Monday, May 14, 2007

There's No Law Against Moral Terpitude (Important Update Below)

Technorati Tags: , ,


Libby Spencer, writing at The Impolitic:

I have to agree there's no grounds for the DNC to sue either Powerline or Glenn Reynolds. Being morally bereft is not a crime unless it ends in actual violence. But they both deserve to be taken out behind the woodshed and soundly whipped for recklessly and worse yet, approvingly, promoting a vicious rumor they have to know is false.

There's not one shred of evidence beyond the rantings of some knuckle-dragging shock jock who's looking for a ratings boost by spreading a malicious lie. They don't have audio. They don't have an eyewitness testimony. They have an ugly falsehood that makes the Democrats look bad and they run with it. And then they attempt to justify such irresponsible conduct as an exercise of the First Amendment.

I call BS on that. It's exactly this sort of abuse of the FA that has diminished its standing in the eyes of the public. All they're doing is pushing us down that slippery slope to censorship when they put up posts that in essence say, "Nyah, nyah - we can lie and get away with it." And they can legally and gleefully pass on someone else's lies. But Glenn is wrong, wrong, wrong when he declares the threshold of malice would be hard to reach against the jock. Unless that jerk can come up with some evidence to back up his smear, what possible reason can be proffered for disseminating it except to harm its target's reputations - public figures or not?

I hope the DNC sues the pants off the bastard and his station. I'm all for unfettered speech when it comes to opinions but it's about time we set some parameters on what lies the media is allowed to foist off as facts on an unsuspecting public.


Scott at Powerline takes being morally bereft to as yet undreamed of heights:

We have heard directly from the Brownback campaign in response to my post "To the DNC: Sue us." The Brownback campaign writes:

Just to be clear, the call between Sebelius and Brownback never happened. I don't know what the source here is, but the existence of the phone call has been fabricated out of thin air.

I don't know what the source here is either and I take the denials of the DNC and the Brownback campaign at face value. My point is not an endorsement of the truth of the statements made by Jim Quinn that were related on Free Republic. If Jim Quinn made up the story, that is reprehsensible [sic].

My point is that the DNC letter threatening Free Republic with a defamation lawsuit on behalf of the Democratic National Committee is an act of thuggery, akin to the threats that faced Sinclair broadcasting at the end of the 2004 campaign. The DNC's threat against Free Republic is not well grounded under the First Amendment and the DNC's warm-up for the 2008 campaign should be stuffed now.

Excuse me? "IF Jim Quinn made up the story, then that is reprehsensible" reprehensible? Brownback himself just told Scott, in writing, that the story was "fabricated out of thin air"! But that's not really the important thing here, is it? The real priority here is for Scott to tell us, again, that the cease-and-desist letter is an "act of thuggery" -- although he knows, now, that Sibelius never met with Brownback, never had that conversation, and that Free Republic allowed a post to remain on their site that was, and is, a blatant lie. And somehow, despite the fact that a right-wing radio shock jock blithely passed on to his listeners malicious falsehoods from unconfirmed, unreliable, unknown sources; and despite the fact that one of those listeners published a post on a widely read conservative forum repeating the lie, as if it were truth; and despite the fact that the forum kept the post on its site, knowing the provenance was unknown and the charges unconfirmed and that another person's reputation and career could be badly damaged by what was clearly baseless gossip -- despite all that, it's the attorney for the DNC who is to blame, for being "thuggish" enough to threaten a legal challenge to statements that were unarguably false, and thus libelous.

No comments: