First Amendment

The Media’s Covington Coverage Was Appalling, but Nick Sandmann’s Libel Lawsuit Is Not the Answer

A teenager wrongly accused of harassing a Native American activist sues The Washington Post for $250 million.

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Sandmann
Screenshot via Youtube

Attorneys representing Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School student wrongly accused of harassing a Native American activist on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, have filed a libel lawsuit against The Washington Post for misrepresenting what happened.

"The Post wrongfully targeted and bullied Nicholas because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red 'Make America Great Again' souvenir cap on a school field trip to the January 18 March for Life in Washington, D.C. when he was unexpectedly and suddenly confronted by Nathan Phillips, a known Native American activist, who beat a drum and sang loudly within inches of his face," wrote Sandmann's attorneys, L. Lin Wood and Todd McMurtry, in their complaint, which was filed in Kentucky.

The suit asks for $250,000,000, which is the amount of money Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos paid to acquire the newspaper. There's a political dimension to all of this: Bezos is seen as a critic of President Trump, and Trump supporters view The Post as part of the anti-Trump establishment. The suit even accuses the paper of advancing an "easily documented, biased agenda" against the president.

Politics aside, the complaint makes a compelling case that The Post got the Covington story really, really wrong. Bezos's paper is not alone in this regard: Virtually the entire media—mainstream, left, and right—initially smeared the Covington kids as racists based on a short, misleading video clip of the incident. When additional video footage became available, we learned that far from being perpetrators of racial harassment, the high schoolers were on the receiving end of a torrent of verbal abuse from the Black Hebrew Israelites, a black nationalist cult group. In deciding to approach the boys, Phillips had intervened on the wrong side of this conflict. And while a few kids made insensitive tomahawk gestures, most simply continued the energetic pep rally cheer they had been doing even before Phillips arrived. Importantly, the kids did not consciously surround the man; he approached them. Sandmann has claimed his so-called "smirk" was actually a smile intended to defuse the situation—a claim supported by the extended video, which shows Sandmann quietly signaling to a classmate that engaging the Native American activists in argument was a bad idea.

Many media outlets revised their coverage in the wake of these new revelations, and many pundits apologized for the rush to judgment. Frustratingly, others have doubled down, and some have remained doggedly insistent that "we're never going to know exactly what happened that day," even though it's abundantly clear already.

So Sandmann's attorneys are clearly correct that the initial coverage of the incident was biased and inaccurate. But was it libel? I'm not persuaded.

Let's take a look at one The Post's early Sandmann articles, titled "'It was getting ugly': Native American drummer speaks on his encounter with MAGA-hat-wearing teens." The article is a completely one-sided look at what happened. It relies almost entirely on Nathan Phillips' account, quoting him and another Native American activist at length. These biased and misleading sources give readers the false impression that the Covington boys were aggressive, threatening, and intimidating. But note that it is not The Post itself asserting these claims; the paper is quoting sources.

Can a media outlet be held liable for quoting false information that it believed was true? In fact, yes. Recall that Rolling Stone lost a series of libel lawsuits relating to the University of Virginia rape hoax article even though author Sabrina Rubin Erdely's false assertions were supplied by her erroneous source, "Jackie." The court held that plaintiff Nicole Eramo, a dean at the university, should be considered a public figure, which meant that she had to prove not just negligence but actual malice on Rolling Stone's part, and she cleared even this higher bar. Assuming that Sandmann is considered a private figure, he will have an easier time.

But here's the problem: Phillips' statements, as quoted in The Post, are mostly of the opinion variety, and statements of opinion cannot be deemed libelous. They are not statements of fact. Again, compare to Rolling Stone. Erdely's article quoted Jackie as stating that Eramo and others said specific things that made light of Jackie's situation. These were false claims; Eramo et al never said any such things. Phillips, on the other hand, does not claim that Sandmann said something he did not say. He does claim to have heard "build the wall," but he attributes this comment to the crowd, not to Sandmann specifically. Any characterization of Sandmann as having smirked will fall into the opinion category—whether a facial expression is a smile or a smirk is obviously subjective.

There is one statement that does look like a potential assertion of fact rather than opinion. From The Post:

"It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: 'I've got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,' " Phillips recalled. "I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way, and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn't allow me to retreat."

