Libel

Libel Law and the Covington Boys

Facts vs. opinions; compensatory/presumed/punitive damages; negligence, recklessness, and knowledge; libel per se; timing; choice of law; and more defamation law fun.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Some readers have been asking me about whether the Covington High School boys could sue various people who have said various things about them. (For more on the story, see this Robby Soave [Reason] article, and this Caitlin Flanagan [The Atlantic] article.)

It's hard to tell, because to my knowledge no lawsuits have been filed, so we don't know exactly who would be suing whom over what statements. Still, let me offer a few general thoughts. (Note that this is entirely apart from the important matters of media ethics and personal ethics that this incident implicates; I'm focusing here solely on the legal questions, because that's where I think I have something to contribute.)

[1.] Fact vs. opinion. A lot of derogatory, even unfairly derogatory, criticism is treated as pure opinion, and thus not legally actionable. For instance, claiming that someone's appearance in some video (especially one that you link to) reflects a "smirk" (rather than a pained smile) and stems from racism, is likely to be seen as an opinion: A reasonable reader would understand it as the poster's subjective judgment about the video subject's motivations, and thus as speculation rather than an assertion about provable fact. To quote a nice summary from a recent federal district court case,

Statements indicating that Plaintiff is racist are clearly expressions of opinion that cannot be proven as verifiably true or false. While there appears to be no North Carolina court expressly addressing this issue, many courts in other jurisdictions that have faced the issue of defamation claims based on accusations of bigotry or racism have held the statements to be nonactionable statements of opinion. See, e.g., Stevens v. Tillman, 855 F.2d 394, 403 (7th Cir. 1988) (holding that neither general statements charging a person with being racist, unfair, unjust, nor references to general discriminatory treatment, without more, constitute provably false assertions of fact); Standing Comm. on Discipline v. Yagman, 55 F.3d 1430, 1440 (9th Cir. 1995) (holding that calling a judge "anti-Semitic" was a non-actionable opinion); Ward v. Zelikovsky, 643 A.2d 972, 980 (N.J. 1994) (accusation that plaintiffs "hated Jews" nonactionable); Covino v. Hagemann, 627 N.Y.S.2d 894, 895 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1995) (dismissing defamation claim based on statement that plaintiff was "racially insensitive," observing "an expression of opinion is not actionable as a defamation, no matter how offensive, vituperative, or unreasonable it may be" and "[a]ccusations of racism and prejudice" have routinely been found to constitute non-actionable expressions of opinion); Williams v. Kanemaru, 309 P.2d 972 (Haw. Ct. App. 2013) (accusation of racism based on disclosed facts not actionable for defamation); Lennon v. Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, No. 86651, 2006 WL 1428920, *6 (Ohio Ct. App. May 25, 2006) ("[W]e find that appellant's being called a racist was a matter of one employee's opinion and thus is constitutionally protected speech, not subject to a defamation claim.").

On the other hand, claiming that a person made a particular statement would be a factual assertion, and might well be libelous if false and defamatory (i.e., if the statement, if made, would reflect badly on the person).

[2.] Speaker's mental state. Say that a speaker had made a false factual assertion about one of the Covington boys. What mental state would the plaintiff have to show on the speaker's part? From a First Amendment perspective, that turns on whether the plaintiff is a public figure or public official, and whether the speech is on a matter of a public concern.

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.

[3.] Libel per se? The boys appear to be from Kentucky, so it seems likely that any suit they bring will be governed by Kentucky law. (That's the general choice-of-law rule in cases of libel by media that crosses state boundaries.) Under Kentucky law, and under the law of many other states, a plaintiff may only recover presumed damages for accusations that are "defamatory per se"—"those which attribute to someone a criminal offense, a loathsome disease, serious sexual misconduct, or conduct which is incompatible with his business, trade, profession, or office." (The same rule likely applies to punitive damages as well.)

So if a teenager is just being accused of being rude or racist, I doubt this would qualify as "per se" defamation; he then would need to show proved compensatory damages, or what are often called "specific damages" rather than the presumed "general damages." (One can argue that accusations of racist smirking, even at a political rally, may eventually harm the boys' business prospects in their future professional lives; but while that may be factually plausible, I don't think such long-term potential harm in a future business, trade, profession, or office would qualify under the "per se" test.)

As I mentioned above, such specific damage to reputation might be hard to show for most Tweets and out-of-state newspaper publications. On the other hand, if someone is accused of hitting or threatening people, that's an accusation of crime, and thus defamatory per se.

Note that the rule seems to be somewhat different in Ohio, where other statements that "hold [plaintiff] up to a public hatred, contempt or scorn" can qualify as defamatory per se; so if some of the boys live in Ohio (that seems possible, since I think Covington Catholic High School is very near Cincinnati), they might have a stronger case.

[4.] Knowledge/negligence as of when? Say that someone posted an accusation sincerely believing it to be true, but then it was shown that the accusation was false, but the poster refused to take it down. Can the plaintiff successfully argue that keeping the post up with knowledge of falsehood or likely falsehood is libel, or does it matter only what the defendant knew when he initially posted the material?

Likewise, even if the negligence test applies, say that, when an accusation was posted, the poster reasonably believed it to be true—but then learned of facts that would lead a reasonable person to no longer believe that. If the poster refuses to take down the post even then, can the plaintiff argue that keeping the post up is negligent, or does it matter only whether the defendant was negligent when he initially posted?

Surprisingly, that is not a well-settled question; the cases are split, and there are good arguments on both sides. On one hand, the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 577(2) states:

One who intentionally and unreasonably fails to remove defamatory matter that he knows to be exhibited on land or chattels in his possession or under his control is subject to liability for its continued publication [once he learns about the defamatory statement].

Illustration: 15. A writes on the wall of the men's washroom in B's tavern a statement that C is an unchaste woman. B fails to discover the writing for an hour. After he discovers it, he fails to remove it for another hour, although he has ample opportunity to do so. During the second hour the writing is read by several men. B is subject to liability for the continued publication of the libel during the second hour, although not for the original publication. [That illustration is drawn from an actual California court case. -EV]

The logic of this provision seems to apply to Web sites owned by the publisher, and to publishers who knew about the statements from the outset but only later learned that they were false. (Because the Restatement is an influential summary of court cases, not a statute, courts can apply it by analogy even to situations that may fall outside its literal words.) On the other hand, some courts have held that, under the so-called "single publication" rule, the validity of a libel claim is judged solely as of the time the libel was initially published. I'm writing a law review article on this subject right now, and I hope to post more about it in coming months.

[* * *]

There's more to be said, but the post is long enough as it is. I'll leave it at that for now, though I might have more follow-up posts in days to come.

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  1. “under the law of many other states, a plaintiff may only recover presumed damages for accusations that are “defamatory per se” — “those which attribute to someone a criminal offense, a loathsome disease, serious sexual misconduct, or conduct which is incompatible with his business, trade, profession, or office.” ”

    Uh… why would this not apply to accusations of racism? Under modern sensibilities, racism is treated as the most loathsome disease that exists. It would not be difficult for plaintiffs to offer dozens of prior examples of people being fired from their jobs solely on the basis of having been accused of racism on social media. And when an employer fires someone for such an offense, they often outright state that the conduct is, in essence, incompatible with business, trade, profession, office, etc.

    Racism is treated as basically the worst cardinal sin one can possibly commit. If that’s not defamatory per se, I struggle to imagine what is…

    1. In short, would it be better to be accused of having a sexually transmitted disease…or of being a racist?

      1. It would certainly be interesting, in a PR sense, if the media outlets defense against such a suit was “Being a racist isn’t really a big deal, so it wasn’t defamatory.”

        Would they really want to be on the record saying that? I half expect they’d be willing to die on the sword of “It’s not defamatory because it’s true – they really are racists.”

        That’s certainly what a whole lot of them are doing right now as it regards their reporting…

        1. you would be surprised at what hills a firm is unwilling to die on at the advice of the legal department. A judgement against them, and the precedent it sets can be more reputationally damaging than a moment of inconsistency.

          1. Normally I’d agree with you, hence the “half expect.”

            But the media seem to be particularly sick and deranged. If they cared about maximizing profit, they wouldn’t be spending so much time on social activism and vilifying huge swaths of the population in the first place.

            A whole lot of them are money-losing operations that exist as pet projects for billionaires who made their fortunes in other industries. They are glorified super-PACs, whose primary mission isn’t to make money or to inform the public, but to help Democrats win elections.

            1. Rather than discussing a “lawsuit,” what we should be discussing is why certain individuals involved in this matter are not being arrested and charged with criminal libel for any statements made that may strike prosecutors as defamatory. Eugene has courageously affirmed the conservative position that criminal libel laws may be constitutional, despite the vagueness of such laws and the Court’s rulings in Garrison and Ashton (including its inappropriate suggestion in Garrison, quoting the model penal rules, that there was no longer any justification for criminalizing libel now that we no longer have duels and the like). Eugene has also very courageously staked out a similar position in his commentary on our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case. See the documentation at:

              https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

              Thankfully, Eugene has chosen not to address opposing arguments on his understanding of which forms of satire and parody are acceptable and which are not, a silence that reflects the best of America’s current academic standards. Those who believe that Eugene’s polite failure to engage exemplifies what is called “hit and run” scholarship (sometimes regarded as an unethical way of silencing one’s adversaries in a controversy or debate), should themselves be silenced, and perhaps arrested and charged with libel as well.

              1. “what we should be discussing is why certain individuals involved in this matter are not being arrested and charged with criminal libel”

                Probably because “criminal libel” is not really a thing in most states.

                1. It certainly is a “thing” in North Carolina. Here is a map of the 23 American states that still have criminal libel laws:

                  https://tinyurl.com/criminal-libel-laws

                  And, with Eugene Volokh’s continued support, let us hope that the unfortunate international movement against criminal libel laws can be stopped in its tracks and reversed. If we try, perhaps we can get it reinstated in New York’s criminal code, given the decision in that state’s leading criminal “satire” case.

                  Especially noteworthy are the insidious decisions of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and of the European and African Courts of Human Rights, that no one should ever be sent to jail for libel; clearly we must do everything we can to prevent such foolish rulings from being acknowledged and furthered by any American court of law. Fortunately, Eugene, in taking his courageous stand that criminal libel laws can be constitutional, has avoided addressing those decisions, and hopefully he will continue to do so.

                  1. “It certainly is a “thing” in North Carolina.”

                    Which would be relevant because…

                    1. North Carolina…

                      “Which would be relevant because…”

                      I misspoke, as my mind was focused on the “recent federal case” Eugene cites. Criminal libel is a “thing” not only in North Carolina, but in Kentucky, where the victims reside (see the map of 23 American states). The libelous statements, which can, and should, be prosecuted under Kentucky’s criminal libel laws, have repeatedly gone through Kentucky’s electronic circuits. We should be taking action to have these people arrested, not mildly discussing whether they could be served with a lawsuit. Only full prosecution under the law will dissuade similar conduct in the future.

            2. ” If they cared about maximizing profit, they wouldn’t be spending so much time on social activism and vilifying huge swaths of the population in the first place.”

              Meh? Fox News is profitable, is it not?

              1. Fox reports real news and keeps their opinion programs separate. You just don’t like them.

                1. “You just don’t like them.”

                  No shit? No shit.

                  Now, look at the text I quoted, and try to figure out how it doesn’t apply to FNC.

      2. Gay boys with AIDS have been killing others for decades. Apparently that’s OK. They’re the libtard’s golden children.

        1. Get an education. Start with standard English, focusing on punctuation.

          Maybe try to develop some character, too.

          Carry on, clinger.

          1. Get a gun. Shoot yourself in the face. If for some reason breath is still coming out of your retarded face, repeat step two.

            1. I’ve been trying to get him to off himself for months without success. Maybe he will listen to you.

    2. Except that many people are accused of racism and it has no ill effect. For example, every president to-date has been accused of racism.

      So quite obviously, the accusation alone isn’t enough. It would have to be a credible accusation that is likely to cause harm.

      Which then gets you into a Catch-22… the accusation has to be credible enough to cause harm, but not so credible that the jury thinks “since they are actually racist, it’s not libel/slander”.

      1. I certainly agree that it will be quite difficult for the boys to quantify and prove some objective harm they have suffered.

        What I dispute is that, under current social mores, we can somehow have a category of certain things that count as “defamation per se” that does NOT include allegations of engaging in racism.

        1. Seeing as half the country treats thinks it’s worst to accuse someone of racism then for a person to be racist, I don’t think your dispute is going anywhere.

          To use an example, it used to be possible to win a slander/libel case when someone called you gay. These days it’s much much harder because fewer people care if you’re gay, so it’s not slander/libel anymore.

          So seeing as half the country is going to see an accusation of racism and roll their eyes and whine about over-sensitive PC liberal whiners? Sorry, y’all played yourselves.

          1. “So seeing as half the country is going to see an accusation of racism and roll their eyes and whine about over-sensitive PC liberal whiners? Sorry, y’all played yourselves.”

            No sorry this argument doesn’t hold any water. The “rolls their eyes” comes because the accusation is obviously false, not because it’s not damaging if it’s proven true.

            1. You know what? I don’t care anymore. Go test this empirically if you want. Find someone that’s called you racist, and try to sue them for libel/slander as appropriate.

              If I’m right, you’ll lose your suit and waste your money. If you’re right, you’ll win your suit and get some money.

              I gotta warn you though, the fact that so many folks call other people racist and don’t get sued into bankruptcy doesn’t look good for your position.

              1. But Escher, that test does not address the issue above. Accusing someone of having a sexually transmitted disease is in the examples above as meeting the threshold of “defamatory per se”. So is ‘serious sexual misconduct’. Yet many folks make exactly such accusations against other people and also don’t get sued into bankruptcy.

                1. You’re confusing my warning for the test.

                  The test is still good, even if my warning was a bit hyperbolic. If, as smartmuffin believes, being called racist is “defamation per se”, then you, smartmuffin, Jwatts, or anyone else, should be able to easily win a slander/libel lawsuit on the grounds that someone called you racist.

                  So if it’s such a horrible thing to be called, it should be an easy win.

                  Unless you don’t think it’s such an easy win, but then it’s probably not a bad enough accusation to be defamation per se, no?

                  1. I didn’t think defamation per se necessarily made it easier to win the case (other than by making it easier to show damages).

        2. Administrators of their school condemned them based on reports they heard and read. Would you want to go back to school there? That’s harm and emotional distress. Every tweet can be presumed to have been read by them.

          1. ” Every tweet can be presumed to have been read by them.”

            That’s not how it works.

      2. Regular people aren’t the president, and suffer tangible harm far more easily than the present would. Media accusations of racism, destroy an entrepreneur’s business, cause job loss, loss of social standing or alienation of influential public or private organizations, prevent acceptance into academic institutions, investigate and potentially loss of professional credentials, and even galvanize others to commit damage to property or even to the person in question.

        The president is unique in that they have almost come,etc cover on all of that. So it’s not a good example.

