been national news, yet someone in a MAGA hat gets threatened with a gun, as just happened.... crickets..

This is about intimidating Republicans, intimidating their donors, look at what NYS is doing to a donor to Trump’s inauguration, this is about battlespace prep. No Trump signs in your yards to be allowed, no bumperstickers on your cars allowed, this is about deplatforming the Republican base.

“We are killing democracy with darkness..."


Indeed.

mockturtle said...

The purpose of this lawsuit is clearly to make news media accountable. They've gotten away with murder for decades.

rhhardin said...

He's damaged by being made a public figure. He can collect for that, but only from the video maker that did it.

For the rest, he is a public figure.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Democrat is one small step above fascism.

Gunner said...

The Left finally found a lawsuit against a billionaire that it doesn't support.

NC William said...

The doctrine of "limited purpose public figure" requires that the person in question have done something affirmative and active to insert himself -- in a public way -- into a matter of public controversy.

This whole case is literally about Sandmann NOT having done that.

The damages theory is novel and may not work, but these defendants will not be able to shield behind any higher standard afforded by the public figure doctrine(s).

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

Look at the reason for the public figure and limited public figure exceptions. It's so that you can say what you think based on what you think is true.

If being deceived doesn't excempt you from this, you can't say what you think about anything.

They want to prevent that from happening. Hence the higher standard and "public figure." It has to include enough so that a deception worked on you excuses you from liability, subject to much more accommodating standards of what counts as recklessness.

gahrie said...

@Althouse:

"Both Phillips and Sandmann were ordinary people living private lives in obscurity. They each did something that got them into the spotlight, but neither really asked or was at all prepared to be inspected and judged by millions. We should be charitable toward both of them. Ideally, they would never have been a news story at all. It is the media — mainstream and social — that deserve criticism."


Do you still believe that both Sandmann and Phillips deserve our charity? Do you still believe that Phillips did not ask to be in the spotlight? If you do...why? Isn't the reason this became a news story precisely because Phillips made it so? Do the actions of Phillips deserbe criticism? If not..why not?

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

'this lawsuit is bullying the Native American man ("phony war hero") and the black men ("unruly").'

NO NO NO ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY NO! Punching back at bullies is not bullying. Indigians and Blacks are the greatest crybullies in a nation of crybullies.

I know you said "if" we're sensitive about bullying, but the answer is NO.

Phillips is a lying, and probably drug-addled, valor-thief, and the Tar Baby Hebrew Idiots commit racists assaults all day long against all kinds of people, especially whites.

'It calls Phillips “a phony war hero [who] was too intimidated by the unruly Hebrew Israelites to approach them, the true troublemakers, and instead chose to focus on a group of innocent children.”

That is EXACTLY what happened. That's why one of the worthless Indigians said at the end, "We won Grandpa, we won!"

William said...

Once upon a time, if a priest was caught up in a sex scandal with an underaged street hustler, I would have given the priest the benefit of the doubt. Not so much anymore. The gestalt changes. The Church no longer inspires good will. Thus so with the press. I just don't trust them. The love they lavish on people like Phillips and Smollett versus the hatred they direct against people like Kavanaugh and Sandmann: It's unbalanced and unfair. No one in the Church seems to want to confront why these scandals keep happening. The press is even worse. They don't even think these debacles are scandals.

rhhardin said...

It's not like the public figure exemption is an arbitrary whim lobbied in by newspapers. It's necessary.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I would still like to know why a punk redneck kid with a MAGA red baseball hat deserves 45 cents let alone $250,000,000 for smirking and staring down an old Native American man beating his tom-tom drum during a protest against injustice? Show some respect toward your elders.

And thus Trumpit illustrates exactly why Sandmann should win his lawsuit for defamation, libel and slander.

readering said...

Richard Jewel was falsely identified as a deadly terrorist. Here? Seems like a mountain out of a molehill.

Bruce Hayden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

When a leftwing fascist falsely accuses you of something - shut up and take it.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

"Althouse reacted to and cited Scott Adams's condemnation of the Covington boys"

When I first saw the video, presented in a false light, of course, I thought the boys were unruly and bullying, but I didn't think it rose to the level of a crime, or any great sin, on their part, and I said so on some public forum. I didn't defame them. I thought they were being disrespectful, but almost all the other comments condemned them as vile racists and Trumpanzees who deserved death, or worse, and I was roundly vilified for not jumping on the hate bandwagon.

After the truth came out, it was obvious that the Covington students did no wrong at all, and Phillips and the Tar Baby Hebrew Idiots were the aggressors.

The point is, it's to avoid defaming people if your intention isn't to defame them.

Bruce Hayden said...


“Sandmann was a public figure for the purpose at hand. Indeed the damages Sandmann can collect are against the first video maker, which damages would include making Sandmann a public figure.”

I expect that WaPo will make that claim, and the response will probably be to ask precisely what did Sandman do himself to become a public figure. Was it going, like tens of thousands others, to the rally? Is everyone who went there that day a public figure? Or just the ones who Phillips picked out to harass? Was it wearing a MAGA hat? If yes, does that mean that all of the millions with those hats are public figures? And I think that they are going to lose. The key here is that before he was so visibly hassled by Phillips, all that he had done was wear a MAGA hat, like tens of thousands others to the rally. He was standing there, quietly, minding his own business, waiting for his school bus, when he was approached and harangued by Phillips, he just smiled and tried to ignore the harassment. How is that thrusting himself into the public light? Sure, WaPo wants him to be a public figure, because then he would have to prove actual malice to prove defamation. But that is a very slippery slope, allowing them to make anyone a public figure merely by running a story about them, that would be defamatory if they weren’t the press. That would effectively exempt them from liability, unless willfulness or gross negligence were proven (actual malice standard). But why should they have that escape clause, just because they are the press? If I say something false about you, through mere negligence, then I am liable for defamation, but they can do it with impunity because millions hear them say it because of their circulation, and gross negligence must be shown? Even if the reputations harm is far worse by their false statements, thanks to their circulation? No, I don’t think that argument works.

rhhardin said...

You can be an involuntary public figure. That's part of the damages that the video maker did to the guy. You don't have to do anything. But you can collect on it. Just not from the Washington Post.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Richard Jewel was falsely identified as a deadly terrorist. Here? Seems like a mountain out of a molehill

Readering is a racist smirking bigot who hates Native Americans. She acts in horrible ways. We know this by the way she dresses.

When she applies for any jobs, she should be turned away. Her children, spouse, parents.... and her little dog too!... are also horrible racists who oppress anyone of color. They hate Muslims as well. They should be denied admittance to schools, turned away from clubs they want to join and forbidden from ever being in the public again.

In fact the whole family and all of her friends are racists, oppressors and should be shunned at restaurants, grocery stores and denied any loans from banks. Economic opportunities are forbidden to the Readering family.

This "NEWS" should be spread far and wide through every newspaper and social media platform so that everyone nationwide...oh HELL....WORLD wide will do the appropriate thing and keep the despicable Readerings from ever being able to show their faces in public again.

Molehill?

Note: for the truth. I know nothing about readering IRL so everything I just wrote is speculation....but you can take it to the BANK!!

mccullough said...

Thomas is right. The public figure stuff is bullshit made up by Billy Brennan types.

If you are negligent in publishing inaccuracies about someone then you are liable for damages under state law. The first amendment doesn’t protect negligent falsehoods until Billy Brennan made it up in the 60s.

The damages for actual public figures for most falsehoods are zero. But that’s up to the jury.

readering said...

Where do I cash my check?

joe said...

You left out the part of the complaint that details verifiable false (at the time they were reported) "facts" that the WaPo ran in its stories. The heart of this complaint is that had the reporters simply reviewed the video that was available they would have know what they were reporting was false 0 or that they did and ran the with the false facts anyway. I think the case has legs. (And, I think that because I studied con law at the feet of Ann Althouse).

William said...

I don't know if Sandmann will win his case, but he most definitely has a case.......The Post and other news outlets are forfeiting trust and good will. They seem oblivious this this. Like Trumpit, they don't believe it is possible to libel a Trump supporter. Maybe they will win this case, but the survival of first amendment rights depends on people believing that first amendment rights are a force for good.

Bruce Hayden said...

Eugene Volokh (who teaches this stuff at UCLA): Libel Law and the Covington Boys

The boys are private figures, not public officials or public figures; they weren't famous or influential before this event. One could become a "limited purpose public figure" by voluntarily entering some particular debate; then one would be treated as a public figure as to claims relevant to that debate. But I doubt that just showing up at a rally would qualify, and in any event the rally they voluntarily joined was a "March for Life," not a rally focused on racism or Indian-white relations or the way to deal with protesters banging drums and chanting.

On the other hand, the criticisms of the boys were tied to questions of broader public concern, rather than purely private figures. In private figure/public concern cases,

* The First Amendment allows plaintiffs to recover proved compensatory damages (such as loss of business opportunities, loss of social standing, and emotional distress stemming from those harms) based on a showing that the defendant speakers' errors were negligent.

* But before plaintiffs recover other damages -- such as "presumed damages," which don't require a showing of specific loss, or punitive damages -- they have to show that the defendants knew their statements were false or likely false (the misnamed "actual malice" standard).

My guess is that the plaintiffs would have a hard time showing specific damages stemming from a particular Tweet or even a statement in an out-of-town newspaper. They may well be damaged by the controversy as a whole, but that doesn't mean they can show such damage stemming from a particular defendant's speech. They would therefore need to claim presumed or punitive damages; and that requires more or a less deliberate lie, not just a negligent mistake.

James Pawlak said...

It is the WAHSINGTON COMPOST.

tim in vermont said...

but that doesn't mean they can show such damage stemming from a particular defendant's speech.

That’s the defense that got the cops off on the Rodney King beating in the first trial. "Which of these blows exactly showed an excessive use of force?"

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

"Where do I cash my check?"

You don't. Even if you win the suit against DBQ, no bank will allow you to have an account. Even Check Into Cash won't deal with you an your ilk.

Your money is no good here.

tim in vermont said...

Blogger readering said...
Richard Jewel was falsely identified as a deadly terrorist. Here? Seems like a mountain out of a molehill.


Yeah, that’s what happened, the media made a mountain out of a molehill, permanently damaging these kids’ reputations. Before the media did this, you never heard of them, now you think of them as despicable punks. But like your party’s latest candidate for POTUS said: “What difference does it make at this point?"

Greg P said...

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution fought and won — with the court saying, "because the articles in their entirety were substantially true at the time they were published—even though the investigators' suspicions were ultimately deemed unfounded—they cannot form the basis of a defamation action."

But the articles the WaPo published were not "substantially true". Not unless they said "according to a quick look at a suspiciously edited video" every time they wrote anything about Sandman.



The WaPo article ends with the assertion that "A plaintiff must show that a defendant acted with 'reckless disregard' to sustain a defamation action." I don't think that's right. Sandmann was a private citizen.

Bingo. You know they think they're in the wrong, when they have to so blatantly lie about the relevant legal standard.

Who posted the video? Where is the unedited version? Why should we trust the obviously edited video that they posted? These are questions that any reputable news source would ask before publishing articles about the video. These are questions that will cost the WaPo a lot of money

Greg P said...

rhhardin said...
Sandmann was a public figure for the purpose at hand. Indeed the damages Sandmann can collect are against the first video maker, which damages would include making Sandmann a public figure.

The Post though is dealing with a public figure. Damages following from what the Post reported are recoverable against the original video maker but not the Post. They constitute proof of damage against the video maker, is all.
2/20/19, 7:55 AM


rhhardin said...
The decision has to preserve freedom to publish what you think is true without having to wonder if you've been deceived. That worry would suppress reporting of anything.


Wrong, and wrong.

1: The fact that someone takes a video of a private citizen and posts it online does not make that person a "public figure".

2: The right to publish comes with the duty to not lie about people. So yes, they absolutely carry the burden to figure out if they're being played.

They could publish about the video, making only true statements: "Someone unknown published a heavily edited video that makes some kids look bad. Because the video is so heavily edited, we have no idea whether or not the story it tells is true."

The problem was, telling the truth about the video would get in the way of their bigotry, and their desire to push a dishonest narrative. They went with their desires, not with the truth.

Screw them

Greg P said...

Blogger rhhardin said...
It's in the law. Public figure for a specific purpose. It's doubtless there just to allow reporting on matters of public interest, which is thought to be a good.

Bzzt.

"In December 2014, petitioner Kathrine McKee publicly accused actor and comedian Bill Cosby of forcibly raping her some 40 years earlier."

Thus, she became a public figure, because of her own actions.

Nicholas Sandman stood on some steps and was approached by a left wing activist intent upon doing him harm.

That does not make Sandman a "public figure".

tim in vermont said...

If the WaPo wins, it means that as long as an anonymous person puts something on the internet, that is enough to run with a story with no further investigation on their part, well, it will just prove that, as the football coach said that time: “They are who we thought they were!"

mccullough said...

Sarah Palin didn’t win her lawsuit against the Times but she embarrassed them.

Their defense is that they publish bullshit without even reading our own newspaper. They are careless and lazy.

The Post will likely win on a similar defense. We just publish what guys like Nathan Phillips day based on edited video we get from activists.

Trump can call them Fake News and Enemy of The People because they don’t have credibility,

This pre-dates Trump.

Trump also goes after the judiciary as well. It works because people have seen enough bullshit overvthe years that he’s just bringing a megaphone to call attention to what many people think.