This strikes me as potential grounds for a libel claim. It may indeed be considered a statement of fact rather than opinion, and one that was incorrect. The false assertion certainly portrays Sandmann in a negative light, and The Post made little effort to corroborate it before the author went ahead and subjected a previously unknown teenage boy to all the negative publicity that comes with being the subject of hit piece in a major media outlet. But this is far from open and shut, as the media's failures in the Covington case, while substantial, are more open to interpretation than Rolling Stone's failures in the Virginia story.

Of course, there's a broader philosophical problem with trying to resolve the Covington debacle via lawsuit, even if Sandmann may have a case (albeit an extremely narrow one): It raises serious free speech concerns, and it could have significant repercussions for the media.

Some conservatives are probably pleased about such a possibility. They'd prefer it if the media were more reticent to publish unconfirmed, negative articles about the president and his supporters for fear of drawing lawsuits. (That's very clearly what Trump himself wants.) But a media environment where people could easily sue writers for getting things wrong would be a nightmare for anyone—including conservative writers and media personalities—who would like to hold a powerful person or entity accountable.

"The idea of routinely suing media companies is horrifying and could end up doing much more harm than good," wrote the conservative journalist Mark Hemingway in a terrific Federalist article about the history of libel law and the media. "I want free speech to be as robust and unfettered as possible, and I would rather live in a country where the media is too aggressive toward the powerful, rather than not enough. Even if the Covington case goes to trial and ends up deservedly holding the media to account for turning an innocent teenager into a national object of hatred, I worry such an outcome could set an alarming precedent."

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535 responses to “The Media’s Covington Coverage Was Appalling, but Nick Sandmann’s Libel Lawsuit Is Not the Answer

  1. The Black Hebrew Israelites are honorary Reason commentators.

    1. I didn’t know they were THAT perverted and degenerate.

      1. Let’s be careful about using any sort of irony here or anywhere else on the Internet, lest we violate Poe’s Law. And, as for the actual topic of the article, I have been pointing out for some time that a civil lawsuit is not an appropriate solution; rather, Kentucky prosecutors should seek an indictment for criminal libel, arrest those who perpetrated this act, have them tried by a jury, and then make sure they are jailed for as long as possible. Eugene Volokh has capably demonstrated that the “free speech” people keep ranting about doesn’t protect an act of criminal libel, and the court’s have held as much in New York. See the documentation of our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case at:

        https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

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    2. Yes, the both groups of people (Black Hebrew Israelites and Reason commentators) have one thing in common, and that is, they hurt muh baby feelings!!!

      So if Nicholas Sandmann can sue for $250 million, so can I! I am going to sue “Tulpa” for $250 million, the very next time he makes inane, vapid, potty-mouthed and meaningless, insulting posts!

      1. I would say that at this point, the Reason commentariat is less that 10% libertarian.

        1. 1% libertarian, 99% Scotsmen.

          1. I don’t even have such a high standard. Anyone even a little bit read in classic libertarian literature would recognize that there is no basis for libel laws in libertarian philosophy. How many of the commenters below do you think have read any Rothbard or Block on the subject? How many of the commenters will take the time to watch this 1986 debate on libel laws between Nat Hentoff and David Kelley?

            Spoiler alert: libel laws are overwhelmingly used by large entities to silence private citizens.

            1. Rothbard is full of shit. If libel laws are not valid then neither are fraud laws. I have a right to free speech don’t I? What is fraud except making it illegal for me to say something false and profit from it.

              Moreover, libel isn’t a crime. It is a civil tort. The 1st Amendment was never meant to stand for the proposition that a protected right meant you are immune from common law liability for misconduct.

              1. Sigh. John, do you understand the title-transfer theory of contracts?

                1. Do you umderstand that you’re a progressive and not a libertarian?

                  We do.

                  1. Do you understand that you are a Russian-AI-generated emulation of a brainless moronic dipshit, and not a REAL human?

                    We do!

                    1. S1, you got a turd in your pocket? No one here likes you, or agrees with you.

                2. Don’t you understand that property and value can be somethign intangible?

                  1. Chipper is also against IP rights.

                    1. As he should be

                    2. No, in fact I support IP rights.

                    3. How can you argue “reputation” is not transferable property and therefore no damage has been caused but IP (a non-tangible asset) should be protected? That doesn’t make any sense

                3. I don’t even have such a high standard.

                  Sigh. John, your ‘rubber meets the road’ sensibilities just prove that you *aren’t* a libertarian and my vague abstractions don’t necessarily implicate or preclude your trivial machinations they do confer on me greater libertarian standing with which to judge others.

                  I was wrong. 100% Scotsmen save CMW.

                4. Can a media outlet be held liable for quoting false information that it believed was true?

                  ABSOLUTELY if they did so in reckless disregard for the truth.
                  So, tell me all about how the various media outlets interviewed the kids to get their side of the story before going to press.
                  Go on.
                  Tell me.
                  I think a successful $250 million libel suit is EXACTLY what the WaPo deserves.
                  With that as predicate, watch how responsible reporting becomes.

                  1. ABSOLUTELY if they did so in reckless disregard for the truth.
                    So, tell me all about how the various media outlets interviewed the kids to get their side of the story before going to press.
                    Go on.
                    Tell me.

                    The full video was out within HOURS of the incident. Those “layers of fact checkers” the media claims to have it supposed to check it.

                    If all they will do is quote what somebody is saying with no verification if it is actually true, they aren’t media. They are stenographers.

              2. Totally agree, John. Spot-on assessment.

            2. You don’t find it weird at all Chipper that this newfound Reason position that “muh, libel suits are bad” was not brought up when Stormy Daniels was suing the president or when clock boy was suing Fox News? It seems awfully strange that Reason goes full ancap only when they take issue with the principal involved.

              This article is just the same reflexive conservativism that Reason is known for. Defending the status quo and authority figures.

              1. At the same time, Robby has done a lot of good work on this story and I’ll give him a pass on writing a “cover my ass” article. The kid has torched his job prospects with a lot of employers for blowing up their narratives, so it’s more than fair that he try to gain some good will with them here.

                1. No, the “both sides”* and “to be sure” shit is Robbie covering his ass’s future in the fake news biz.

        2. Really? I mean Reason clearly made a mistake banning some of the best libertarian commenters like Michael Hihn and Palin’s Buttplug. But I think you’re overstating how bad things are.

          1. I do miss those two. They were entertaining.

            1. The fact that you covered for them and found them entertaining speaks more about you.

              1. You, however, are never entertaining, just annoying.

                1. Because he’s not on your team like Buttplug and Hihn, huh.

                  1. Why did PB get banned?

              2. I liked the Hihn Clown Show.

                It helped me reminisce on 90s Usenet

                So much caps and bold. If only Reason Comments would let you put in flashing plaid backgrounds.

          2. Last I heard Hihn wasn’t banned, he just “left” the site in a snit claiming he was being bullied all over the place. Of course, he still pops up here and there under one or another pseudonym.

            1. In between his insane copy and pastes he sometimes makes relevant and non retarded comments. If he would just behave like that the whole time, he’d be fine. His meds must only be effective for short 15 minute bursts right when the dose first kicks in or something…

            2. You know he’ll be back in full force at some point.

        3. The commentariat is more libertarian than the writers and editorial staff.

          1. +1000

        4. I would say that at this point, the Reason commentariat is less that 10% libertarian.

          Fortunately, no one cares what you would have to say.

          1. I’m a real world libertarian… In that I want things to be A LOT more libertarian than they are. However I also realize that SOME libertarian positions just don’t make sense in the world as it exists, even if they do in a theoretical world that is more better-er than this one. Like open borders or whatever.

            But by and large, we could be 95% more libertarian on most issues than we are now. So does that somehow make me NOT libertarian? Even though I’m more libertarian than 99% of the population?

            Gettin’ into some serious True Dudes In Plaid Skirts territory shit there…

        5. Being generous I see.

          Most are nothing but mini-fascists.

      2. Come and get me fuckboy.

        1. Thank you for your inane, vapid, potty-mouthed and meaningless, insulting post, as usual!

          1. I look forward to discovery bitch.

            1. Well, I have decided to forego serving you with papers. I am awaiting YOU serving ME with papers, for our upcoming lawsuit showdown!!!

              Well, now let it be know who “the real me” is, see below… WHO is “SQRLSY One”, in reality? NOW ye will KNOW, dammit!

              I’m a sporting sort of fella, I will not try and dodge you, as you try to serve me my papers for the upcoming lawsuit silly-lottery of random outcomes. Here below is where ye may “serve me my papers”:

              Satan J. Trump
              1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
              Washington, D.C. 20500

              Bring it ON, you mo-fo yew!!!!

    3. “The Black Hebrew Israelites are honorary Reason commentators.”

      They haven’t been been given full time positions yet?

      1. Honestly, I bet they’re more “woke” on certain issues than the Reason writers are.

        The guys who write here are TERRIFIED of discussing truly controversial topics. LOTS of facts in the world are very un politically correct. They’re highly offensive to certain groups, be they racial, religious, nations, whatever. They won’t touch any of that shit with a 10 foot pole. I bet those dudes know a lot about certain non-PC topics that they have a hard on about.

        1. They would be fun.

          I lived in Manhattan a few years. These guys would show up at Times Square in extras costumes from Conan the Barbarian and get people all riled up with their sidewalk preaching.

          Good times.

          It would be helpful for Reason to expand their discussions beyond the usual tired premises and actually discuss fundamentals for a change.

          But cocktail party invites would plummet.

          1. Yup. There are LOTS of things that could be discussed that are relevant, controversial, but not TOO controversial.

  2. I don’t know. Between attempted state regulation and attempted civil litigation, I’ll usually take that latter, even if it ultimately fails. The other option I guess if for offending parties to be deplatformed or unpersoned. Or we can keep going on with corporate news producers carelessly damaging the lives of the unwashed until no one willingly consumes their product anymore.

    1. There is another option where you threaten civil litigation and potential ruin for unfair and biased reporting and let 12 angry citizens and a judge decide whether outright ruin or effectively trivial fining, or even complete dismissal, of the case is the best option.

      The idea that people should never sue media companies for libel is just as threatening to reason and liberty as the notion that they should be sued into oblivion at the drop of a hat.

      1. “sue media companies”

        It shouldn’t be allowed to sue our betters. Or suggest that they #LearnToCode.

      2. Yup. $250 mil is excessive… But somewhere in the hundreds of thousands, or a million even or whatever, I dunno. These things have a way of hanging over people and REALLY ruining their life in this day and age. Any college this kid applies to will look him up, if they don’t just remember his name/face off hand, and say “NOPE. He ain’t gettin’ in here!” As will jobs etc.

        That is a REAL damage this guy will suffer, because WaPo was willfully negligent, as per usual with politically motivated reporting.

        1. 250 mil is not excessive for the strategic racebaiting the Left engages in.
          It is societal cancer.

      3. “But here’s the problem: Phillips’ statements, as quoted in The Post, are mostly of the opinion variety, and statements of opinion cannot be deemed libelous.”

        The problem I see, is the Post CHOSE to not contact Sandman and get his side of the story. That’s not journalism, that’s propaganda, and malicious. If I was Bezos and wanted to further leftist propaganda, all I’d have to do is publish allegations (often from anonymous sources, often false, or just made up) against my political enemies, and call it news.

        Question: is it journalism to publish that “You can keep your plan” without checking out the facts of Obama’s saying it many times (not the fact that he said it, but whether the language of the law that no one read and which Pelosi said would have to be passed so we’d find out what’s in it, allowed one to keep their plan), was it malicious to people who believed it to be true and didn’t get to keep their plan, and/or was it malicious to those who didn’t believe Obama and who were right they couldn’t keep their plan? I’d say it’s not journalism, and it was malicious to everyone except Obama and the Democrats pushing the plan. People who believed they could keep their plan got screwed, and those who didn’t believe Obama were disparaged by the media for not believing the biased media.

  3. …and I would rather live in a country where the media is too aggressive toward the powerful, rather than not enough. Even if the Covington case goes to trial and ends up deservedly holding the media to account for turning an innocent teenager into a national object of hatred, I worry such an outcome could set an alarming precedent.

    Um, how does holding the media to account for hurting AN INNOCENT TEENAGER (and private citizen), have anything to do with setting a precedent about holding public officials accountable?? Seriously, who the fuck are the powerful in this story? The Washington Post is a hell of a lot more powerful than 1 fucking teenager, who literally did NOTHING that would warrant arguing that he is a public figure.

    1. The logic behind NYT v. Sullivan was that public figures basically assume the risk of being slandered by putting themselves into the public eye. I don’t agree with that logic but it is not unreasonable. Now, Robby would have us throw even that out the window and say everyone by simply existing assumes the risk of the media slandering them leaving them no avenue for compensation.

      1. I keep hearing this bit about how much harder it is to sue for libel and slander by “public figures” which ignores the fact that this kid wasn’t a public figure until he was libeled and slandered by the media. The sole reason he’s a public figure is because the media made him one – the media claiming that he’s fair game since he’s a public figure smacks of the guy accused of murdering his parents pleading for mercy based on the fact that he’s an orphan.

        1. the media claiming that he’s fair game since he’s a public figure smacks of the guy accused of murdering his parents pleading for mercy based on the fact that he’s an orphan.

          That is exactly what it is.

          1. And yet it has worked – NBC successfully defended themselves after libeling George Zimmerman partially by claiming that Zimmerman was a public figure, because NBC had decided to report on him.

            1. I’m surprised more people don’t bring up Zimmerman, since that case established that NBC can say whatever they want about whomever they want without any repercussions whatsoever. They get to decide who is a public figure, and if someone is a public figure they get off scott free if they happen to get caught literally fabricating a story.

              It’s a great deal for outlets like NBC but a terrible deal for pretty much everyone else in the country.

              Sure, Zimmerman was a shit head in retrospect but last I checked being a shithead doesn’t mean everyone is allowed to outright lie and slander you on a national stage.

              1. “When we slander you, you’re a public figure and you’ll take it and like it.”

              2. When the media can slander people like Zimmerman and Sandmann, that’s great for the political class, and lousy for the country. If they’ll do this to a decent kid, or a guy who patrols the neighborhood for free, to further their political memes, they’ll do it to you if you oppose them.

                IMHO, it was malicious to publish this story about Sandmann, without getting his side of the story. That was a deliberate choice. The media has essentially been advertising for fake stories to publish, e.g., by not revealing their anonymous sources who’ve been proven to be liars. They obviously did not critically think about the evidence presented to them. Just how likely would you find people walking around Chicago at 2 AM with MAGA hats, bleach and a prepared noose looking for black homosexuals to attack, and that they’d call Chicago MAGA country? But you know they’d not believe any conservative claiming hate from the left, nor bother reporting on actual violence against Trump supporters simply because they supported Trump.

                I say, leave it up to the jury, and I hope Sandman gets the full $250,000,000.

            2. The news media drumbeat of hate for George Zimmerman and the jury who acquitted him on self-defense grounds cannot possibly be held responsible for the attempted murder of George Zimmerman by Michael Apperson or the threats and hatred the jurors received. The press have the same right as lawyers and Congressmen to lie, defame, and libel with impunity and no consequences.Maybe if there were consequences, there would be more fact-checking and less passing of surmise and opinion as fact.

            3. Zimmerman wasn’t a public figure because of NBC’s coverage, but because he led a campaign to have the son of a police officer held accountable for assaulting a black homeless man.

              As you can see, Zimmerman is plainly a racist SOB /s

              The decision was still bullshit; editing the 911 call to remove critical context clearly demonstrated actual malice.

          2. “Professor, would you say it’s time for,our viewers to grab torches and pitchforks to hunt down and butcher members of the media”

            “Yes I would Kent”

        2. Yeah, the line I keep hearing is that he attended a protest that generated press. By that standard, every politically engaged citizen is a public figure.

          1. If the Covington kids are deemed public figures, even limited public figures then nobody is a private individual anymore.

            We can do away with libel law so long as we bring back Code Duello.

            1. YES.

              Honestly, they never should have outlawed dueling. IMO it is a right that every adult should have. It’s not like you could just murder somebody who declined the duel… But that person had to accept the ridicule as a coward they brought on themself. It’s a perfectly legit system IMO.

              1. So many people I want to duel.

          2. He did not even attend a protest. He, and the rest of the students were waiting for the bus to take them to the next “educational” stop. They were not there to attend the protest, the protest happened to be in the same general location.

            So indeed, any citizen who visits a public site is a public figure if someone has chosen that day to stage a protest. A little bit like the hecklers veto isn’t it!

            1. The irony is that the WaPO and other news outlets had very little interest in the actual protest and indeed many of them did not cover the protest at all. They only became interested when they could report on a story which suited their bias narrative and then completely neglected to act like reporters. They did not even bother to take the time to watch the whole video and took the edited version as their entire source of information. Neither did they bother to reach out to any of the kids to obtain their side of the story.
              In doing so the WaPo and other became opinion outlets and ceased being news outlets. This alone should leave them open to false representation.

    2. “I worry such an outcome could set an alarming precedent.”

      That alarming precedent being, when you are reporting on private individuals – and especially minor private individuals – get your facts squared away before you say anything that would be harmful to the subjects.

      IOW

      Act responsible, or be held responsible.

      OTOH, I could see how journalists might find that problematic.

      1. Journalists will not find this problematic; partisan political hacks will find this problematic.

        Journalists will proceed with due diligence, and find two or more named, verifiable, reliable sources for the facts presented. And they will know that another media outlet is NOT a reliable source, only individuals actually present at an event are.
        Everything else is opinion, and should be labeled as such.

        1. Your distinction is semantically and reasonably valid. but it has the disadvantage of not accurately reflecting the reality that is the current state of journalism.


        2. Journalists will not find this problematic; partisan political hacks will find this problematic.

          But you repeat yourself…

          The biggest problem in American journalism is that people don’t go into journalism to report facts or anything like that. They go into journalism to ‘change the world’ and be advocates. No, seriously, I actually have a degree in journalism and what I saw in the American journalism programs was terrifying. Thank god I didn’t base my career on being a journalist.

          Amusingly, Reason as a publication exists to be advocates and yet somehow they are blind to it in other publications. I’m not saying advocate journalism is necessarily a bad thing, in fact it can be helpful. The problem is when you pretend that you’re not an advocate outlet (CNN, WaPo, HuffPo, Slate, etc.). Please note that Reason is actually ahead of the pack in that regard, as they absolutely acknowledge that they are not a ‘news’ outlet. That’s a good thing.

          1. The biggest problem in American journalism is that people don’t go into journalism to report facts or anything like that. They go into journalism to ‘change the world’ and be advocates. No, seriously, I actually have a degree in journalism and what I saw in the American journalism programs was terrifying.

            This is dead-on accurate. Journalists make a big show about “looking out for your interests,” but read their social media accounts, and they make it clear with every tweet that they are fully invested in using their profession in the service of their political ideology. They don’t even bother to try and be objective or to gather all the facts before going off half-cocked.

            They don’t try to hide it. They openly and proudly act as de facto shills for leftism. So why should we take anything they have to say seriously?

          2. We have had over half-a-century to my knowledge of blatant Advocacy Journalism as THE standard mode of operation. Thought as such at university.

            1. I’d go so far as to say that there has never been a time in history, modern or otherwise, where there was a type of press that was not also advocacy journalism.

              You get noteworthy stories here or there that turn out to be excellent journalism, but those are generally the exception rather than the rule in my view. (Don’t even get me started on the irony of the Pulitzer Prize, considering who Pulitzer was and how he practiced journalism.)

              Of particular note is the Whitewater story that put WaPo on the map, which was a story that literally fell into the laps of two morons who became famous for parroting the words of an unknown leaker who, lucky for them, happened to be telling the truth.

              Thus, good journalism is virtually indistinguishable from sheer luck. The fact Woodward is famous at all is infinitely amusing to me.

              1. It was not Whitewater, it was WATERGATE! LOL

                Whitewater was yet another one of the “no need to look here” Hillary Clinton Scandals.

                1. Doh, thanks for the catch!

              2. “…(Don’t even get me started on the irony of the Pulitzer Prize, considering who Pulitzer was and how he practiced journalism.)…”

                Or that Walter Duranty got and kept his prize. Almost as appropriate as the Nobel Peace Prize for that lying POS who started two or three more wars.

        3. “Journalists will proceed with due diligence, and find two or more named, verifiable, reliable sources for the facts presented.”

          That used to be the standard and before the digital age it was a reasonable one. But I don’t think it functions anymore. The problem is perception, not facts or opinions. The Covington situation makes that clear. If all one saw was the abridged version then Sandmann appeared the aggressor. The long version on the other hand proves otherwise.

          WaPo is not liable for having displayed/opined on the abridged version. Their error and the reason for the suit is that they delayed in taking corrective action.

          That being said, the suit I wish to see is the one brought against Bill Maher. He has yet to repudiate his original stand on the whole affair. Maybe a bid for $500m might be in order, eh.

      2. The 1st Amendment was written for a time when it took 3 weeks to get to the scene of a story and another month to print it. It has no place in this modern world where recklessly breaking a story the moment it happens is more important than getting the facts right.

        (Hey, the argument works for gun control, right?)

        1. The 1st Amendment no more gives someone the right to slander you than the 2nd Amendment gives them the right to shoot you.

          1. Well Said!

      3. “Act responsible, or be held responsible.”

        Catchy!