        1. Cool story.

          “Last of the Shitlords” is racist.

          Lost your business, job, social standing, and been alienated from influential public or private organizations yet?

          It’s almost like y’all have won on this point, that being accused of being racist isn’t that big a deal anymore.

          1. It’s almost like y’all have won on this point, that being accused of being racist isn’t that big a deal anymore.

            when it’s tossed about indiscriminately, the term tends to lose its value. It’s why the left moved to nazi and supremacist.

            1. So you disagree with my connotations, but do you disagree with the substance?

          2. You calling another poster a racist in a comment section read by dozens is exactly nothing like what has been done to the Covington kids. Since you appear capable of typing a grammatically correct sentence, I have to assume you know that and choose to ignore it for reasons of your own.

            1. I’m pretty sure my reasons are pretty obvious. I’m tired of the over-dramatic hyperbole.

            2. Someone who would be bothered by being labeled a racist wouldn’t wear that goofy red hat.

              1. Someone as retarded as you would do the world a favor and kill yourself.

              2. > Someone who would be bothered by being labeled a racist wouldn’t wear that goofy red hat.

                Kirkland is still under the impression that anyone here takes him seriously when he repeatedly shouts “Bigot!!” at anyone who disagrees with him, then follows it up with all sorts of prejudiced notions about people because of what they wear. Meanwhile, he has nothing to say about the BHI jackasses who deserve the lion’s share of the blame for this whole event.

                We (non-leftists) are supposed to wear clothing, make facial expressions, and stand in postures of which totalitarian leftists like Kirkland approve. This is why I have begun to believe that the nazi party were more left than anything. Setting aside the left’s repeated anti-semitic comments lately, and their refusal to treat leftists like Farrakhan as the bigots they are, the ever-increasing number of innocent actions they declare to be off-limits resemble the way Jews had to take their hats off and bow their heads when they walked by an ethnic German. Those rules were arbitrary and constantly changing too.

          3. I’m so racist I have a multiracial, non white family.

            1. I hate to tell you this, but non-white people can be (and sometimes are) racist, too.

              1. I’m white, they’re not. But the real truth is that the racists in America are the progressives.

                1. “I’m white”

                  Who give a shit?

              2. Did you just discover this?

        2. More for the lawyers around here, but I read it’s impossible to libel the President because the theory of libel is based on somebody else having a “bigger megaphone” than you, and your free speech cannot successfully counter it.

          Yet there is no billionaire, no company, no entire country out there that has a bigger megaphone than the President.

          1. I’m pretty sure that’s wrong on both counts. It is hard to libel the President but not impossible.

            And I’ve never heard of any theory of libel based on comparative megaphone sizes. In fact, there are lots and lots of libel cases where the person with the bigger “megaphone” still won the case. Consider, for example, any libel claim filed by a company against an individual. Companies will almost always have more resources and greater access to media yet they routinely win cases when the legal elements of libel against them are met.

          2. I read it’s impossible to libel the President

            Dan Rather and mary mapes got away with it

      3. If you think the accusations of racism hurled at Donald Trump have had no ill effect, you haven’t been paying attention

        1. That he was elected to the highest political office in the United States and arguably the world, and that his political party is so happy with his performance, and confident in his electability, that they’ve already thrown support behind him and want to skip the primaries?

          Clearly he has suffered greatly.

          1. A guy angling for bigots’ votes doesn’t mind being known to be a bigot.

            1. A sniveling retard like you apparently doesn’t mind knowing that every single sane human being on the planet hates you and would celebrate your death, preferably at your own hands.

            2. > A guy angling for bigots’ votes doesn’t mind being known to be a bigot.

              Well that didn’t take long. I only had to do a 1/4 turn of my scroll wheel down from my previous comment about Kirkland to find an example of his making my point.

      4. Don’t you suppose that false accusations of racism which have forseeably led to death threats against the boys would constitute harm?

        1. Nah, not really.

          Look at Alex Jones. Years of calling Sandy Hook a hoax, harassing the parents of the dead kids, leading to real-world physical confrontations and harassment. Making actual money off of harassing and mocking these families. And odds are, he’s still going to win. Because the bar for slander/libel, even when your libelous articles lead to death threats, is very high in the US.

      5. I don’t think it’s quite true that accusing every (Republican!) President of racism has no effect. It’s just that, if you’re doing it to every one of them, you’re not going to notice a difference.

        How would Republicans do with black voters if not accused of racism? You can’t answer that question, because they all get accused!

      6. ” every president to-date has been accused of racism.”

        Which is the main reasoning behind the public figure exception – being where they are says they are unlikely to suffer the harms that private figures would.

        POTUS aint worried much about getting into college, or his kids getting into college.

    3. Calling someone a racist is a subjective judgment. The other examples cited are all provable facts.

      1. Another reason why implicit bias testing is an academic disaster.

      2. Eh… I dunno about that one.

        There are specific, provable claims in this story. For example, that the students chanted “Build the wall” or that they approached the guy and not the other way around.

        Volokh seems to be implying that calling someone a sexual deviant would be defamation per se. But of course, what counts as “deviant” is entirely subjective as well. It’s not a “provable fact” that someone is a deviant. But, to justify my claim that someone is deviant, I might say “This person engaged in this specific sexual act on this specific time and place” which could be proven or disproven.

        1. I suspect that’s because there is case law supporting the sexual deviant claim.

        2. Your post here wasn’t focused on this incident or particular alleged acts, you were talking generally about accusations of racism. And Volokh’s line references “just accused of being rude or racist.” Volokh doesn’t at all imply that calling someone a sexual deviant would be defamation per se. I don’t even understand how you’re reaching that conclusion.

          You’re right that you could potentially be guilty of defamation by making false allegations of acts that make someone look racist. But I don’t think accusations of chanting “build the wall” or approaching somebody are going to meet that threshold. Particularly when you incorporate the actual malice standard. People can claim they reasonably believed it was true, that they were repeating what they had heard elsewhere, that they believe they hear the chant in a segment of unclear audio, that they believe Philips’s claim about what he heard regardless of if it was captured on video, etc. Building a winnable case on these grounds is just not going to happen.

          And while I’m not talking about you specifically, I’m baffled at all the people who portray themselves as free speech champions who are suddenly inclined to support very broad applications of libel/defamation if it owns the libs.

        3. “Volokh seems to be implying that calling someone a sexual deviant would be defamation per se.”

          The major difference between “defamation” and “defamation per se” is that in a case of defamation per se, the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove specific damages.

    4. Racism is treated as basically the worst cardinal sin one can possibly commit.

      That’s rubbish. Racists are a prominent part of a major political party and racism is a substantial element of its platform and political conduct. Racist messages helped elect a president recently. Sure, racism may be disfavored among some educated, modern, accomplished people and communities, but racism also is a ticket to political success in other American communities.

      1. Well, I suppose 2008 and 2012 are recent elections, so technically you’re right that racism helped elect a President recently.

      2. “Racist messages helped elect a president recently. ”

        Citation needed prog-clown.

      3. > racism also is a ticket to political success in other American communities.

        HURLING BOGUS CHARGES OF racism also is a ticket to political success in other American BLUE STATE communities.

        FTFY

    5. “Uh… why would this not apply to accusations of racism?”

      How do you prove that plaintiff is not racist? Remember that, as plaintiff, the burden of proof is on him… he has to prove all the elements of defamation to win, and that includes the element that the specific statement in question is false.

      1. Cart before the horse.

        Assuming racism is indeed defamatory, and not merely a matter of opinion…

        Plaintiff only has to prove the defendant made the claim. The defendant then has the positive defense of proving the truth of the claim.

        1. Plaintiff only has to prove the defendant made the claim. The defendant then has the positive defense of proving the truth of the claim.

          No. Falsity is an element of the tort; the burden is generally on the plaintiff to prove falsity.

          1. Are we talking IRC tax laws here or civil claims?

            1. Are there a lot of torts in the IRC tax laws?

  2. I’m less concerned with “random douchebag” on Twittter making accusations than with the MSM’s handling of these series of events. Networks like CNN are responsible for the content AND the broadcast AND have a professional responsibility to report accurately. There were many reporters reporting already debunked news on Twitter and over their networks/publications. What is THEIR liability?

    1. “professional responsibility”

      Being on CNN is not a “profession”, any trained monkey can do it and does. You only have to look good and not pick your nose.

      1. Actually, nose-picking isn’t a disqualifier.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1xeDCGZzTE

    2. And continue to act irresponsibly despite the facts which seems to fall under what was described knowledge/negligence part.

      I wish CNN would eat some crow because there should be some kind of mechanism where they must account for the “narratives based on lies” formula they use. The only way, the best way really, is to lose viewers and sponsors.

      This stuff is serious because it can incite people into violent actions or distort reality and truth with public opinion.

      You just have to let it all play out it sounds and hope there’s a karmic energy that delivers comeuppance to those who lie. To me, the people who reported either without verification or with malice belong in Dante’s Inferno.

      Still worse for those who know the truth but double and triple down.

      1. Karma and judgement in the afterlife were invented repeatedly throughout the world for a reason.

      2. I would rather CNN self destruct and be shut down, or taken over by someone who sacks everyone currently employed there.

        1. I would prefer that bigots stop whining about being called bigots.

          1. Them stop whining Arty. Everyone here would certainly prefer you shut up.

            1. > Them stop whining Arty. Everyone here would certainly prefer you shut up.

              He’s so stupid, it’s astonishing. He actually thinks that bogus racism charges are not going to cost the Democrats the 2020 election. That certainly contributed to the 2016 result, which is why the Democrats are so intent on bringing in a huge number of illegals. It’s an existential thing – They cannot get back the white people they’ve called racists for 20 years, and Black people are slowly ditching them over open borders plus Trump’s jump-starting Black employment, so they have to replace the lost voters with people who need big government. Being progressives with no rear-view mirror or introspection, they double down on the tactic that’s slowly strangling them. It’s glorious to watch.

              The left doesn’t give two shits about Mexicans or Hondurans. If they did, they’d let them move into their neighborhoods…yeah, right.

              1. No more than they care about the blacks. And that was with a black president. The truth is they don’t care about skin color. They care about their power and their dominion over everyone else.

                1. But, so does the right.

                  What was that about how power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?

                  Some days I think I’ve crossed from Libertarian to anarchist with legitimate reasons.

          2. The entire world would prefer that you kill yourself as soon as possible.

    3. I suspect that demonstrating “actual malice” on the part of CNN, NYT, and most of the national media would not be a substantial burden. You could pretty much examine their stories at random and find that they are biased against anyone who doesn’t toe the Liberal line.

      1. That’s not what actual malice requires, though.

      2. “I suspect that demonstrating ‘actual malice’ on the part of CNN, NYT, and most of the national media would not be a substantial burden”

        You would be wrong. “Actual malice” means proving that they knew it was false, when they said it. It’s VERY hard to prove (and intentionally so).
        Fortuneately, it isn’t required to make a defamation suit stick, unless you are a “public figure”… ie, that you sought to be famous, or powerful. When you run for office, you accept the fact that some people are going to say mean things about you, because first amendment protections are intended to protect you from prosecution when you criticize the government, and allowing a private tort action for criticizing people who ARE the government would defeat the purpose of that protection.

  3. “My guess is that the plaintiffs would have a hard time showing specific damages stemming from a particular Tweet ”
    What about the tweets calling for violence?

    1. The legal system has made it quite clear that a threat of violence on the internet has to be unusually detailed and explicit before it’ll care. Mere calls for someone else to do violence have an even higher bar to meet.

      1. What if the tweeter in question is offering oral sex (as a writer for SNL did) or autographed albums (as a rapper did) to anyone who physically assaults the Covington boys and gets it on camera?

        1. Why would that matter for a defamation lawsuit?

          1. It doesn’t. The question was “what about the tweets calling for violence”, which isn’t defamation, it’s incitement to lawless action or solicitation of criminal acts, depending on how the statutes are written and applied.

        2. And Trump said he would cover the legal costs of anyone that assaulted a protester. Still not incitement.

          The bar is really high.

        3. I saw her picture. That writer is hot, with an epic rack. Her offer carries weight.

          1. I had to do a search after than comment…will concur.

    2. Or those who called / called on colleges to demand they rescind admission offers?

      1. What about those who posted random comments on an Internet article?

        If I (playing the role of random Internet person who calls a college to demand, well, anything), call up a college to make a demand about one or more of these boys’ admission status, what action would you expect the school to take?

  4. Show of hands from all the licensed attorneys on here who have won–or had a partner win–a defamation lawsuit.
    Everybody needs to chill.
    To the extent that there’s a lesson here it’s that the SJW left has no shame, and that the regular adult media, which tilts left anyway, is caught trying to stay ahead of Buzzfeed (an impossible task for a responsible journalist) and often stepping on their dicks in the process.

    1. Sue cnn et al. Individually both from the kid and the school. Do you think they’d want to go through discovery on this?

      1. SLAPP laws mean you are paying for it, not cnn et al. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars are you willing to spend tilting at windmills?

    2. Exactly. Non-lawyers who call for defamation suits at the drop of a hat have no clue regarding the mountain that must be climbed for a judgment. Here’s a primer:

      1. The chances of prevailing, except in an especially egregious case, are slim.

      2. The existence of SLAPP statutes means that there is a very real risk that the plaintiff will have to pay the defendant’s legal fees if the suit fails.

      3. All litigation is expensive, and defamation is particularly expensive, is it inevitable involves heavy motion practice.

      4. For the foregoing reasons, good luck finding a competent lawyer who will take a defamation case on a contingency fee basis.

      5. Never, ever forget the Streisand Effect.

      To use a sports analogy, libel defense is usually a – profitable – uncontested lay-up; libel prosecution is usually a – money losing – half court shot at the buzzer.

  5. I’m one of those who thinks the context of the additional mutually aggravating party doesn’t much change the moment of that picture, with that grin and refusal to move bespeaking the same entitled crappiness it did to me before.
    Nothing to ruin a kid’s life over (and going after the school generally shows how social media means we’re never more than 10 minutes from mob justice), but not a great look either.

    1. I’m one of those who thinks that your opinion is worthless because you are a blind partisan douchebag. And this is a perfect example of why.

      1. “I’m one of those who thinks that your opinion is worthless because you are a blind partisan douchebag.”

        Yours isn’t because you aren’t?

    2. “additional mutually aggravating party”

      You’re a sad excuse of a man

      1. You want me to say Black Hebrew Israelites? I thought this was more descriptive.

        1. I hate apologizing but I owe you one for being stupid and misreading

          1. Thanks – that’s a hard move to make, and well done.

        2. Or Nathan Phillips claiming Viet Nam USMC in theater experience falsely?

      2. – “You’re a sad excuse of a man”

        You’re playing pretty fast and loose with the word “man”.

        1. Grow up, Wuz.

          1. He’s right. Your argumentative skills have devolved into that of a crying child.

            1. Still puts him a few steps ahead of you.

    3. “that grin”

      “In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (incredulity when a victory was announced, for instance) was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.” 1984

      1. Chapter 5.

      2. Chapter 5.

    4. “with that grin and refusal to move bespeaking the same entitled crappiness it did to me before.”

      The drummer walked up to the kid and started beating the drum in his face. It there any evidence that moving would have helped the situation? By all appearances, the kid did the right thing, he remained calm and refused to be provoked.

      1. But 12, he smirked!

        1. I don’t think he smirked at all. I think winced. They can look similar. See below…….

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OAZ_kjw5rxE

          Many thanks to David Duchovny, the late Peter Boyle and Chris Carter.

      2. Everyone else moved. This boy did not, and then stood there with this ‘It’s the best being this untouchable’ look on his face.
        Read into that what you will; it speaks to a well known narrative for me.

        And if you’re going to scoff at facial expressions being enough to judge someone, I’ll point you to countless articles about Obama’s demeanor.

        1. Obama was President of the US, this kid was 16.

          “It’s the best being this untouchable’ look on his face…
          Read into that what you will; it speaks to a well known narrative for me.”

          Facecrime.

          1. Criticism != criminal charges, Bob. Sorry bout that strawman.

            1. Its the same principle. Subjective interpretation of a facial expression to accuse a 16 year old of being a racist.

              I can’t decide if its the MAGA hat, him being catholic or you being beat up in middle school that motivates you here. Probably all 3.

              1. Funny, I didn’t say racist, I called him an entitled jerk, and similar stuff.

                The hat doesn’t matter to me – I see them all the time. It’s the actions I’m talking about.

                1. The kid did literally nothing. You know nothing about him. You’re projecting. And the only reason we’re even talking about this is because of the rampant infestation of progtards in this country. Especially the media.

                  This is a sure sign we should group up and get rid of them all.

                2. “The hat doesn’t matter to me – I see them all the time.”

                  Good, good, we have narrowed your reaction to it being a Catholic boy or that middle school incident.

                  1. Sarcastro is defiant in the face of facts. He will stand up to facts and not retreat. The narrative he was initially told to believe reinforces his bigoted views. He is the same as Kirkland, he just tries to hide it

                    1. Love it when Jesse tells me how much more partisan I am than what I say.

                    2. It’s impossible to be more partisan than what you say.

                    3. jph, have you met the good Rev AK?

                    4. Yes, and he isn’t any more partisan than you are.

                    5. In interesting position, though unsurprising considering the weird hate-boner you have for me.

                      I keep meaning to ignore you since our interactions quickly devolve into you just calling me names.
                      But then you post with a legit point I want to address! You fiend!!

                    6. AltRightCrusaderGuy almost never does that!

                    7. “In interesting position”

                      There’s nothing interesting about it. You hide it slightly better by heaping layers of bullshit on top, but the end result is the same.

                      “But then you post with a legit point I want to address!”

                      If only you would do the same.

        2. – “Everyone else moved. This boy did not”

          Nor was there any reason for him to.

          I would have thought the pathetic need to double-down on prior stupidity by kicking it up a notch, excoriating people for not doing things they have no obligation to do while simultaneously defending proven serial liars beneath you.

          LOL! I’m kidding of course. Your history makes it clear that pretty much nothing is beneath you.

          1. Free from obligation isn’t the same as free from criticism.

            Not moving aside is a jerk move, and that smile is exactly in keeping with that.

            1. “Not moving aside is a jerk move”

              You still haven’t show any reason for us to believe that moving aside would have helped. It doesn’t appear from the video that Phillips was trying to get past him, Phillips was just getting in the kid’s face. There was plenty of room to get past him if that’s what Phillips desired.

              1. Helping the issue isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about rudeness.

                Both you and I know how personal space works, and what you do when someone approaches your bubble, especially with a noisemaker.

                Not moving aside, and instead staying in the exact same spot and grinning? That’s not normal, and it communicates a message. That message is what I’m tracking.

                1. Fuck you and your ‘tracking’. This whole discussion is progtard bullshit.

                  The real subject of discussion should be what are we going to do to get rid of the progtards.

                  Enough is enough.

                  1. The real subject of discussion should be what are we going to do to get rid of the progtards.

                    Enough is enough.

                    I don’t think you have had enough. I believe the liberal-libertarian mainstream has more progress to shove down your backward, intolerant, right-wing throat. And if you aren’t nicer your better might start positioning that improvement sideways.

                    On the other hand, if you continue to be obedient you can whine all you want.

                    1. No Arty, when conservatives decide that progtards are more trouble than you’re worth, you will all have to leave or be dealt with. Either way, plan on being wiped off the map with a pace and brutal efficiency that will astound you.

                    2. Please kill yourself, preferably by the end of the day.

                  2. The real subject of discussion should be what are we going to do to get rid of the progtards.

                    Enough is enough.

                    I don’t think you have had enough. I believe the liberal-libertarian mainstream has more progress to shove down your backward, intolerant, right-wing throat. And if you aren’t nicer your better might start positioning that improvement sideways.

                    On the other hand, if you continue to be obedient you can whine all you want.

                  3. The real subject of discussion should be what are we going to do to get rid of the progtards.

                    Enough is enough.

                    I don’t think you have had enough. I believe the liberal-libertarian mainstream has more progress to shove down your backward, intolerant, right-wing throat. And if you aren’t nicer your better might start positioning that improvement sideways.

                    On the other hand, if you continue to be obedient you can whine all you want.

                2. Most people would have knocked the stupid drum from his hands. The boy was remarkably restrained.

                  1. You got a tellingly low bar there, Bob.

                    ‘Lets praise this kid for not escalating to violence!’

                    Working quiite hard there.

                    1. ‘Lets praise this kid for not escalating to violence!’

                      He should have knocked it away. Only way to treat bullies.

                      You ought to know after those unfortunate middle school episodes.

                  2. It has been reported that the guy with a drum had a permit. That should count for something even among residents of our desolate, can’t-keep-up, bigoted backwaters.

                    1. He had a permit to stick it in people’s faces and pound it? Wow, I didn’t know they handed out “get in people’s faces with a drum” permits.

                      Are you sure it wasn’t just an ordinary parade permit?

                3. “I’m talking about rudeness”

                  Funny, I tend to think invading other people’s bubble and trying to force them to move is the rude part. And adults bothering kids is also rude.

                  1. I make the same point in my 2:56PM comment!

                4. Helping the issue isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about rudeness.

                  Sac – At this point – you should know the facts – two separate groups trying to start a fight with a well behaved high school group –
                  Yet you are still condemning the high schools mature behavior while condoning the behavior of the two groups trying to start the fight.

                  That shows us a lot about your integrity and honesty.

                  1. Joe, no one but you has pushed the story of two groups trying to start a fight with these nice kids. You are special!

                    I can’t stop you from deciding you think I’m dishonest. I know I’m not lying, and that’s about all I can do.

                    1. “Joe, no one but you has pushed the story of two groups trying to start a fight with these nice kids. You are special!”

                      You are too stupid to be real.

                5. re: ” what you do when someone approaches your bubble, especially with a noisemaker.”

                  Oddly enough, Sarcastr0, the answer is not “move away”. That just puts you inside someone else’s bubble. And it does nothing at all if you believe that the person is intent on following you. For most of us, the answer when some approaches your bubble uninvited is to “look confused and decide if you want to talk to the intruder”. The kid’s behavior was entirely normal and communicated no message at all.

                  Phillips, on the other hand, was communicating a very clear and intentionally confrontational message. Phillips was also rather a lot older and (at least theoretically) more mature and so should be presumed to have more responsibility for the interaction.

                  1. I don’t know how you manage to navigate in any populated space, Rossami.

                    And that’s quite an interesting confused look on the kid. Funny how much it looks like a ‘try and move me, I’m untouchable’ entitled douchey look, and less quizzical.

                    Phillips was being rude, but that’s what he was there to do. And his emotion seems aligned with that. The kid’s face is not aligned with the emotions in your scenario, but it is with mine.

                    If you’re going to call me out because I judge protesters by a different standard of behavior than a group of kids, that’s your prerogative. But I’d check yourself the next time you see an angry conservative protest to see how consistent you are.

                    1. Sarcastr0: “Phillips was being rude, but that’s what he was there to do.”

                      Also Sarcastr0: “From protesting, to defusing the situation, there’s a number of justifications for Phillips in this moment.”

                      But we should take you seriously.

                    2. Funny how much it looks like a ‘try and move me, I’m untouchable’ entitled douchey look, and less quizzical.

                      When the fuck did you get the ability to read minds, Kreskin?

                    3. Well, I don’t attempt to navigate in populated spaces by deliberately making and holding eye contact, marching straight at people rather than to the spaces between them or loudly banging drums in their faces.

                    4. Your interpretation of this kid smiling is ridiculous.
                      You have absolutely no idea what the boy was thinking and to interpret his smile as a hostile act is clearly stupid.
                      How about the interpretation of Philips’ actions.
                      Clearly his intention was deliberately confrontational.
                      He purposely walked right up to this kid banging a drum in his face.
                      Why would you interpret this as being the fault of the kid who stood in the same place as he was before Philips approached him.
                      At any time, Philips could have backed away and approached the memorial.
                      Why is it the responsibility of the boy to move.
                      It was clear from the video that Philips at no time attempted to get past the boy. indeed, he honed in on the boy and attempted to provoke a negative reaction by ‘getting in his face’. There is absolutely no other interpretation you can gain from the action of Philips.

                    5. You have absolutely no idea what the boy was thinking and to interpret his smile as a hostile act is clearly stupid.
                      How about the interpretation of Philips’ actions.

                      This is amusingly self-refuting. You condemn your second sentence with your first.

                      I see the knives are out for Phillips. Reminds me of Ford with Kav.
                      Doesn’t change the situation, but does give you something to hate to keep you occupied!

                    6. “This is amusingly self-refuting. You condemn your second sentence with your first.”

                      No, actions are much easier to judge than facial expressions.

                      “I see the knives are out for Phillips.”

                      Do you really not understand that he has lied repeatedly about this very event? That this entire thing wouldn’t have blown up into the shit storm that it did without his lies and the complicit media?

                    7. It was already a storm before he talked, jph.

                      Even taking the right-wing narrative at face value, his lying has zero to do with the situation everyone is talking about. But when you’re an attack dog, attacking something even near the issue seems like productivity, or at least revenge.

                    8. “Even taking the right-wing narrative at face value”

                      It’s telling that you call the truth a right-wing narrative.

                      “his lying has zero to do with the situation everyone is talking about.”

                      Bullshit. Things published in the Washington Post get shared much more widely than things on Twitter.

                    9. Things published in the Washington Post get shared much more widely than things on Twitter.

                      Wow, how old are you? This is not at all true.

                    10. Yes it is. Twitter is an insular world with demographics that don’t match the country.

                    11. So is the WaPo. So is FOX.

                6. Not moving aside is a jerk move

                  Why should he move? He was standing there first.

              2. Had the roles been reversed and the Maga kid had walked up to him, beating a drum in the native american’s face, in addition to the left now blaming the drummer, they’d be talking how brave the other guy was for not moving and standing his ground.

                1. The left is inconsistent enough without you having to up hypothetical double standards.

            2. “Not moving aside is a jerk move, and that smile is exactly in keeping with that.”

              Exactly wrong. He was where he was entitled to be, waiting for his bus. Private Freon Ranger was the one in the wrong, perpetrating the vicious assault.

              1. Entitled to be. Nice.

                the vicious assault. Awesome!

              2. Just a small point?it’s Private Freon Recon Ranger … based on his own words.

              3. Just a small point?it’s Private Freon Recon Ranger … based on his own words.

            3. I think you guys are all talking past each other. Basically you are coming from two different perspectives.

              An Alpha male will when confronted by another male, tend to “fight” back. That will, in the mildest case, mean not backing down.

              A Beta male will when confronted by another male, tend to “retreat”. That would be stepping aside.

              Ergo, the Alpha males look at one Alpha male confronting another and see an obvious aggressor moving into the personal bubble in a rude fashion. The other Alpha stands his ground and resists striking back. Clearly the Good guy is the one not being aggressive.

              A Beta male sees a Beta male (16 year old boy) encountering the Alpha male (tribal Elder) and thinks the Beta male is being intolerably rude for not backing down when confronted.

              1. You and your gorilla mindset enjoy how big your alphaness is, but there are not two social norms for different males in society.

                1. True, there is no social norm under which Phillips was in the right. He was just rude, period.

                  1. Haha – of course, Brett. Of course.

                    1. Under what social norm was Phillips in the right?

                    2. While you think Phillips and the Post is the prime mover here, I do not.
                      Not going to be pulled into a different issue, jph. Nice try, though.

                    3. Phillips’s conduct is not a different issue. At all.

                    4. For that to work, you need to prove the lemma that The Washington Post story caused all of this which I don’t see happening.

                    5. No I don’t. I don’t need to do that at all. The only reason any of this started is because Phillips is a fucking asshole who got in a kid’s face and banged a drum.

                    6. Ipse dixit isn’t an argument.

                    7. That’s all you’ve offered you fucking moron.

        3. “Everyone else moved. This boy did not”

          If everyone else moved, it should have been trivially easy for agitator Nathan Phillips to step around the boy instead of drumming in his face. And why is it everyone else’s responsibility to move out of the way of Nathan Phillips?

          Of course, this completely ignores that Nathan Phillips changed his story and now claims he wasn’t trying to get past the boy but was trying to diffuse the situation. By drumming and chanting in the boy’s face. As one does.

          “Read into that what you will; it speaks to a well known narrative for me.”

          Of course it does. Because you are a partisan douchebag.

          1. Trying to defuse the situation and trying to move past the boy aren’t mutually exclusive.

            1. Phillips is a professional agitator. He lied about being a Vietnam vet but you believe the BS story of wanting to “diffuse” the situation because he walked up to the kid and started beating a drum in his face.

              1. Ahh, pivoting from ‘the video debunks everything’ to ‘allow me to write in my own context.’
                I’ll leave you to your well-curated reality.

                1. The only people pivoting are you and Nathan Phillips. His story has continually changed as more video evidence emerged that directly contradicted his claims. He doesn’t pretend he was trying to get past them anymore. You are such an intellectually dishonest hack.

                  1. I’m surprised Phillips doesn’t end his sentences with ‘yeah, that’s the ticket’ when he shovels his bullshit at the media.

                    1. It is long past time this blog starts enforcing its own rules and removing comments and commenters who can only make personal attacks and insults to others with whom they disagree. This thread is pathetic.

                    2. Get rid of Sarc and Arty. Things get a lot better without their obtuse bullshit.

                    3. Sarcastro is occasionally capable of comments that advance the conversation, though not so much if an issue has strong political valance. Even Arty has said something sensible from time to time.

                      I wouldn’t mind being rid of the legion of Hihns, but only the most intrusive system of registering and confirming identity of commenters would do anything about him.

                      The basic problem I see is that Reason is rapidly moving left. Treasure the basically unmoderated comments, because when Reason gets around to imposing comment moderation, it isn’t going to be Sarcastro and Arty who get the boot.