The CIA and the FBI are the same. Guys like Brennan and Comey make it much easier as they have shown they are as goofy and full of shit as Trump.



Greg P said...

Blogger Jupiter said...
"She "thrust" herself into the public debate by talking about Cosby."

So, if you drug and rape a woman, and she mentions the fact in public, that makes her a public figure?


If you go to the police, and bring a rape charge, you're a private figure.

If you go to the press, and make a public statement, not in response to anyone else's statement, but as an attempt to get the ball rolling, then you've made yourself a public figure.

How difficult is that to understand?

cronus titan said...

Commenters who concluded that ALthouse originally assumed the COvington students as the offending party, and Phillips as the victim, read the original posts fairly. Althouse's original post, The Man in the Middle," stated:

"I am touched by the charity of "They were rambunctious."But I'm only guessing at what the video sounds like. I cannot bring myself to play it."

It then quotes the Lakota Peoples Law Project describing the event as the media reported it in the early days, with Phillips as the victim and praising the Law Project for being charitable in their description of the children. Deciding against viewing the video because "I cannot bring myself to play it" certainly cements an assumption that the Covington children did something terrible, so terrible that you cannot even watch it.

After Scott Adams viewed the video and cast serious doubt on the original story ALthouse wrote:

". . . I realize that my idea of what happened — which you're jumping on me about in the comments to the previous post — was influenced by listening to what Scott Adams said about it yesterday...So do I need to apologize for believing Scott Adams? Not exactly. My post — "The man in the middle" — is carefully written based only what I know, which is what I'm always doing around here. I wasn't a tube channeling what went through Scott Adams from CNN. I protect myself from that sort of thing. But the way in which I wrote around my lack of knowledge was influenced by what Scott Adams said yesterday, and he's apparently backing off from all that."

SO it starts with an admission of "my idea of what happened." THat confirms readers were fairly reading her original post. It then drifts into whether an apology is needed. It says no apology needed since Scott Adams influenced her initial thoughts (how are those tire marks on your back Mr. Adams?). Althouse pumped the brakes as the story emerges and someone who viewed the video (we know ALthouse did not until later because she told us) is saying he may have been wrong. I read through the other posts tagged "COvington" and she quickly abandoned the initial assumption when the truth started emerging.

In lieu of attacking readers and commenters who read the posts with an open and fair mind, it may be better to consider what lessons can be drawn when one of these charged stories emerge before we know much of anything.

Sorry for the length of this post. This is a great blog and ALthouse has interesting perspective (with interesting commenters!) but one has to indulge Althouse's unwillingness to admit a mistake, to the point of referring to comments as "sleazy and devious" for bringing it up.

While I'm at it, this is another example of why cruel neutrality is a fatally flawed theory. But that is a discussion for another day.

Jeff said...

They would therefore need to claim presumed or punitive damages; and that requires more or a less deliberate lie, not just a negligent mistake.
The misleadingly edited video was on the Internet and could be found via Google. The same was true of the longer video that showed the edited video was lying. It beggars belief that professional reporters could find one but not the other. If that's the Post's defense, they're going to have to get their reporters on the the stand to testify to their own incompetence under oath. How likely is that?

rhhardin said...

The Washington Post saw what they reported, with their own eyes. They didn't know the video was edited to be deceptive. That's why the first video maker is culpable, and damages can be collected against him. But not from the Post.

readering said...

The only harm to the boy came from being published in a a MAGA hat, which sets a lot of people off.

readering said...

The lawyers are like patent trolls. They plan to use the extended statute of limitations afforded a minor to scour the record for similar statements in other publications and bring repetitive lawsuits. It will be up to the insurers whether he sees any money out of this.

In that sense this lawsuit is not political.

Greg P said...

Blogger rhhardin said...
Look at the reason for the public figure and limited public figure exceptions. It's so that you can say what you think based on what you think is true.

If being deceived doesn't excempt you from this, you can't say what you think about anything.


1: If they were actually deceived, then they would have published a full retraction once the truth came out. They didn't, which is why they're getting sued.

2: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out." I realize that publishing lies to advance the left-wing agenda is much harder if the "news" papers are required to validate what they publish.

That's a feature, not a bug

Greg P said...

Blogger rhhardin said...
The Washington Post saw what they reported, with their own eyes. They didn't know the video was edited to be deceptive.

They knew the video was edited, they could tell that from scene jumps. Did they say "video shows"? That would be a false statement. Did they say "an edited video purports to show"? That would be a true statement.

Did they report that the video was edited? Did they report that the boys said things ("build the wall!", for example) that the leftists claimed the kids said, but that could not actually be heard in the video? When they truth came out, did they report that their previous reports were in error?

No?

Guilty

Greg P said...

Blogger readering said...
The only harm to the boy came from being published in a a MAGA hat, which sets a lot of people off.

Death threats? Threats of violence? Threats against his college career? Threats against any possibility of fire livelihood?

All those things come from the false posts about Sandman. And all those things are harms for which a libelist can be punished

Birkel said...

I agree with Tank in the first few comments.
A false light claim is a much better avenue for success against the MSM than is defamation.

I expect an amendment to the complaint.
This filing was meant to attract headlines and extract a response.

rhhardin said...

They knew the video was believable because otherwise the maker of the video would be sued for damages. That is, in a way, it's under oath.

Jeff said...

They knew the video was believable because otherwise the maker of the video would be sued for damages.
By that standard, every video ever made is believable.

Birkel said...

P.S.

rhhardin knows fuck all about the law.
That's not surprising but his continued recitation of poor reasoning and misunderstanding of fundamental legal principles is comedic.

I hope it's meant as a joke.
Trolling the Left, maybe?

MadisonMan said...

I am heartened I don't see a 'Lawsuits I hope will Fail' tag; neither do I see the 'Lawsuits I hope will succeed' tag.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, AllenS can’t defame you — you are a public figure.

Seeing Red said...

The only harm to the boy came from being published in a a MAGA hat, which sets a lot of people off.

How do you know that? The fallout has barely begun.

Birkel said...

Unless I am mistaken, readering alleges herself to be an attorney.

readering must therefore have a passing understanding of the First Amendment.

And readering is so politically biased as to assume damage happens merely from wearing a MAGA hat.

That circle cannot square.

I Callahan said...

Richard Jewel was falsely identified as a deadly terrorist. Here? Seems like a mountain out of a molehill.

Really? The kid and his family were getting DEATH THREATS. That's a DIRECT result of the journalistic malpractice that all of the media were guilty of that week.

You stand in his shoes and tell me it's a mountain out of a molehill.

I Callahan said...

That worry would suppress reporting of anything.

Bullshit. Here's how a real news reporter would have reported this story, if it even needed to be reported (it didn't):

"An activist and a group of youngsters stared at each other on the national mall today."

Simple, unassailable truth. Anything said beyond that was pure speculation, and the Post should be confronted for anything after that that was reported.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

is this loosely akin to the circular "verification" of the Steele dossier--
WaPo creates/amplifies the profile of a private citizen, prints false claims,
then claims they are now public figures cuz hey! they were written up in WaPo!!

mockturtle said...

Birkel observes: And readering is so politically biased as to assume damage happens merely from wearing a MAGA hat.

Maybe she believes it comparable to yelling FIRE! in a crowded theater. Such is the case today with Trump Derangement Syndrome. Doesn't take much to trigger violence and mayhem from the Left.

Yancey Ward said...

The reporting of the story itself isn't what is going to get the newspapers in trouble- it is going to be the editorials, the tweets, and the television "news" segments done by their employees under the papers' banners. You go through that collage of stuff said and written about Sandman and tell me that wasn't libel and slander.

stevew said...

I'm not a lawyer - which would be glaringly obvious were I to comment on the specifics of the law's application - so I won't attempt to assess the legal stuff on this.

What I see is the assertion of very bad behavior on the part of the Post toward young master Sandmann. The filed lawsuit asks for, demands perhaps, a ridiculously high dollar amount in compensation. The dollars demanded are not based on an enumerable loss that Sandmann suffered, rather it is based on the latest value assessment of the publication (the most recent purchase price). That tells me that a settlement of some kind is really what is sought - a public apology maybe or enough money to fund Sandmann's college education?

Greg P said...

Blogger rhhardin said...
They knew the video was believable because otherwise the maker of the video would be sued for damages. That is, in a way, it's under oath.

Right! Which is why the WaPo and NYT reported comprehensively on the CMP videos that showed that Planned Parenthood violates Federal law by selling aborted baby parts. They certainly didn't rush to point out that the videos were "edited", or solicit comments from lefties claiming the videos were "deceptively edited".

Yep! Once someone puts a video out in public, all the news sources are forced to report on it as if is completely legitimate! Because anything else would keep them from being able to do their job!

That's your claim, right rhhardin?

You might want to put down that bomb, step away from the keyboard, and not come back until you're capable of posting things that have some connection to reality.

William said...