                      It will be us.

              2. “He lied about being a Vietnam vet.”

                How dare you! He identifies as a Vietnam vet. That’s his truth, man. How dare the white oppressor question the lived experiences of PoC?

            2. – “Trying to defuse the situation”

              I used to think you were a reasonably intelligent individual who was simply being a disingenuous provocateur. But now I’m thinking only the latter part applies. First off, there was no “situation” to “defuse”. Even though the Hebrew Israelites were running their idiot mouths relentlessly, the school kids just walked back to their own group. There was no back-and-forth between them. And I’m betting that never in history has walking into a group and beating a drum and yelling into the face of one of that group’s members ever defused anything. And given Chief Spitting Bull’s propensity for lying on the record…including about the situation in question…there’s absolutely no reason to ascribe any benevolent motives to his actions.

              So either you haven’t actually watched any of the full videos and are stupidly arguing based on the thoroughly debunked initial narrative, or you’re even more dishonest than you used to be. Or perhaps both.

              1. Sorry to have lost your trust, Wuz. Though considering you’ve made the exact same journey to me being in bad faith before, I’m not too heartbroken.

                As to not starting anything with the Hebrew Israelites, that’s great proof the kid isn’t starting anything. Which is not something I’m arguing.

          2. Nathan Phillips’ story change so many you’d think his MOS in the “Vietnam Times” military was Goal Post Shifter, First Class.

            Well actually, Second Class because he was busted down so many times for going AWOL.

        4. “Everyone else moved. This boy did not, and then stood there with this ‘It’s the best being this untouchable’ look on his face.”

          I think you may be the victim of fake news, Sarcastro. Can you point to some video where you describe everyone else moving? Starting at around 17:30 in this video, you can see Phillips get in the kid’s face. The kid has a nervous smile, but there’s no evidence that Phillips wants the kid to move. Phillips can easily get around the kid if he wants. The claim that the kid blocked Phillip’s path is just BS.

          1. I’ve seen a 10 minute-ish video. Couldn’t get on the tweeter yesterday without a link to it. Can’t do videos at work to see if yours has new material.
            Looks to me like Phillips is trying to move, people are moving around him, and this kid is not. Phillips moves up to him, and the kid continues not to move.

            Do you see it differently from that?

            1. I see Phillips walking into a group of kids while banging his drum, and getting into one of the kid’s faces. There’s no indication that he’s trying to get around the kid, and he has plenty of room to get around the kid if that’s what he wants.

              1. He chose a path through a group of kids, for reasons that I’ll leave to Bob to be skeptical about.
                As happens in these situations, the group parted from the loud nonmember. You can judge the Phillips for that, though that particular kind of jerkiness is protesting working as intended.

                But this kid didn’t part and instead did…that. Which as I said above, for me continues to paint him in an unflattering light even in context.

                1. Sarc, by your comments, I see you as a traitor. So your loyalty should be investigated. Let’s pick apart everything you’ve ever said. Which will yield much more than your moronic analysis of this kid.

                  1. Come on, the pros know to start with sedition and move into treason. You blew your wad too early!

                    1. Why would I expend that much time on you? The value proposition is lacking.

                2. Sarcastro, the left refers to what you’re engaged in now as “victim-blaming”

                  1. Victim blaming would be if I’m trying to defend those victimizing the kid.
                    Have no fear, TiP, I think the social media reaction was some dumb mob mentality BS and I’m not trying to defend them at all.

                    1. I think you are blaming the victim: “He was asking for it because he was standing there.”

                    2. Asking for…what, RobinGoodfellow?

                      Any trauma or problems this kid has isn’t going to be from Phillips, it’s going to be from Internet lefties.

                    3. “Victim blaming would be if I’m trying to defend those victimizing the kid.”

                      Victim blaming would be if you’re trying to blame the victim. I mean, it’s right there in the name.

                    4. “Victim blaming would be if I’m trying to defend those victimizing the kid.”

                      You are. You have bent over backwards trying to manufacture some sort of justification for Nathan Phillips.

            2. CNN and others have obtain full videos over an hour long continuous.

              One of the short videos was from “2020fight” who claimed to be a California teacher named Talia.

              CNN traced the account to Brazil.

              Fake account, fake news, appealing to apriori assumptions.

              Leni Riefenstahl showed what could be done with audio and video by a good editor.

              1. Well, Naaman Brown just disproved facts. Pack it in, people!

                1. The only one trying to disprove facts is you.

              2. Just in case anyone is confused.

                The short video promoted by the Brazilian account claiming to be a California teacher is the selective one used to raise outrage in US social media.

                The full videos show a more detailed context, which can be viewed as the boys bewildered and amused enduring bizarre behaviour by the Black Hebrew Israelites and American Indian activists while waiting on their bus.

                1. “The full videos show a more detailed context, which can be viewed as the boys bewildered and amused”

                  Everybody has a preferred interpretation, not suprisingly it’s the one where the guys on “their side” are all noble and pure, and the guys on “the other side” are all awful and horrible. Alas, in real life, it’s almost never like that. So people “spin” the facts until they fit their preferred narrative.

                  Consider the possibilities that there are no “good guys” in this story, just different people looking for confrontation(s).

        5. “This boy did not, and then stood there”

          Not a crime. Not morally or otherwise.

          Other than that, soooo the onus was on a teenager to act like an adult (despite science clearly showing our brains don’t fully mature into our 20s) in front of a 65 year-old man banging a drum in his face? What was the whole point of him doing so anyway?

          Nestled in this is the ‘racism of low expectations’ as we’re putting all the onus on a child to act in accordance to all the high standards we (arbitrarily) demand (you should have moved! You should have removed your cap! Why did you smirk? Why were the boys mocking him? Then the stupid special pleading of ‘regardless of the truth where were their parents? etc. A bit of a Duck/Rabbit scenario I think) but asking nothing of the others with free agency to the same. I have no heard much criticism of Philips’ behaviour. Never mind those Black Israelites buffoons.

          These are kids. Did we mention this? Since when can ‘kids read a room?’ And we talk as if they should have responded according to whatever.

          You really think they understood what was happening in the latest episode of the culture wars?

          The kicker is, then, not only did the kid do nothing wrong a strong case can be made he acted appropriately and with much restraint. One should be impressed, not angry. The school should be proud their students didn’t lash out o commit acts of violence like Antifa thugs. Yet, sadly, it doesn’t appear to be the case.

          1. And just for the record. Anyone who a) pounced on these kids without facts or evidence and b) called to ruin their lives is a morally repugnant shit head. Such remedial minds have no concern for a life that does not fit into their myopic narratives and hold an utter disregard for the truth.

            Furthermore, if you’re still posting doubling down despite all that we know, it says more about YOU. Not the kids.

            1. You’ll find I in fact I said the exact opposite about how the kid should be treated in my OP.

              1. The 2nd part was directed to you in particular. Just an observation. Cheers.

                1. Geez, WASN’T directed. Sorry.

                2. Yeah…my entire thesis is that what we know doesn’t change my position. And all I have is people trying to make my position more extreme or speculate their way into why what we know is actually more than what we know. It’s not doubling down if people aren’t challenging your actual comment, but rather some narrative they’d prefer to fight against.

                  And that’s not counting the ragey commenters, which I hope you will agree are a treat.

                  Cheers!

                  1. And all I have is people trying to make my position more extreme or speculate their way into why what we know is actually more than what we know.

                    Your whole thesis is argument from assertion (“He should have moved out of the way”) and prejudice (“He’s a privileged jerk”).

                    1. It’s argument from being an opinion. Opinions are hardly unassailable, but so far only TiP and Krayt have managed to address any part of the opinion; the others in the substantive crowd seem to be strawmanning, speculating things, or coming out against opinions existing at all.

                    2. It’s argument from being an opinion

                      Wrong.

                      Opinions are hardly unassailable, but so far only TiP and Krayt have managed to address any part of the opinion

                      Your opinion wasn’t based on anything other than wishful thinking, so there wasn’t anything of substance to address.

                    3. What about your opinion about my opinion, rrwp?

                    4. What about it? Doesn’t make your opinion any less useless.

                    5. By that logic, it’s opinions all the way down.

          2. People keep trying to pivot to criminality. Or…moral crimes?

            Kid should have moved. Kid is also just a kid, as I noted in my OP. Kids are not free from criticism when they’re discourteous; never have been.

            The kicker is, then, not only did the kid do nothing wrong a strong case can be made he acted appropriately and with much restraint. One should be impressed, not angry.
            This last minute unsupported pivot from excusing to virtue is pretty breathtaking.

            1. It’s not your fucking business to decide what a private citizen standing in a public place minding his own business would do when some subversive trash attempts to intimidate him.

              That’s what progtards do? Are you a progtard?

              1. “Are you a progtard?”

                You new around here?

              2. You’ve made it your business to judge what a private citizen posting in a public place would say.

                Judgment of our fellow man is absolutely a right.

                And I am quite amused by how little actual substantive response I got, versus some very lame name-calling and even lamer threats.
                The last time I saw you guys in such a lather you couldn’t argument through your name-calling was Kavanaugh.

                1. “The last time I saw you guys in such a lather you couldn’t argument through your name-calling was Kavanaugh.”

                  Are you kidding?

                  Left, including Sarcastr0: “He’s obviously lying about the Devil’s triangle and the meaning of “boof”. I mean, obviously!

                  [Classmates respond that the Devil’s triangle was a drinking game, and explain the rules.]

                  OK, but he’s obviously lying about “boof”! Obviously!

                  [Links to older Urban Dictionary entries indicating that boof might mean flatulence.]

                  OK, but he’s obviously lying about other stuff. Obviously!

                  1. And for your next trick, you’re asserting that you know what the kid was thinking because “faces communicate emotion” in a context where everybody sees the kid’s face and nobody agrees what the kid was emoting. That’s some powerful arguing.

                    1. So by TiP’s logic here, I guess he can never be properly sure about whether Kavanaugh sexually assaulted anyone. After all, everyone disagrees!

                  2. Eager to relitigate, are we, TiP?

                    1. “Eager to relitigate, are we, TiP?”

                      You brought it up, dude, not me.

                2. “little actual substantive response I got”

                  The response was appropriate to the substance of your comment. Which was non existent.

                  “his grin gave me chills” demands no substantive response.

                  You seem to have an irrational fear of 16 year olds. Was it a swirly or a wedgie that someone gave you in middle school?

                  1. I can think someone is a douche without being afraid of them. You keep trying with they ‘you are a wuss.’ Workin’ so hard!

                    Anyhow, I posted how I saw things, and how the new context didn’t change that. You can say that’s substanceless, but it sure seems evocative!

                3. You do t have a substantial argument to refute sarcastro. You have a purely idiotic view it is the kids duty to retreat in a public space. That’s an idiotic viewpoint.

                4. There is no substance to this whole thing. The news story is the result of progtard media douchebags behaving badly. This isn’t a story, other than the telegraphing of progressive bigotry and hatred towards some most likely decent kids because they wear hats supporting our president. Period.

                  There is no substance to you either. You are an idiot, and a silly bitch.

                  1. silly bitch

                    Man, insults to my masculinity seem the order of the hour in this thread!

            2. Why the hell should somebody who’s standing somewhere they have a right to be move, just because somebody else gets in their face? Are aggressors really privileged that way, entitled to everyone around them backing down, instead of standing their ground?

              No, they are not. He had every right to just stand there, minding his own business.

              1. This language about rights is a tellingly anemic formulation of proper behavior. You have the right to be a jerk; I have the right to call you a jerk.

                People shouldn’t move through other people’s space, absent some justifying circumstance. People should get out of the way of other people, absent some justifying circumstance.

                From protesting, to defusing the situation, there’s a number of justifications for Phillips in this moment.
                The only justifications I’m seeing for the kid are ‘he has a right’ and ‘he’s a kid.’ Kinda damming with faint justifications there, seems to me.

                1. “here’s a number of justifications for Phillips in this moment.”

                  He was not “justified” in any way. He invaded the group of kids, he started beating his stupid drum, he could have walked away or, even, better, not started his bullying.

                  1. Invaded…stupid drum…bullying.

                    Didn’t address my justifications, just pounded the table and dropped some spicy language.

                    1. You didn’t provide any justifications. And you’ve never addressed the numerous lies that Phillips has already been caught in. I’m not surprised someone like you is so adamant to defend Phillips. You have similar regards for the truth.

                2. “The only justifications I’m seeing for the kid…”

                  Dude, the kid was literally just standing there. You’ve asserted, without evidence, that he was standing there jerkily, but really he was just standing there. But you’re going out of your way to invent justification for Phillips getting in his face and banging his drum.

                  1. Look at the video. Between his expression, and his separation from his fellows (who had moved), that’s a pretty funny way to just stand there.

                    1. “that’s a pretty funny way to just stand there.”

                      So the kid was standing there in a funny way while the old guy beats a drum in his face. That’s almost as bad as Kavanaugh getting emotional while facing rape accusations.

                    2. You know how the construction ‘pretty funny way to…’, puckish TiP.

                      Man, Kav sure did set you off again!

                    3. Between his expression, and his separation from his fellows (who had moved), that’s a pretty funny way to just stand there.

                      So because a bunch of other people moved, he should have as well?

                      Talk about a telling indicator of the left’s hive mentality.

                      The only justifications I’m seeing for the kid are ‘he has a right’ and ‘he’s a kid.’

                      There’s no justification needed to simply stand in a public area minding your own business, no matter how much leftists might hate you.

                    4. No – he should have moved because it’s rude not to. The other people support that position.

                      Also he should have gotten more pollen to make honey.

                    5. No they don’t. When people give the homeless guy on the street a wide berth, it’s not because it’s rude not to. It’s because they don’t want to be near him.

                    6. No – he should have moved because it’s rude not to.

                      No, he should have stayed exactly where he was because he was there first.

                    7. It was rude of Rosa Parks not to move either, right? Refusing to move was justification for all the threats and profanity directed at her.

                      Dems never change.

                    8. Good one! Because of course, Rosa Parks was being rude.

                      She was protesting something, and protesting requires being rude or no one will notice or care. See my 1.24.29 @ 2:56PM comment.

                    9. No she wasn’t. Neither were the protestors at the Woolworth’s counters. That’s one of the reasons they were so effective.

                      Now the people pouring drinks on the head of the protestors at the Woolworth’s counters, they were being rude. But they were counter-protestors, so I guess that makes it okay in your eye, because if you aren’t rude when you protest nobody will pay attention.

                    10. Ask everyone else on her bus whether she was being rude, jph. She was breaking social norms. That’s rudeness. Do you think there is some objective standard?

                      You have an interesting view of who gets to be a counter-protestor. But even so, evaluating what people are protesting for is a different dimension of judgement from the methods they use.

                    11. “Ask everyone else on her bus whether she was being rude, jph.”

                      Because I care about the opinions of the blacks sitting in the back of the bus, and the whites in the front of the bus who weren’t in favor of segregation, I’m pretty sure not everyone on the bus thought she was being rude.

                      “She was breaking social norms. That’s rudeness.”

                      No it isn’t.

                      “Do you think there is some objective standard?”

                      No, but it’s not just about breaking social norms.

                      “You have an interesting view of who gets to be a counter-protestor.”

                      How is people protesting the protestors an interesting view of who gets to be a counter-protestor? It’s pretty much right in the name.

                      “But even so, evaluating what people are protesting for is a different dimension of judgement from the methods they use.”

                      No shit, sherlock. Your point was about the method, not the merits.

                    12. I think you’re conflating courtesy with virtue, jph. Not at all the same thing.

                      If rudeness isn’t about breaking norms, but the present-day understood virtue of the Jim Crow South matters, what is it about?

                      We are all spontaneous counter protesters now, I guess. Your ad-hoc definition makes it meaningless.

                      YOU re the one discussing the merits of everyone from Phillips to Rosa Parks, not me. I’m making a point about a moment. You’re shoehorning character into it because…I guess that’s a fight you’d rather have? I’m not taking that bait.

                    13. “I think you’re conflating courtesy with virtue, jph. Not at all the same thing.”

                      I’m not.

                      “If rudeness isn’t about breaking norms, but the present-day understood virtue of the Jim Crow South matters, what is it about?”

                      This is an incoherent sentence.

                      “We are all spontaneous counter protesters now, I guess. Your ad-hoc definition makes it meaningless.”

                      No, we are not. My definition is neither ad-hoc nor makes everyone a counter-protestor.

                      “YOU re the one discussing the merits of everyone from Phillips to Rosa Parks, not me.”

                      Bullshit. Your inability to respond honestly is what makes you such a worthless poster.

                      “I’m making a point about a moment.”

                      Which is stupid, because a moment doesn’t happen in isolation.

                      “You’re shoehorning character into it because…I guess that’s a fight you’d rather have? I’m not taking that bait.”

                      More bullshit. You said protestors had to be rude to be noticed. I disagreed and pointed to several famous examples of polite protestors who were very much noticed, and more effective for their politeness.

                    14. “Now the people pouring drinks on the head of the protesters at the Woolworth’s counters, they were being rude.”

                      Come on now. I’m with Sarcastro on this one. Everybody knows that if somebody wants to pours a drink where you’re sitting, the polite thing to do is to move. Those Woolworth protesters were sitting there like entitled jerks, knowing that they were untouchable. Their dads probably owned dealerships or something.

                    15. I mean, all the other black people had moved away from those seats.

                    16. Quite a choice of analogy. The drummer is just like Jim Crow racists, and the kid is just like the sit-in protesters?

                      Run with that; see how far it takes you.

                    17. God you are dumb. Nobody is making the analogy you pretend they are making.

                    18. She wasn’t protesting. she was physically tired from working all day and emotionally fed up with being expected to just move whenever a white person said she had to.

                      To use the phrase current with people like you, she was being uppity.

                      Dems don’t really change. They just use different words as justification.

                    19. – “and his separation from his fellows (who had moved)”

                      You mean, that bunch of students forming a pretty solid wall of bodies right behind the kid in question moved aside and aren’t really there?

                      https://tinyurl.com/y87qo9ad

                    20. Solid wall of bodies now? Come on, Wuz.

                    21. Sarcastr0 glasses.

                    22. Or knowing how crowds work, jph. That crowd is not tight enough to be a wall of flesh – this isn’t a stampede or anything. The excuses here are getting amazing.

                    23. Dear god. You are unbelievable.

                3. This is a standard lefty tactic: Define not caving in the face of left-wing demands as a breach of manners.

                  No. Walking up to somebody, and beating a drum in their face is a breach of manners. Picking a route through the position of somebody standing still, and demanding that they move, is a breach of manners.

                  If the positions had been flipped, if the kid had walked up to a group of Indians, and shoved a boom box in the face of the one that didn’t retreat, you wouldn’t be arguing like this.

                  This isn’t about manners. This is about rationalizing how your side is always right, and it’s wrong to stand up to it.

                  1. You know I don’t think my side is always right, Brett. Check out the Antifa thread for some great examples of that.

                    1. Or speech on campus threads.

        6. “Phillips clarified that it was he who had approached the crowd of students, in what he said was an attempt to defuse what Phillips perceived to be a brewing conflict between the students and a third group of five men who identified as Black Hebrew Israelites who had been taunting the white students with racist and homophobic slurs.”
          ref: Daniel Politi, “Native American Elder Says He Approached MAGA-Clad Teens to Defuse Argument With Black Protesters”. Slate Magazine, 20 Jan 2019.

          And why should the Covington boy move? They were there to be picked up by a bus. They shudda moved to where their bus wouldn’t be because an Indian beating drum decided to intervene?

          1. …How far do you think he needed to move?

            1. He says, completely ignoring that the fact that Phillips now claims he approached the boys because he wanted to diffuse the situation instead of trying to get past them completely removes any requirement for the boys to move out of his way. They weren’t in his fucking way.

              1. completely removes any requirement for the boys to move out of his way. They weren’t in his fucking way.

                Watch the video. This is manifestly untrue; witness how everyone else acted (i.e. moving a few feet out of Phillips’ path).

                1. “Watch the video. This is manifestly untrue; witness how everyone else acted (i.e. moving a few feet out of Phillips’ path).”

                  That’s not how I see the video.

                  1. You aren’t watching it through your special Sarcastr0 glasses.

                  2. How do you explain the behavior of everyone else? Are they all the weirdos, to move away from the protesting guy?

                    1. “How do you explain the behavior of everyone else?”

                      They didn’t have an old guy beating a drum in their face.

                    2. He now admits that he wasn’t trying to get past them. Why do you keep insisting otherwise?

                      And I don’t give a fuck how anyone else reacted because there isn’t one right way to react when a douchebag walks up to you and starts drumming and chanting in your face. I don’t think it’s weird to get away from him. I don’t think it’s weird to stay where you are. What’s weird is to walk up to people and start banging a drum in their face.

                      How are you this stupid?

                    3. He’s moving from here to there, so I don’t know what you’re trying to push. Teleportation?

                      There are lots of ways one can act when confronted with a protestor. Not moving and grinning like you dare him to try and touch you is not one of them.

                      Protesting is weird, that’s how it works.

                    4. “He’s moving from here to there, so I don’t know what you’re trying to push. Teleportation?”

                      Where “there” is in front of them, not past them. Which means they were not blocking his way.

                      “There are lots of ways one can act when confronted with a protestor. Not moving and grinning like you dare him to try and touch you is not one of them.”

                      Why the fuck not?

                    5. Kid’s position was well within this guy’s personal space. If the kid didn’t move (doesn’t look like he did) that’s blocking someone’s way.

                    6. No, Phillips’s position was well within the kids personal space. And Phillips stopped moving because he got to where he wanted to go, so the kid wasn’t blocking him at all.

                    7. Why the fuck not?

                      It’s rude, dude.

                    8. No it isn’t. What’s rude is to get in someone’s face banging a drum and chanting at them.

                    9. – “Kid’s position was well within this guy’s personal space. If the kid didn’t move (doesn’t look like he did) that’s blocking someone’s way.”

                      Jesus tap-dancing Christ. Are you really a 12 year-old stealing time on mommy’s PC? You can’t actually be this stupid. You just…can’t be.

                    10. “No it isn’t. What’s rude is to get in someone’s face banging a drum and chanting at them.”

                      Well, maybe there’s more to Sarcastro’s point than meets the eye. It all depends on the individuals relative position in the privilege hierarchy. If the kid is a cishet white male, it’s on him to get out of the PoC’s personal space as an acknowledgement of his privilege. We don’t know if the kid is trans, that would make it more complicated. If he’s gay, it’s more complicated still, as there is still much discussion among intersectionality activists about whether or not white gay males continue to be marginalized. Of course, if he’s Jewish, that doesn’t count because while antisemitism exists in the US, it is not a systemic form of marginalization.

                    11. privilege hierarchy

                      You’re above that kind of strawman. You know I don’t think of whatever silliness you’ve come up with there.

                    12. I’ve yet to see any other plausible explanation for your position, as fluid as it is.

                    13. Fluid? People seem frustrated that I’m doubling down.

                      To restate from what I can tell has not changed since the OP: My position is that this kid was caught in the midst of being a jerk, and that the additional context did not mitigate that. Also being a jerk isn’t a criminal offense.

                      Other people’s opinions include that I am lying about my opinion, that you can’t actually tell when someone is being a jerk from a photo, that I should be banned from reason, that I should be killed, that I am secretly using some woke privilege hierarchy, that I want the kid banned, that the kid is Rosa Parks and I’m the man keeping her down, that Phillips is the darkest of villains and the real meaning of the pic is him victimizing this kid. That the kid was being put in danger of missing his bus. That by not erupting in violence, the kid is a saint.

                      Still feeling comfortable with my opinion.

                    14. “Fluid? People seem frustrated that I’m doubling down.”

                      Yes, fluid. You’ve claimed that Phillips was trying to get past the boys, even though he has admitted otherwise. You’ve claimed that he was trying to diffuse the situation. You’ve claimed that he was being a jerk, but you have to be a jerk to be a protestor.

                      “Still feeling comfortable with my opinion.”

                      That’s because you are an idiot. Or dishonest. Still leaving it open.

                    15. I’ve claimed I don’t know, and that none of that matters. Your Phillips hate-boner does not define the debate.

                    16. It’s sad that the hatred of you and your ilk for these kids has defined the debate.

                      And it absolutely matters whether Phillips was trying to get past the kids. Otherwise your whole stupid argument about the kid needing to move falls completely apart. Phillips chose how close to get to the kid. If Phillips is okay with it, and the kid is okay with it, why does anyone need to move?

                    17. Saying the kid was being an a-hole or a jerk is hardly hate, jph.

                      Kid as in Phillip’s space grinning whether Phillips has more to move or not.

                    18. It is when the kid’s done nothing to justify it. You bizarre attempt to continue spinning the situation as the kid being in Phillips’s space, despite all evidence to the contrary, is ample evidence.

                    19. The picture is evidence of that, jph. Spacial geometry in a static medium. Your vehemence does not change spacetime.

                    20. Not good evidence. Your hatred doesn’t change reality.

                      Who are you to determine how much personal space Phillips needs? If Phillips didn’t want to be that close to the kid, why did he move that close to the kid? And if Phillips wanted to be that close to the kid, why should the kid move away?

                    21. And the fact that you keep referencing the photograph, despite knowing (or at least having no excuse not to know) that it was spread by people pushing a false narrative about the nature of the interaction tells me all I need to know about your intellectual honesty.

                    22. Where does whatever false narrative you were tracking come into the statement I made in my OP, and the statement I’ve made throughout these comments here?

                    23. So your going with not knowing that the photograph was spread in service of a false narrative. Willful ignorance is no way to go through life.

                    24. Again, you assume I hate this kid.

                    25. No, your posts here are evidence of your hatred. Far more evidence that the photograph you claim in support of your position.

                    26. Shows how good at reading people you are.

                    27. Alright, I’m out and about this weekend. But this did wile away some hours!

                    28. Much better than you.

                    29. “You’re above that kind of strawman. You know I don’t think of whatever silliness you’ve come up with there.”

                      It’s not about you, man. I’m trying to get published in a Women’s Studies journal. Do you think I can? I mean, if Hitler can, I’m sure I can. Well, on second thought, maybe not. Their mindsets are very similar.

                2. That has more to do with the rest of the kids moving away from a nutty old man banging his drum. Well, they thought he was nutty, in reality he was a nasty lying bully attempting to drum up media attention. Unfortunately for him one of the BIs was filming long before he walked over, said video leaving more than enough evidence for Phillips’ entire fucking house of cards to come crashing down around his ears.

            2. By your standards, all the way to the back of the bus.

              1. Explain that logic to me, please? Because it seems like you’re putting words in my mouth.

                If the kid was doing that to protest for something, I’d actually be more sanguine.

        7. In this thread sarcastro believes it’s a duty for a white teenager to retreat based on an aggressive action of an adult from a grievance group. You say stupid shit sarcastro.

          1. Amusing how it’s you guys that keep bringing race, religion, and the hat into it.

            Your envy of the race card is palpable.

            1. Well, sure, I guess it would be nice to blame my problems on white people like my Hispanic family members love to do.

              1. like my Hispanic family members love to do.

                Lots to unpack there.

                1. Lots to unpack there.

                  Not really.

            2. “Amusing how it’s you guys that keep bringing race, religion, and the hat into it.”

              It’s this kind of sanctimonious dishonesty (or stupidity, still on the fence) that makes you such a worthless poster and puts you down at the level of Rev Arthur L. Kirkland and AnotherRigthWingPatriot. This entire post is about whether or not they have a defamation case against all of the morons calling them racists. You were one of the first people to chime in, saying you didn’t think any of the new information changed anything. Now you whine about how you didn’t mean you thought they were racist.

              1. You must be confused. Defamation was clearly not what my post was talking about; that’s not what anyone in the thread responding to my post was talking about. Come off it.

                1. Then it was a pretty fucking stupid comment to make in response to a post about whether kids being accused of being racists can sue for defamation.

                  1. OK, Mr. Topic Police.

                    1. Oh that’s rich.

        8. Nobody, including Philips himself ever asked the boy to move aside. The video clearly proves this. The boy at no time ever obstructed Philips’ movement. Philips repeatedly lied on CNN when he said that he tried to get past this kid and that the kid moved to block him. At no time in the video did the boy shift positions to purposely block Philips.
          On the contrary, Philips purposely approached the boy and got within inches of his face whilst banging his drum. Philips was the protagonist here. In fact, the boy showed remarkable restraint.
          Could you honestly state that if anyone got in your personal space the way Philips did to this boy that you would act with such restraint.
          This boy is guilty of nothing more than standing his ground under obvious provocation.

          1. Your legalistic reading of not being a jerk requiring an invitation is a stretch, as is your ‘I’m not touching you!’ dependence on the kid moving.

            standing his ground under obvious provocation
            Ahh, that’s the stuff.

            1. That’s not a legalistic reading, you fucking moron.

              Why have you never addressed the multiple lies Phillips told about this situation? That’s the only reason the whole thing started.

              1. Not legal, legalistic.

                1. That’s what I said, you fucking moron.

        9. Who is to judge?

          At a minimum, I would only accept first person opinions of such. What is published in after the fact photographs leaves too much room for debate.

        10. Let it be known: if an old Amerindian guy walks up to you banging a drum, you are required to flee, or be nationally shamed and branded racist scum

    5. ” that grin”
      what about the expression of pure hatred from Nathan Philips.

      there have been talks of not allowing these kids into universities, that would put a huge dent in their future potential income from a lack of a degree. if they are denied within the next two years would they have a case?

      1. Read my second paragraph in my OP for what I think about that.

        Also read EV’s OP for whether the’d have a case.

      2. expression of pure hatred from Nathan Philips

        Haha, it’s all subjective but that’s pretty impressive.

        1. You are truly unbelievable. A blight on humanity.

          1. Luv you too!

          2. He’s a progtard. They should be removed from America, like excising a cancerous tumor.

            1. Reducation camps for progtards are necessary….and probably, our only hope.

        2. exactly its subjective on both parts however there is a difference between a kids smile and the cold 1000 yard stare of a former Marine Vietnam veteran.

          1. “former Marine Vietnam veteran”

            former Marine Nebraska veteran you mean

            Apparently there were a lot of hippie chicks in Nebraska spitting on people.

          2. There’s subjective and there’s postmodernist levels of herminutics. The grin might not be as I saw it, though I’m more seeing people work on minimizing facial expressions as wroth of criricism than try to deny it’s a shit-eating-grin.

            Reading pure hate into Phillips’ face seems not reasonable difference, but laughable to me (1000 yard stare of a former Marine Vietnam veteran is some good purple prose!), but you’re welcome to try it out!

            1. Who gives a fuck if it’s a shit eating grin. Why isn’t a shit eating grin one of the many appropriate responses for a teenager when a grown man gets in your face while banging a drum and chanting?

              1. Because faces communicate emotion.

                1. That is a completely non-responsive answer. Why isn’t a shit eating grin one of the many appropriate responses for a teenager when a grown man gets in your face while banging a drum and chanting?

                  1. When do you make that expression, jph?

                    1. Another completely non-responsive answer. Why isn’t a shit eating grin one of the many appropriate responses for a teenager when a grown man gets in your face while banging a drum and chanting?

                    2. What are you feeling when you have such a grin on your face?

                    3. Another completely non-responsive answer. Why isn’t a shit eating grin one of the many appropriate responses for a teenager when a grown man gets in your face while banging a drum and chanting?

                    4. You’ve reserved the grin out from the personal space blocking bit. The face expresses emotion regarding the action the kid is taking. You know, like people do.

                      The mania to change my thesis into one easier for you to address is either telling about your side’s argumentation skill or the strength of my interpretation of events.

                    5. “You’ve reserved the grin out from the personal space blocking bit. The face expresses emotion regarding the action the kid is taking. You know, like people do.”

                      Another completely non-responsive answer. Why isn’t a shit eating grin one of the many appropriate responses for a teenager when a grown man gets in your face while banging a drum and chanting?

                      “The mania to change my thesis into one easier for you to address is either telling about your side’s argumentation skill or the strength of my interpretation of events.”

                      I haven’t changed your thesis one bit. This is what you said, and what I responded to. “I’m more seeing people work on minimizing facial expressions as wroth of criricism than try to deny it’s a shit-eating-grin. Your lack of honesty, both about the events and your positions, is what’s telling.

                2. Faces certainly do not convey as much communication as actions.
                  How can you justify the actions of Phillips who deliberately walked up to this boy in the crowd and started banking a drum in his face just inches away from his ears.
                  Yet you condemn the boy for smiling and completely ignore the actions of Phillips.
                  I can’t tell if you are just a complete idiot or if you honestly believe the complete crap you are spewing out.

                  1. What about face plus actions, MfE?

                    I talk about Phillips elsewhere. You sure did wake up today anxious to push him into the limelight!

                    1. Is that where you said that Phillips was trying to be rude, or where you said that Phillips was trying to diffuse the situation?

                      Why shouldn’t he be the one in the limelight? His lies, which you continue to ignore, started the whole thing.

                    2. You don’t think both rudeness and trying to defuse can be true?

                      How did his lies start anything? The picture started everything, jph.

                    3. “You don’t think both rudeness and trying to defuse can be true?”

                      Go with that one. And ignore that you said that he was deliberately being rude because he was protesting. See, fluid.

                    4. Nothing you say contradicts what I’m saying. Defusing, moving, rudeness, protesting, none of these contradict any of the rest.

                    5. No, what you say contradicts what you say.

                    6. Taking refuge behind cryptic hostility does not impress me.

                    7. I’m not trying to impress you. I don’t respect you enough to want to convince you, much less impress you. And there’s nothing cryptic about my hostility.

                    8. Hostile nonresponsiveness. Your 11:10AM comment is a level of hostile nonsense response I’m beginning to realize is surrendering the point, coming from you.

                3. Did you know that dogs (canis lupus) are one of the few species outside of homo sapiens capable of interpreting facial expressions?

          3. Phillips is not a Cietnam vet. He lied about that.

        3. “Haha, it’s all subjective but that’s pretty impressive.”

          Wait, how is reading “pure hatred” into Phillip’s expression worse than reading “entitled crappiness” into the kid’s expression?

          1. Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying.

            Or do you think faces don’t betray emotions, actually?

            1. And your comments betray your progtardation.

            2. It doesn’t matter what his expression was, but the fact that it easily could have just been a nervous smile shows that you and your type are fucking idiots.

              That is the point of bringing it up you shit weasel.

              1. Watch the video and tell me whether you still think it could be a nervous smile.

            3. “Or do you think faces don’t betray emotions, actually?”

              Well, given the fact that we’re in the middle of a conversation where you and other commenters are reading completely different emotions into people’s faces, I’d have to say that there’s strong evidence that faces don’t betray emotions. Although it seems likely that the expression on the kid’s face might be betraying your emotions.

              1. Partisans reading different fact patterns doesn’t mean you should throw up your hands and decide there is no objective reality.

                I call them like I see them, including how I see other people seeing them. I have a pretty wide latitude for how people can see things differently. Some of the comments here stretch past that some, some do not. None change how I see it.

                1. “I call them like I see them”

                  Right. Conservatives bad, liberals good, facts be damned.

                2. “Partisans reading different fact patterns doesn’t mean you should throw up your hands and decide there is no objective reality.”

                  Sure. One set of partisans says that kid’s an asshole because his facial expression betrayed a sense of entitlement when an old guy got in his face. The other set of partisans thinks the the old guy is an asshole because he got in a kid’s face. But you are correct that there is some objective reality here.

                  1. Yes, and I posit my own interpretation as the objectively correct one!

                    Which really does seem to have set some people off. Come for the death threats, stay for the number of people accusing me of anti-white racism!

                    1. “Yes, and I posit my own interpretation as the objectively correct one!”

                      If I understand your position correctly, you agree that the Philips behaved aggressively, but believe that the kid was a jerk for remaining motionless and smiling. You say he smiled in a jerky manner, correct.

                      The kid’s explanation was that he believed, in good faith, that the best way to respond to Philip’s aggressive behavior was to remain motionless and smile to show he was friendly and not a threat. Do you have any evidence that that is not the case, other than that you just know what he was thinking by the way he was smiling?

                    2. Right or wrong, the smile says to me ‘you can’t touch me, my dad owns a dealership.’ I’m not gonna fully buy into that pre-made narrative, but the smile and associated behavior strikes me as rudeness of a particular entitled fashion.

                      You are the first to bring up the kids’ response. The kid’s explanation doesn’t quite comport with that smile, and his behavior also doesn’t work with that – if you’re worried, you move with your compatriots, not stand by yourself!

                      Maybe the kid is innocent of any douchiness. More peculiar reactions than that have occurred in nature, and the whole scene could just be a coincidence. Unlikely, but possible.
                      But I mean, it’s not a crime, it’s rudeness I’m talking about. And I’m not advocating he be persecuted for it. But maybe teach him a bit about how to act. Which ship I know has sailed thanks to Internet partisan feeding frenzies being what they are.

                    3. If he didn’t like what what happening, he should have just left. Where have I heard that before?

                    4. …did I say he should leave? I think he should have moved a couple of inches back or to the left.

                    5. You mean…right back into the group of students directly behind him…that Phillips was in no way attempting to navigate through.

                    6. At which point Phillips would have advanced a few inches. Because if Phillips had been willing to not intrude into his personal space, he would have stopped further back. Remember, the kid was standing still, the only reason they were too close together was that Phillips wanted it that way.

                    7. You think Phillips targeted this kid in particular? No evidence of that, at all, Brett.

                    8. No, I think he just picked a kid at random to abuse, he didn’t care which of them he was was obnoxious to.

                  2. And yet the “old guy” later said there was no disrespect and that he was only trying to prevent a physical conflict.

                    How would that play in court?

            4. I actually agree that faces betray emotions, but except for the most primal emotions, you need a good degree of context to interpret them.

              This wasn’t a case of primal emotions, so there’s some ambiguity.

              What there isn’t ambiguity about, is that the kid was standing still in a place he was entitled to be, and Phillips invaded his personal space to bang a drum in is face.

              You want that to be the kid being impolite. At best that’s crazy.

              1. You don’t need a mess of context to know an a-hole when you see one, Brett.

                1. You need more than you’ve seen of the kid.

                  Now you, you’ve provided plenty of context.

                  1. Called that comment, jph. I usually prefer my stalkers to be a bit less predictable!

                    Your substantive bit is partially correct – I don’t know the kid’s an a-hole, I do know he was captured doing an a-hole move.

                    1. I don’t know the kid’s an a-hole, I do know he was captured doing an a-hole move.

                      Nah, the a-hole move was not putting Phillips’ head through the concrete.

                    2. “Called that comment, jph. I usually prefer my stalkers to be a bit less predictable!”

                      It’s not stalking when you show up in virtually every thread spewing this same kind of empty bullshit. I show great restraint in not responding to your stupidity more than I do.

                      “Your substantive bit is partially correct – I don’t know the kid’s an a-hole, I do know he was captured doing an a-hole move.”

                      No you don’t. You don’t know that at all.

                2. “You don’t need a mess of context to know an a-hole when you see one, Brett.”

                  Exactly, Sarcastro. But one thing the kid’s defenders have not addressed is that in addition to revealing a hatred of Indians and other other marginalized peoples, the smile also revealed a desire to torture puppies. Now maybe these goobers don’t care about mocking a Vietnam Veteran (which is how he identifies), but how do they defend torturing puppies!

                  1. How he identifies is contrary to facts. Does that change one’s perspective?

    6. Facecrime, obviously made worse because it was WHITE facecrime against a poor defenseless indian just minding his business banging drum at people and staring them down. In the 1970’s us (toxically masculine I’m sure) kids would have given “Bang on the drum all day” an open palm to the nose straight arm to keep him out of our personal space. And if it led to a donnybrook, so be it.

      1. Lotsa people on the right trying to make a criminal case out of this.

        1. Lotsa people on the left want to skip the criminal case, and move straight to the punishment.

          1. And I’m not only not one of those hateful Internet randos; I think those people should fail and are bad and should feel bad.

            But alas none of them are on this website, so people just keep bringing that up.

            1. You are one of them. You just couch your hatred and elitism in better language. It doesn’t matter how fancy the paper used to wrap the garbage, it’s still garbage.

              1. Yeah, what I’m doing is about the same as death threats, Goju. Jeez.

                1. Minus an explicit death threat, I see no difference.

        2. “Lotsa people on the right trying to make a criminal case out of this.”

          That’s right people, it’s the right that’s acted inappropriately in this situation. That’s the key takeaway here.

          1. No, it’s everyone trying to pretend I want this kid in jail because that’s an argument they’re more comfortable having.

            1. No, everyone is not pretending that you fucking moron. You are responding to a post referencing the George Orwell novel, 1984, a fictional novel in which Facecrime is an actual crime. People referencing Facecrime do not believe that Facecrime is an actual crime, even though 1984 has long since passed, because those people are smarter than you.

              1. 1984 has in fact passed. But, the concept has just been delayed.

    7. But you’re also a biased idiot sarcastro. You wouldnt let facts ever change your preconceived feels and bias. Narrative is more important to you than anything.

      1. You keep insisting I’ve never backed down, even when I’ve listed examples to you in the past. Narrative just too strong, I guess.

    8. What if the roles were reversed and the kid walked up banging the drum and the other guy refused to move?

      1. A useful thought experiment, I think. Gets at age, power dynamics, partisanship, expression.

        A) Complete reversal – Phillips with huge grin and hat, kid looking kinda grumpy with a drum. Phillips is the dick, here.
        B) Partisan reversal – Phillips has the MAGA hat, kid has drum. Hat doesn’t matter to me. Phillips should get outta that kid’s way though. I might take issue with the kid’s cause, but not his methods.
        C) Racial reversal – Kid is a Native American, Phillips is a white guy. I still think Phillips should move.

        D) All but face reversal – Phillips and kid keep their expressions. Here I actually switch – that grin seems to go miles with me for whatever reason.

        1. Play around with crowd-size as well.

          Two guys in the middle of nowhere face-to-face.

          Two guys, each with a posse at their backs.

          Drummer with a marching band vs. solitary MAGA-hat.

          Context matters, and in this case that crowd of Catholic school-boys is part of the context.

          1. Is the crowd of protestors with Nathan Phillips part of the context?

            1. Yes.

        2. “Complete reversal – Phillips with huge grin and hat, kid looking kinda grumpy with a drum. Phillips is the dick, here.”
          “Phillips should get outta that kid’s way though”

          I disagree. It’s good to be courteous and give the benefit of the doubt, but when A is rude to B, B is no longer required to be courteous to A (IMHO, of course).

          Situation – you’ve been waiting in line at the supermarket. You have just started to unload your cart when I push my cart in from the side, crowding you. I don’t offer any explanation – no ‘I’m sorry, I just need to buy this medicine and get home to my sick kid’, just me crowding in to unload my cart of beer. Does etiquette require you to pull the couple of items you have unloaded off the belt and make way for me?

          1. Adding a service factor to the situation makes it a complete different situation. There’s no cost to moving in the case here; you lose time in the supermarket line (plus all the line-based norms that exist).

            1. Actually, there was potentially a cost to moving, they were waiting on their bus, and had to be there when it arrived.

              So, backing up a couple feet, relatively costless but not in any way required by good manners when somebody gets in your face.

              But it would have been pretty costly if they’d let him drive them away from the bus stop.

              1. Yeah, Brett, that’s the ticket – this behavior was required for the kid to not miss his bus!

                Haha

                1. Yup. The “waiting for the bus” claim is obviously wrong because the kid’s smile revealed that he would happily have missed his bus to engage in just a few more minutes of mocking Indians, gays, or any other protected class that happened to present itself.

                  1. Don’t forget the puppy-hate!

                    1. Thank you. How have we gotten this far without making puppies a protected class anyway?

                    2. We’ve been relying on norms. Well, norms and cuteness.

    9. Clearly someone has never been both polite and in an uncomfortable social situation. As for the refusal to move, given that the lying sack of shit bully in question was trying to force the kids to move as part of a power play good on the kid for not doing so. This was not a narrow hallway, the fake vietnam vet was trying to push through the crowd with plenty of room on either side for exactly the media reaction he got.

      1. Given how much you’re demonizing Phillips, it looks like you very much want to bolster your argument about the situation by constructing an external narrative.

        1. It isn’t a matter of demonizing Phillips, so much as not blinding ourselves to what he was up to, and what his profession is.

          The way you insist on doing.

          1. Which has no bearing on the kid being an a-hole to him.

            1. It absofuckinglutely does. His lies about what happened set off the entire shitstorm. And then morons like you got so invested in the narrative that they refused to back down once additional evidence came out.

              And the kid was absolutely not an asshole. Phillips was the asshole, and the kid handles himself admirably.

              1. Your repeating yourself. I’ve pushed back on your Phillips to blame narrative above.

                1. I’ve pushed back on your Phillips to blame narrative above.

                  None of which is in any way accurate.

                  1. You also think this was all caused by Phillips’s interview with the WaPo, rrwp?

                    1. You should stop trying to read minds because you really suck at it.

                    2. I asked so I would know what you thought.

                      If that’s not the connection, then you might want to take it up with jph above; from his 9:51 and 10:33 comments, it looks like he thinks the WaPo article to be the cause.

        2. Let’s bullet point my “demonization” out here shall we? We’ve got two claims and an opinion.

          Claim – Fake Vietnam vet – Well, all you have to do is look up the reporting on his DD12 and the reporting on his Facebook page to know that one is true

          Claim – Lying – One merely needs to contrast the longform videos with his constantly changing story that he’s giving in various interviews to know this is true

          Opinion – sack of shit – He very purposefully went over to harrass a bunch of high school kids to try and bait them into doing something. They did nothing, yet the MSM still tried to carry his water. Now in my opinion, people who harrass high school kids who haven’t done anything to them are sacks of shit. Period.

          1. Is going after Phillips a talking point or something? What’s with that this morning?

            I don’t know anything about his background – it’s not relevant to the moment I’m talking about. The right wing attack machine scrabbling for a target is a helluva sight to see, though.

            As to your opinion, a purer example of begging the question is hard to find.

            1. Holy crap. You can’t even see it, can you?

            2. You tell em, Sarcastro. Demonizing the lying fake Vietnam war vet who actually behaved badly is merely a right-wing ploy to distract from our demonizing a kid who was smiling in a way that revealed that the kid was an entitled little shit who hates puppies!

              1. Maybe Phillips deserves whatever the right throws at him. Based on past history, I doubt it – the right wing hate machine these days gets weird and way overmotivated.

                But it’s also pretty clear how excited righties in this thread are to have a clear target (other than me, I guess). It’d be an interesting exercise to graph the mentions of Phillips over time. Not for the increase, for discontinuities. The jumps as someone or another changes their whole argument to this more familiar arena.

                1. “Based on past history, I doubt it – the right wing hate machine these days gets weird and way overmotivated.”

                  I know, right? And the most galling part is that the nasty little righties are claiming that it’s somehow our leftist hate machine that is overmotivated, just because we called out that entitled little shit stood in an obnoxious manner, wearing a smile that all right-thinking people understand is the grin of white privilege.

                  And so what if Phillips (who is entitled to identify as a Vietnam vet if he chooses) initiated this whole controversy by speaking his truth to the news media. The fact that his truth doesn’t match what the videos show is racist, because objective truth is a construct of white privilege.

                  1. Naw, the same’s true on the left, with different types of weirdness. Certainly they did not cover themselves in glory in doxxing everyone at Covington just about.
                    That’d be tu quoque though.

                    Satirical strawmaning of the other side is all good times; just don’t start believing they think what you write they do.

                    1. You were better when you kept your strawmanning satirical. Not good, but better than when you try to be serious.

                2. “Maybe Phillips deserves whatever the right throws at him. Based on past history, I doubt it – the right wing hate machine these days gets weird and way overmotivated.”

                  Yes, it’s the right-wing hate machine that gets weird and overmotivated. That’s it. The left-wing hate machine response to a kid standing in place smiling while a person plays a drum in his face has been totally measured and appropriate. I mean, sure, they had to shut down the school for a couple of days, but it’s just one of those Catholic schools and everyone knows those are evil anyways (the New York Times already has the hashtag going).

                  “But it’s also pretty clear how excited righties in this thread are to have a clear target (other than me, I guess).”

                  Damn them for focusing on the person actually acting badly in the situation, then repeatedly lying about it.

                  “It’d be an interesting exercise to graph the mentions of Phillips over time. Not for the increase, for discontinuities. The jumps as someone or another changes their whole argument to this more familiar arena.”

                  Nobody has changed their entire argument, except for you and Phillips. You can’t judge the kid’s reaction without knowing about Phillips’s actions, as has been repeatedly pointed out from the very start. That was a big part of what started the whole shitshow–the lie from Phillips and his supporters that the kids approached and surrounded him.

            3. Jesus titty f-ing christ on a pogo stick. You accuse me of demonizing someone, then when I explicitly refute that particular brand of idiocy, you accuse me of using talking points, then explicitly state you have been paying zero fucking attention to the story as it develops, and then use begging the question incorrectly as well. Unless of course you happen think a magical and invisible technologically adept fairy was filming the highly edited video that was posted to Twatter right before he started lying in interviews about the event. I suppose it could always be that.

              1. Wait. Now you think this video was a set-up orchestrated by Philips and some cohorts?!

                Not saying you used talking points; you are just reflecting the carefully curated zeitgeist in your media. Both sides do that – surely you’ve seen a bunch of liberals make the same point at the same time.

                Your opinion assumes your answer. He very purposefully went over to harrass a bunch of high school kids to try and bait them into doing something. They did nothing, yet the MSM still tried to carry his water. Now in my opinion, people who harrass high school kids who haven’t done anything to them are sacks of shit.
                That’s begging the question.

                1. “Both sides do that – surely you’ve seen a bunch of liberals make the same point at the same time.”

                  In this very case. And you are one of the morons doing it. But you want to keep blaming the right for this shitshow.

                2. Let’s see, lies through his teeth multiple times on national TV about the circumstances at which he came to be in front of the kid, has a history of accusing people of racism to news agencies, and video evidence VERY clearly shows him completely ignoring the BI’s to walk up to the crowd and get in the kid’s face while banging his drum. What is that but clear evidence of intent to harass? As for the set up portion, where do you think the highly edited initial clips came from? Do tell. I’d love to hear your explanation as to the who and how.

                  1. Hey, when you’re white, you’re cleary fair game. And, a target.

                    Throw in the MAGA logo hats and well, what did you expect?

                    The modern version of steppin & fetchin.

                3. “Wait. Now you think this video was a set-up orchestrated by Philips and some cohorts?!”

                  Are you not familiar with how the story developed? I don’t know who released the video, but the whole reason this is an issue is the media outlets like CNN and wapo uncritically reported statements by Phillips that turned out to be contradicted by the longer video, with no effort to get the other side of the story. That’s the main issue here.

                  1. Philips told the media that he was peacefully making his way to the Lincoln memorial when the kids surrounded him and one got in his face. The media ran with that story, but the truth turned out to be almost exactly the opposite. That’s why people are coming down on Phillips.

    10. ” refusal to move ”

      Is ‘walking up and banging a drum in someone’s face’ consider a proper request to move where you live?

  6. Show of hands from all the licensed attorneys on here who have won–or had a partner win–a defamation lawsuit.
    Everybody needs to chill.
    To the extent that there’s a lesson here it’s that the SJW left has no shame, and that the regular adult media, which tilts left anyway, is caught trying to stay ahead of Buzzfeed (an impossible task for a responsible journalist) and often stepping on their dicks in the process.

    1. Sexist much?

      What about the component of the MSW that doesn’t even have a dick to step on?

      1. I envy your endowment that is such that you think that even half the population can step on their own dicks.

  7. “Note that the rule seems to be somewhat different in Ohio, where other statements that “hold [plaintiff] up to a public hatred, contempt or scorn” can qualify as defamatory per se; so if some of the boys live in Ohio (that seems possible, since I think Covington Catholic High School is very near Cincinnati), they might have a stronger case.”

    Yeah Ohio!

    1. So does ‘public hatred, contempt or scorn’ often happen in Ohio?

      How does one spell s-n-o-w-f-l-a-k-e in Ohio?

      1. The one kid was accused of being a racist by hundreds of media and political figures. 16 years old. Because he “smirked”.

        1. It just proves we need less progressives.

  8. Even though the Hebrew Israelites were the initial antagonists and the Native American guy should have kept his nose out of it, the little fucktard was wearing a MAGA hat. That automatically makes his ‘pained smile’ a smirk.

  9. Whether you believe that kids or the Indian, Kirsten Powers reminds us who the true victims are: Journalists.

    1. She was ponced on by the Trump Internet. Must be painful.

      1. pounced

        Though apparently “ponced” means “live off a prostitute’s earnings” in the UK so that fits too.

        1. I think I might like that! 🙂

          Or, would that make me a pimp? 🙁

  10. So there’s really nothing you can do, even if the damages resulting from defamatory opinions are tangible? All of those options seem inconsistent and depend on the quality of argument irrespective of the basic fact that powerful people used their platforms to defame someone.

    1. Yes.

      Put simply, libel/slander law saying you can’t insult/lie about/defame someone is in conflict with the First Amendment to say whatever the fuck you want. As a result, the bar for winning a libel/slander case in the United States is really frickin’ high.

      Other countries set the bar lower, and those countries have fewer Free Speech protections.

    2. Hence Mr. Trump’s idea of “opening up” libel laws. However, it is unusual to hear repetition of provable falsehoods so many days after the story in its original form began to fall apart, maybe some of that is actionable?

      1. Trump wasn’t really proposing to do anything that would alter libel law as it effects ordinary people, though. He just wanted the “public figure” doctrine ended, so that he could sue under the same circumstances anybody else could, instead of being fair game for libel.

        1. Presumably because libeling him as a private citizen, pre-president, would hurt him so much he’d have no chance at the biggest brass ring of all.

          1. Methinks you, and others here, way overstate the status/power/authority of the POTUS.

            George Washington might want to talk to you.

        2. “He just wanted the “public figure” doctrine ended”

          We don’t know that… He could have meant any number of things e.g., statutory damages, attorney fees, nationwide jurisdiction, limits on applicable privileges, injunctive relief, etc.

    3. “So there’s really nothing you can do, even if the damages resulting from defamatory opinions are tangible?”

      Yes, that’s correct. People are allowed to have bad opinions about you, accurate or not.

      “the basic fact that powerful people used their platforms to defame someone.”

      If all they offered were opinions based on the 45-seconds or so of video, then they categorically didn’t defame someone. “Defame” doesn’t mean “said mean things about…” It has specific elements, and if any of the elements is missing, there’s no defamation.

      I’m free, as an American, to say that that one boy’s facial expression was darnright creepy. And I can stick by that opinion, even if he’s an eagle scout who mentors disabled youth and builds birdhouses for local endangered species in his spare time, because it’s an opinion, and opinions are free, whether they’re 100% right, 100% wrong, or anywhere in between.

      1. Or, their just like assholes; everybody’s got one.

        As evidenced by the debate here.

  11. Unnamed sources say WaPo, NYT, CNN, CNBC, CBS, et al, are run by transgender, tri-sexual, bisexual lesbian democrat progressive communists who hate the USA and wish to turn it into a totalitarian state.

    1. No source are required. That conclusion may be reached through casual observation.

  12. I think the boys should lay charges of assault against Mr. Activist Native American.

    1. Presumably if the roles and behaviors were reversed, how dare those racist boys walk up and beat that drum in that guy’s face, who bravely stood there and took it

      1. Imagine if they had held a crucifix up to his face.

  13. Gotta love the left rushing to blame the victim here.

  14. I can understand how it’s not defamatory to call someone a racist. The term “racist” may have had an objective meaning in the past – it meant someone like Bilbo (the Mississippi Senator, not the Hobbit). Now it has a much broader meaning to many people – including unconscious or systemic racism. These are matters of opinion – dumb opinion, but opinion nonetheless, and libel law shouldn’t be used to suppress particular worldviews, even wrong worldviews like the Progressive “Everyone’s racist but me and you and I’m not so sure about you” school of thought.

    But what do the precedents say about accusing kids of surrounding an elderly Native American veteran and taunting him?

    1. and still claiming that bullshit a week later.

      from yesterday

      “The Native American activist, seen on video beating a drum Friday as teens from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky surrounded and mocked him”

      if this isn’t malicious nothing is. “finding of malicious intent requires a showing that the defendant published the defamatory article with actual knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard for its truth.”

      would satisfy even the onerous public figure standards.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/ national-security/2019/01/23/ nathan-phillips-man-standoff-with- covington-teens-faces- scrutiny-his-military-past/

  15. Thanks Prof, this is the post I’ve been waiting for. Explains why so many in the press keep doubling down on stupid and refusing to retract outright falsehoods – there’ll be no consequences.

    1. I send personalized hate letters to the media.

    2. Yep. There is absolutely no reason for them to stop or change their behavior. They will suffer no consequences. They never do. This must change.

  16. “For instance, claiming that someone’s appearance in some video (especially one that you link to) reflects a “smirk” (rather than a pained smile) and stems from racism, is likely to be seen as an opinion: ”

    What about a false light claim? The claim is certainly “highly offensive or embarrassing to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities” and many defendants published after the second video had become widely circulated i.e., reckless disregard(?)

  17. This seems to be about a system designed to get away with lying.

    To convict someone of libel is almost impossible.

    Simply make lying a crime, making only true statements legal, and people will learn quite quickly not to portray falsehoods as truth.

    Fake news won’t get paid.

    1. That puts the courts into the position of deciding what’s “true” or not on otherwise non-criminal matters. That’s… not a good idea.

      You can have stronger libel/slander laws without going that far. In fact, most other First World countries do so. You will lose Free Speech rights and freedoms, but that’s the trade-off if you want stricter libel/slander laws.

      1. I think the problem is that people, the news, the president say, “he’s a racist” when all they can truthfully say is “I think he is a racist because ,,,”

        It’s saying the same thing but the second cannot be misconstrued as a statement of fact. People need to learn how to play nicely while communicating. We need to criminalize lying to make it happen.

        Imagine a world where people don’t lie. Back it up with the human right to voluntarily record all our personal memories and lying will be virtually eliminated. No more corruption as long as good questions are asked.

        People will become more honest and intelligent.

        But it must apply equally to everyone including the elite.

        1. “But it must apply equally to everyone including the elite.”

          What, in your entire history of dealing with the governments, makes you think this is even a remote possibility?

          “Imagine a world where people don’t lie.”

          The only way I can imagine that is to imagine a world with no people.

        2. I think the problem is that people, the news, the president say, “he’s a racist” when all they can truthfully say is “I think he is a racist because ,,,”

          The lack of weasel-words is not the problem.

          It’s saying the same thing but the second cannot be misconstrued as a statement of fact.

          Yes it can.

          People need to learn how to play nicely while communicating. We need to criminalize lying to make it happen.

          No we don’t and wouldn’t work anyway.

          Imagine a world where people don’t lie.

          That’s a horror flick.

          Back it up with the human right to voluntarily record all our personal memories and lying will be virtually eliminated.

          People already lie to people who know they’re lying.