Maybe the Post can weasel out of this on first amendment grounds, but does anyone here feel an increase in respect or sympathy for the Post because of their behavior in this case? The press screws up and afterwards shows little in the way of contrition ot or even acknowledging that their biases might be a source of their problem. They can only get away with this for so long before the laws get changed.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

stevew said: The dollars demanded are not based on an enumerable loss that Sandmann suffered, rather it is based on the latest value assessment of the publication (the most recent purchase price).

I'm not a lawyer either. But. I think the dollars demanded are base not only on current losses but future losses from the damage done. Lost future job and income opportunities. Inability to attend the school of his choice. Losses in being able to socialize, network, gain contacts in a chosen field. Not to mention current pain and suffering by being set up as the Left's favorite whipping boy.

Many wrongful death suits pay out on the lost opportunity cost basis or future assumed income basis.

If Nick Sandmann's chosen career was to become a lawyer or become employed in a high salary tech type of job and he is now denied this by the false and defaming stories, ant the character assassination, spread by the media AND by the media operatives personally on their Twitter feeds then he probably has a good chance of some substantial awards.

GOOD!

Drago said...

readering: "The only harm to the boy came from being published in a a MAGA hat, which sets a lot of people off."

Similar: This kid had it coming, every bit of it, but it wasn't so bad, even though it was, which is his fault.

Big Mike said...

@cronus titan, your lengthy summary is pretty good, as far as it goes. But go back just a little farther, to the "Deep Snow Cafe" posted by Althouse and Meade on the evening of January 19. Way back in the comments, commentator steve uhr (his capitalization) urged us to go look at a video. Here's what he wrote:

"Depressing video of punks wearing maga hats harassing native Americans. I’m sure trump had no influence on their behavior."

Some of us asked for a link and steve, who cannot be bothered to learn how to use an HTML a tag to set up a hot link, could only tell us to go to YouTube and search for "Native American." Some of us did just that and discovered that there were already multiple videos of the same event. The short ones tagged with "CNN," obviously edited, showed what steve uhr claimed it showed. But those of us who looked, myself, tim in vermont, Angle-Dyne, and others, quickly found at least one longer video that clearly showed Nathan Phillips aggressively initiating the incident. He was not the victim, he was the instigator.

Why is this important? First, because when Althouse wrote her post the next morning saying that she couldn't bear to look at the video, a number of us had already looked at videos and discovered that the one Adams had seen -- and Althouse declined to look at -- were edited to show the opposite of what had occurred. So some of us were harsh in our comments -- and if I was one of them, I apologize because there is no reason why our blog hostess or her husband need to have read the comments on the Cafe post. Certainly there is no obligation for either Althouse or Meade to read comment threads. But more importantly, with respect to the Post's defense, longer videos showing the truth of the incident were already on YouTube, the most publicly available video archive in the world.

So in answer to rhhardin, I think that the "public figure" defense, even if the lawyers for the Post can bamboozle a judge into accepting it, falls apart. The Post's writers can clearly be shown to be acting with "reckless disregard for the truth."

Big Mike said...

A second thought. Given all the people who have described a desire to attack and even assassinate Nick Sandman -- including, yesterday, our very own Trumpit -- he will need to pay for a bodyguard for the rest of his life.

Big Mike said...

N.B., if anyone wants to go look at the archived "Deep Snow Cafe" thread, it is the first post in the Althouse 01/20 Blog archive.

gahrie said...

"The only harm to the girl came from wearing a mini skirt, which sets a lot of people off."

PM said...

The stupidity of Citizen Journalism - as promoted by tech geeks and elevated by mainstream news.

cronus titan said...

@Big Mike: I looked up that thread. I saw the comment and how many commenters were already throwing the bullshit flag. You are right that Althouse and Meade are not obligated to read comments . . .but it shows they have pretty good commenters. I don't see why it is a big deal for ALthouse to say her first assumption was mistaken, and I really do not see why she thought it relevant or appropriate to engage in ad hominen attacks on comments (sleazy? devious? shit on a thread? really?). My experience tells me she over-reacted so much because she knows there is truth to it.

As for the Covington students, including Sandmann, being public figures, it takes a huge set of cajones to target minors on a false story and then claim that since you made them public figures they can no longer be treated as private minors.

tcrosse said...

As for the Covington students, including Sandmann, being public figures, it takes a huge set of cajones to target minors on a false story and then claim that since you made them public figures they can no longer be treated as private minors.

Which brings to mind the young man who murders his parents, then throws himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan.

cronus titan said...

ALso, Sandmann is in credible fear. Remember, the schools had to close for at least a day due to the death threats and Sandmann was not permitted t return to school until security was arranged due to all the death threats he was receiving. That will likely come out in the suit. THe Kentucky county prosecutor has stated on multiple occasions he is investigating a lot of people for terroristic threats (a felony under Kentucky law since it involves a school and students) and expects multiple indictments. He cautioned that it may takes a few months due to the volume of threats.

Big Mike said...

@cronus titan, unless the case law has changed in the past few years it basically says that a newspaper cannot make an individual into a public figure with a false story about them, then defend themselves by asserting that once the false story was published the person became a public figure. So it takes more than cajones — it takes ignorance of the applicable case law coupled with actual malice.

cronus titan said...

@Big Mike: I think you are right but that will not stop them from trying. THere is too much at stake if he is a private figure for them not to try anything to convert him into a public one.

By the way, after your post I checked the comments on the original "Man in the Middle" post. Althouse was getting hammered (at times inappropriately) for her assumption, and she entered the comments:

"And he did go looking for trouble. He's a professional agitator. He camped out on the Mall during the AIM days."

Can you link to something reliable that gives background on this man?

I don't care if he's a Native American activist from way back. That doesn't explain what he had in his head as he walked up to the boys. For all I can see, he wanted to greet the boys and give them a beat to dance to."

Althouse took a risk by declining to review the unedited video until later, and it turned out the entire video blew away the original hot takes.

As I said before, this is an interesting blog but one does have to indulge our hostess' unwillingness to acknowledge that she may have made an incorrect assumption. For unknown reasons, she cannot admit that she made a bad assumption, and erred by not viewing the unedited video.

Big Mike said...

@cronus titan, reasons are not unknown. She spent most of her life until now being a university professor. "I was wrong" is not normally part of a professor's vocabulary.

n.n said...

A private citizen. A teenager. An assembly of voices to oppose age discrimination, summary judgments, cruel and unusual punishment, and redistributive change. WaPo indulged in diversity and should be sued for defamation with a hate-crime enhancement. #HateLovesAbortion

alanc709 said...

Trumpit thinks Venezuela is too conservative. Why give a shit what that buffoon thinks? Someone has to be on the short end of the bell curve, thus we have Trumpit. An excellent illustration of what passes for intellect from someone with a double-digit IQ.

Rabel said...

The Post has deleted the incorrect statement about reckless disregard. It noted that the story had been updated but did not acknowledge the error.

Democracy Dies In Darkness.

Rabel said...

"A plaintiff can establish negligence on the part of the defendant by showing that the defendant did not act with a reasonable level of care in publishing the statement at issue. This basically turns on whether the defendant did everything reasonably necessary to determine whether the statement was true, including the steps the defendant took in researching, editing, and fact checking his work. Some factors that the court might consider include:

the amount of research undertaken prior to publication;

the trustworthiness of sources;

attempts to verify questionable statements or solicit opposing views; and

whether the defendant followed other good journalistic practices.

While you can't reduce your legal risks entirely, if you follow good journalistic practices you will greatly reduce the likelihood that you will be found negligent when publishing a defamatory statement."

That's from the Digital Media Project (which is supported in part by... the Philip L. Graham Fund!) regarding defamation of non-public figures.

The Post did none of those things before publishing the defamatory statements about Sandmann.

JaimeRoberto said...

If democracy dies in darkness, then Wapo is the heart of darkness.

Rabel said...

If I'm Sandmann's attorney I'm filing an addendum which quotes the comments from today's Post article.

FullMoon said...

The kid is sixteen, for god's sake. Even if he taunted the freak, he did not deserve a bunch of professional assholes jumping on him

If the kid had shot, stabbed, or beat the "hero", the media would not have published his pic.

And, I am not the only commenter here who knew or knows sixteen year old boys who would have taken that drum and smashed it on the aggressive NAs head.

Bruce Hayden said...

“They knew the video was believable because otherwise the maker of the video would be sued for damages. That is, in a way, it's under oath”

Doesn’t work that way, because, for one thing, the maker of the video is very likely judgement proof. WaPo so far is not. Unless, of course, you are taking about CNN editing the original to give the wrong impression. CNN too is not, yet, judgement proof.

readering said...

Too bad some people have difficulty parsing a short sentence.

Thought experiment. All the same things happened that day but the kid wasn't wearing a red MAGA hat. I submit that nothing would have come of the incident.

dreams said...

Well, there is this opinion too...

"Libel lawsuits are notoriously difficult for plaintiffs to win, but 16-year-old Nick Sandmann was not a public figure when the Post launched its allegedly defamatory coverage of his encounter with Nathan Phillips, which means that the standard is negligence, not actual malice."

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/02/why_the_washington_post_has_got_to_be_worried_about_the_quarter_billiondollar_defamation_lawsuit_filed_by_nick_sandmann_and_his_parents_.html#ixzz5g6mn1gRR

Drago said...

readering: "I submit that nothing would have come of the incident."

readering inadvertantly admits that the lefty media would have found the covington high schoolers less politically useful if they weren't wearing MAGA hats.

readering thinks this is somehow a media/lefty activist (but I repeat myself) exonerating consideration.

Discuss.

Rick said...

All the same things happened that day but the kid wasn't wearing a red MAGA hat. I submit that nothing would have come of the incident.

Slight correction: there would have been no incident. Phillips would not have approached the kids and there would have been no narrative for the media to promote.

Tomcc said...

Readering: All the same things happened that day but the kid wasn't wearing a red MAGA hat. I submit that nothing would have come of the incident.
We'll never know, but the fact that they were from a Catholic boys school could also have been politically useful.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

readering:

Thought experiment. All the same things happened that day but the kid wasn't wearing a red MAGA hat. I submit that nothing would have come of the incident.


So you ARE saying it was because he was wearing a hat that he deserved this treatment? That he and his group were PICKED out of the crowd because of was wearing red hats?

If they were not wearing the "offensive" red hats there would not have been any thing to make a BFD about?

Thought experiment. What if the kids were wearing Black Panther regalia? Would that justify the 'incident'? I mean, if we are going to justify mistreatment and vilification based on what you are wearing or how you look (black, hispanic, muslim) where will it end?

Or...just MAGA wearing hat people are fair game?

Jim at said...

All the same things happened that day but the kid wasn't wearing a red MAGA hat. I submit that nothing would have come of the incident. - readering

Thanks for unintentionally making our point.

I, for one, welcome the fact the left has made it completely acceptable to get up in the face of someone wearing something I don't like and I can claim to be the victim.

Think Nazis are the only ones who have punchable faces?

Once again, you people have no idea of the shit you're trying to unleash. None.

tim in vermont said...

readering is right. If he hadn’t have worn a forbidden hat, it wouldn’t have been necessary to pour the torrent of lies on their heads. If it weren’t for that hat, the WaPo could have maybe updated their stories to explain that they had their facts wrong. But Trump is a public figure and the hat, the hat!

tim in vermont said...

Excuse me child but the hat you are wearing is verbotten and nobody can be responsible for what we are about to do to you. Sorry, not sorry.

Rusty said...

"where will it end?"
In the ususal leftist way. In a boxcar on the way toa remote,"camp". They really are motivated by hatred for anyone who isn't them.

tim in vermont said...

It's not hatred, only deplorables hate, it's disappointment that we had to do this to you.

tim in vermont said...

People have to learn that political opposition to liberalism is forbidden and unforgivable.

narciso said...

except Zimmerman didn't need any paraphernalia, he was just a convenient target that the crump julian axis had seized upon, abc and NBC's media malpractice as well as that of the times, the herald and the atlantic, made him into a public person,

wholelottasplainin' said...

Ken B said...
Hardin is making some pretty strong legal assertions, saying that Sandman is a public figure. Too bad we didn’t have a law prof who could enlighten us on this claim.
***************

Hardin is, as usual, full of shit.

If his reading of the law were true, then the media could pick out ANY person videoed in public, slander/libel him, and then claim they slandered/libel him BECAUSE his presence in the video made him a "public figure".

Bullshit.

Greg P said...

Blogger readering said...
Too bad some people have difficulty parsing a short sentence.

Thought experiment. All the same things happened that day but the kid wasn't wearing a red MAGA hat. I submit that nothing would have come of the incident.


Then Phillips would have picked out a different kid, one who was wearing a MAGA hat.

Perhaps that kids would have (quite properly) punched Phillips in the nose for Phillips assault on the kid. Who knows?

As it was, Phillips picked out someone (Sandman) whose behavior was so beyond reproach that you could only attack him if you were a bigot.

"MAGA hat == bad person" == "bigot"

Douglas B. Levene said...

Sandmann doesn't have to prove recklessness to win a libel case but he probably must show some seriously bad scienter in order to win punitive damages.

Gospace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rusty said...

I guess, according to readering, that the item has agency and must be dealt with. The item brands you and lets the enlightened know who their enemy is. In another time and another place it ws yellow stars sewn onto clothing.

Rusty said...

Sleazy, Devious and Lowe LLD. Specializing in personal injury cases.