          No more corruption as long as good questions are asked.

          Still no.

          People will become more honest and intelligent.
          [Citation needed.]

          But it must apply equally to everyone including the elite.

          Ironically, the “elite” are alreadythe most-recorded, and their lies are easy to look-up. And it hasn’t changed anything. Because their supporters don’t care.

          So to summarize… it’s a terrible idea and wouldn’t work anyway.

          1. Your reply was structured like you were trying to refute each of my statements, but without logic, rhetoric doesn’t refute anything.

            That was a lot to typing to say “no it doesn’t”

            I’ve already wasted more time in this reply than yours was worth because I suspect you can do better.

        3. “Imagine a world where people don’t lie.”

          A utopian world free of politics?

          10,000 years of human history say otherwise.

          1. Oh and free of sex?

      2. There are a lot of good reasons why the idea is bad, but that’s not one of them. The courts do this already, e.g., perjury, modern obstruction of justice, etc.

  18. “On the other hand, the criticisms of the boys were tied to questions of broader public concern…”

    If this is correct, is there anything that wouldn’t qualify?

    If I falsely call somebody a whore, well, prostitution is a matter of public concern. If I say a doctor botched an operation, health care is a question of public concern. STDs are a question of public concern. Marital infidelity and the decline of the family are questions of public concern, etc.

    1. If A says B has an unpaid debt (to A), the matter of public concern would be… ?

  19. Florida’s secretary of state resigned today after a newspaper published a photograph in which he appeared in blackface and mocked Hurricane Katrina victims.

    Any of you goobers want to take a guess with respect to his political affiliation.

    Hint: It’s the party that’s #1 with racists.

    1. Sigh. First the war on Christmas, then Thanksgiving, now Halloween.

      1. Can Arbor Day be far behind?

    2. Let me guess….the same party that had an past Grand whatever of the KKK, the one that seems to attract every black racist, the one that is home to a ton of anti-semites, the party that thinks discriminating on the basis of race is just fine as a matter of public policy as long as it is called “affirmative action”, or is it the goobers who like to talk about “racism” out of one side of their mouth but when it comes to white people are completely fine being racist toward them?

      Hint: It’s the party that’s #1 with racism – the Democrats.

      1. I wonder what the head of the Women’s march meant when she talked about having the same enemies as Jesus?

        1. I guess Richard Dawkins doesn’t like the Women’s March.

          1. And I wonder who she means by “THE leader”

        2. Rather ironic tweet considering how Pharisaic modern progressives are.

        3. Pontius Pilate?

          1. et tu Brute?

    3. So he’s a democrat?

  20. What I love about the law is that change happens. Prior cases may have found calling someone a racist not actionable. But given the brouhaha, the disparity in age/power of the perpetrators, the lies as to what happened, and the threats of violence, I think the law just might frown on the so-called adults here.

    Moreover, I think discovery would be a real hoot. Do the perpetrators really want their vile history publicly exposed? I think discovery would see them scurrying like roaches with the light turned on.

    Lastly, no one is obligated (legally or morally) to move for some loon pounding a drum.

    Moreover, beating a stick and making a raucous, ear-splitting noise at a child just might seem a wee bit offensive (and designed to intimidate) – think assault. Has law enforcement investigated this avenue? They’ve got plenty of video evidence.

    1. But the kid was smiling. How dare his whitey butt smile at a poor Indian guy with a drum who was a veteran…err…or maybe not…but still he had a drum and white boy from private school is at the bottom of the victim identity totem pole. The kid should have known that and groveled at the feet of said indigenous person.

      1. Don’t forget the MAGA hat. That eliminates all sympathies.

  21. it’s seems strange how libel per se doesn’t update with changing norms like other facets of common law. still loathsome disease and unchaste woman are on the hit list but not racist which is at least as financially damaging as any possible other accusation. people get fired for just the inference of racism constantly.

  22. This whole things demonstrates how desperate liberals are to manufacture any controversy whatsoever. It is rather pathetic if you ask me. How many more fake/manufactured incidents of hate do we have to have before people just tune out completely to the whole faux controversy thing? Probably not many more.

  23. Sue the media sources in the UK or Australia, these are global brands.

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  25. One thing that can be proven is that Nathan Philips repeatedly lied about the boys crowding him and preventing him from getting to the memorial.
    Video clearly shows that he got up in the face of this kid and started banking his drum inches from his face.
    I hope the military also takes this further because Philips clearly lied repeatedly about his military service to build up his own character.
    This case should also be used to reign in Twitter as it clearly allowed an incredible amount of hate speech to remain up against it’s own terms of service, particularly from the likes of Kathy Grifthin. A loathsome woman who masquerades as a comedian who should also be pursued for hate speech.
    This whole episode could be used to make an example of the entire news media who pushed their poisonous narrative.
    I hope the whole lot of them burn. They have been alolowed to push their fake news stories for far too long. It’s way past time to bring the lot of them crashing to the ground.

    1. and the media still claiming that bullshit a week later.

      from yesterday

      “The Native American activist, seen on video beating a drum Friday as teens from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky surrounded and mocked him”

      if this isn’t malicious nothing is. “finding of malicious intent requires a showing that the defendant published the defamatory article with actual knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard for its truth.”

      would satisfy even the onerous public figure standards.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/nationa…..019/01/23/ nathan-phillips-man-standoff-with-covington -teens-faces-scrutiny-his-military-past/

      1. Washington Post link

        html coding (remove space around the <> tag delimiters
        < a href="link_over_50_byte_word_limit" > Washington Post link < /a >

  26. If you leave your home and you are in a public space, you need to assume that you are being video taped. If you do something rude, hurtful or embarrassing then you risk of “going viral” for all of the wrong reasons.

    Now, most people think that these kids exhibited bullying behavior. Where were the adults? They were on a school sponsored trip. This situation should have never happened in the first place.

    Next, you need to know where you are. Living in the South in a conservative area walking around with a MAGA hat, is probably no big deal. In Washington, DC, many see it as a hate symbol. So just wearing the hat was provocative. Then surrounding an elderly man that was singing appeared threatening. People can not know what was “in the heart” of the young boys. All we know is it looked like bullying.

    Can anyone be sued? Probably not. In the US, you can’t be sued if people say true things about you. The boys were in a very public space acting like dicks. People pointing out that the boys were “acting like dicks” is free speech.

    1. I live in DC. See MAGA hats all the time.

      But I do think your top sentence makes a great point.

      1. I note that Olga repeats the demonstrably false claim that the boys surrounded Phillips, and far from correcting her, you congratulate her for her wisdom. This is one of the many reasons why I can’t take you seriously.

        1. He praised one sentence… not the one you take issue with. That’s why your criticism rings hollow.

    2. “Now, most people think that these kids exhibited bullying behavior.”

      No they don’t.

      “So just wearing the hat was provocative.”

      No it isn’t. Not that it matters, because there’s nothing wrong with dressing provocatively.

      “Then surrounding an elderly man that was singing appeared threatening.”

      Except that never happened. As is clearly evident on video.

      “In the US, you can’t be sued if people say true things about you. The boys were in a very public space acting like dicks. People pointing out that the boys were “acting like dicks” is free speech.”

      No, they really weren’t. And there is ample video evidence that establishes that.

      1. Olga – jph is correct on all counts but I want to focus in on the specific falsehood “Then surrounding an elderly man” that’s been repeated all over the place, that’s flat out false. The drummer walked into the middle of the crowd of students though he had an open and shorter route to the steps (his claimed destination). They did not surround him, he walked into the middle of THEIR group on purpose.
        I’ve watched that section of the video, that’s what happened. If you don’t have time to watch consider reading the account from one of the few journalists that have – McArdle in the Post, Flanagan in the Atlantic, Soave right here.

    3. “So just wearing the hat was provocative.”

      Wow. Old hotness: Blaming the victim by claiming that the victim was dressed provocatively. New hotness: Some things never change.

      1. While simultaneously failing to note that banging a drum in someone else’s face is provocative.

        Their only consistency is obviousness.

    4. ” Then surrounding an elderly man that was singing appeared threatening.”

      The elderly man (who has a name Nathan Phillips) has repeatedly said he walked into the midst of the standing boys beating his drum and chanting. Some of the boys (Sarcastr0 says) backed away. There was no active “surrounding” going if you accept the claims by Nathan Philipps and Sarcastr0.

      [cynicism] “… most people think … bullying …. just wearing the hat was provocative … boys were in a very public space acting like dicks …” Olga. Perfect name for a Russian troll playing both sides against the middle. [/cynicism] The Brazilian troll posing as a California woman used “Talia” which is a common California name.

  27. some courts have held that, under the so-called “single publication” rule, the validity of a libel claim is judged solely as of the time the libel was initially published. I’m writing a law review article on this subject right now, and I hope to post more about it in coming months

    This is indeed a very interesting issue, which I guess is why you are writing an article about it.

    I am wondering if anyone has questioned whether the single publication rule (in jurisdictions where it is the law) applies to websites, particularly media websites. That rule may have made some sense in the era of newspapers and books, that are published once, and then there is no control over them, and who knows who will read it when.

    But websites, particularly media websites (e.g., the NY Times or CNN website) are dynamic, constantly changing and being updated. Some stores are updated as new information comes in, sometimes stories are taken down, and the relative position of different stories changes, sometimes hourly. (The top story at 9 am could be pushed down at 11 am if some other big story breaks.) And, of course the advertising context is constantly in flux (and in fact is different for each user – advertising space is often targeted to individual users).

    1. Given that a webpage is constantly changing and is in some ways tailored to the individual, and of course can easily be changed or altered to incorporate new information, I wonder whether the single publication rule makes sense in that context.

      One might well argue that each click on a site is a new “pubilcation,” and in any case, given the ease that a website can be changed, as a matter of policy, a takedown of defamatory material (once its falseness is known) is not such an onerous duty.

      Maybe I have anticipated some of your article. Any caselaw on this?

      1. The personal jurisdiction issues are interesting as well, particularly for regular people on Twitter. Would they be subject to personal jurisdiction by Kentucky just because their tweets could be read there?

        1. Well, under Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783 (1984), they likely would.

          Recall there that a Florida newspaper wrote a story that actress Shirley Jones was a drunk and showed up to work that way. The writers clearly knew she lived and worked in California. The Supreme Court held that since the defamation was directed to a person they knew lived in Califiornia, the courts there had jurisdiction over her defamation claims. See here for the case: supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/465/783/

          Seems to me the same applies to article about the “Covington” boys, since that is a school in Kentucky, and most of the articles mentioned that they were from there and one a trip to Washington D.C.

          1. I tend to agree for things like articles, and the Shirley Jones case was the case I saw referenced in support of jurisdiction, but does that still apply to random Twitter people who joined in the hate storm (especially the early haters who might not have known where they were from)?

            1. A libel claimed based on a Twitter post seems far-fetched.

              But in princple, I don’t see why Calder v. Jones might not apply, especially of the Twitter post makes clear the person knew that the students hailed from Covington, Kentucky. (Covington, after all, is a town in Kentucky, and their school is named after that town. If you Twitter about the “Covington Boys,” then it is likely you know who you are talking about.)

              1. If you Twitter about anything it is UNLIKELY you know who or what you are talking about.

    2. But websites, particularly media websites (e.g., the NY Times or CNN website) are dynamic, constantly changing and being updated.

      How far any suit goes will likely be limited to the extent that malicious intent can be proven. In CNN’s case, they published an opinion piece that argued the media folks were triggered by the MAGA hat, and their lesser developed brains reacted instinctually to make the students a target for the proglydyte mob. That probably wasn’t a great way to bolster a case for objective journalism.

  28. So, let me get this straight:

    Taunting and driving a confrontation based on accusations of their race and gender, including repeatedly stating the Gross Criminal Acts – falsely – of Felony Hate Crimes AND rampant Gross Felony Incest – on children by a Combat Vet kicked off Public Institutions & his buddies isn’t Defamation Pro Se??

    Also, check out the brutal – but honest – 4 min BlackPilled UTube video for the social costs.

    When will Reason & it’s Ilk go back to EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW?

    Yes – KY Att Generalis PROPERLY CHARGING TERRORISTS. And questions about the Civil?

    Those boys – and they are BOYS! – were violently abused by grown adults as the foolish Libtards claims that they are below the Law.

    The violent crime commiting adults the Injured them – look up Tort – were denying their Inalienable

    1. The DOJ should also investigate the major media outlets to see if any of them criminally violated the kid’s civil rights as well. This could be a golden opportunity to strike a blow against progressive media.

      1. DOJ seems unlikely to piss on their own friends.

        1. Seems to me, the boss of the DOJ and the kids in question like the same color hats.

  29. Does it matter if Covington cancels class, and a basketball game? Are those provable damages?

    1. Those might be damages for Covington, but it would be hard to consider those damages for the students. Could you convince a jury that a student was damaged because he had to miss class (basketball players might have some claim)? Plus, those result from threats to the school, which could very well be different messages from the statements about the boys being racist.

  30. I think if I were those kids, I’d skip the libel suits, and go after people for incitement to bodily harm.

    1. “I think if I were those kids, I’d skip the libel suits, and go after people for incitement to bodily harm.”

      I think the defense of “what harm?” would be fairly successful.

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  32. I don’t see how calling someone a racist is not a statement of fact.

  33. The teach in Colorado that made false accusations against a Covington student that wasn’t even present at the march, needs to be prosecuted. Please put this woman out of a job and separate her from some of her money.

  34. A lot of blue checkmarks on Twitter have been calling for violence and other offenses against these high school children, all based on a mountain of politically motivated lies, distortions, hype and slander.

    Yet Twitter does nothing, while banning conservative voices for doing absolutely nothing wrong by comparison.

    Meanwhile, thousands of incidents of actual political violence against Trump supporters have gone without any national uproar ginned up by the media and their journalists in the blue checkmark brigade. Instead, they work at every step to cover up and mislead and blame the victims.

    That’s actual political violence, which is a lot more serious than this merely confrontational but nonviolent incident. Anyway, of course, this particular incident was instigated by a certain Nathan Phillips, who lied about this incident before more video footage came to light, who has a history going back years of being a stooge at activist events like this and attempting to gin up racial grievances, and who lied about his military service. So, the kid just stood there as the old man accosted him, but the kid decided to stand his ground calmly instead of running away. I’d be proud of him if he were my kid.

    1. That’s quite the persecution complex you’ve got going on.

    2. If you are a white, American male and you are complaining about life being unfair, then you are a loser.

      Period.

      1. Life is unfair, for everybody.

        If you’re a white, American male and you’re sick of being blamed for things racist things you personally didn’t didn’t do, or that people who are now dead did to other people who are now dead…then you’re a smart man.

      2. Wait, so if you’re a white male then you can’t call out hypocrisy and lies? That’s a really weird, racist worldview you have there.

  35. How about if you don’t like the greatest country on earth because white men built it, you move to one of those idealistic countries run by Blacks or Asians or some other minority.. One thought, don’t post negatively there is you want to continue to live.

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