      4. I would not mind so much if the proof wasn’t available so quickly and just ignored. Tim Pool a Youtube news show, said that he didn’t cover the story initially since there was essentially no story to talk about (later, he expressed confusion about why everyone latched onto a non-story so rapidly). After receiving information about it, he quickly found the incident, which had been livestreamed in its entirety, with several hours of surrounding footage. Full context was readily available from not just day one, but instantly. Journalists should be drooling over having such thorough documentation at their fingertips. However, they did not do this basic check.

        This is the problem that should be punished. There was mass, willful negligence of the most basic of journalistic standards that knowingly and predictably resulted in these children receiving death threats and being shamed internationally.

    3. This. This *1000. Soave has exposed himself as an apologist for the slime.

    4. Calling him “innocent” is a bit much. But I suppose it’s much too nuanced to suggest that all parties didn’t act exactly appropriately. Best to try and be black and white about it all and apparently this kid is just the sweetest little angel.

      1. “Calling him “innocent” is a bit much.”
        Bullshit

        “But I suppose it’s much too nuanced to suggest that all parties didn’t act exactly appropriately. Best to try and be black and white about it all and apparently this kid is just the sweetest little angel.”
        Do you always apologize for scummy behavior, or did you just decide to do it this time?

      2. The kid did exactly nothing wrong. “innocent” is the only appropriate word. There is no nuance in the world which can make privileged smirking inappropriate.

  4. “But a media environment where people could easily sue writers for getting things wrong would be a nightmare for anyone?including conservative writers and media personalities?who would like to hold a powerful person or entity accountable.”

    Ok, fine. Let’s accept your premise. So what is the answer? How do you hold an industry full of partisan hacks accountable? You can’t make them be more accurate, because they don’t give a shit about accuracy, but how do you make them stop doing harm to innocent people?

    1. It takes some serious mental gymnastics for a “libertarian” to decide that a group of elites should be immunized from scrutiny.

      1. Robnby been in the green room one too many times now. He doesn’t want to give it up.

      2. Not really. Just needs an extreme free speech absolutist.

        I’m not totally opposed to libel suits being a thing. But I think you need to be very careful about how it can be applied. There is a very real danger of chilling free expression.

        1. Conservatives have always been enemies of free speech. Nothing has changed. Except that the so-called liberals have now joined them in their hate of free speech.

          1. Lefties have always been against free speech.

            Only propaganda outlets survived in Nazi Germany, the USSR, and Communist China.

          2. I mean sure, conservatives argued that filming 18 year old girls getting gang banged by a bunch of dudes old enough to be her father and calling it art and speech wasn’t cool… Fair enough. But when have conservatives actually tried to BAD just regular old speech, in its written or spoken form in America?

            They sure as shit bagged on people for their speech. Like dirty commies and smelly hippies and stuff. But they never tried to pass laws forbidding their speech. The closest that pops into my head is GWB and his free speech zones, but that was a Uniparty move, not just the Rs doing it.

        2. Real libertarians don’t believe in libel laws. Walter Block has written extensively on this.

          1. When did Walter block become the one true prophet of libertarianism? It turns out that libertarians bicker a lot. Read more books.

            1. Libertarians know that we don’t want criminal defamation and if we do have defamation laws that they be civil courts and limited to not chill speech.

          2. “Real Libertarians” by all accounts will bitch about bread lines while standing in them

            You’ll never fight for shit, your existence is dependent on the rest of us fighting for your rights. You talk the talk, but will never walk the walk.

            You sit on your high horse while billionaires fund newspapers that attack children. I’ll stand up for what’s right.

          3. “Real libertarians don’t believe in libel laws”

            Bullshit. Libel laws exist for good reason. It just doesn’t fit in with your anarchist worldview.

        3. To the extent that is could limit statements of opinion you are correct.

          To the extent that it applies sanctions for presenting harmful falsehoods as facts you are not.

          The first rule of libertarianism is that you are responsible for you. What you do – in word or deed – is first and foremost on you.

          1. Unless the “harmful falsehood” causes direct damage to person or property, it is not a NAP violation. Damage to reputation doesn’t count. Reputation is what other people think about you. You do not have a claim to that.

            1. So, in Libertopia I could publish a story about how a local restaurant is serving rat instead of chicken and it would totally be ok even if it happened to be entirely false. The reason is because it didn’t actually physically hurt anyone. Right?

              1. That’s correct.

                1. Well, we can add that to the list of reasons why libertarianism in all forms fails to break 5% in any vote that matters then.

                  1. Yes, most people don’t like liberty and all its implications. We already knew that.

                    1. Yes, most people don’t like liberty and all its implications. We already knew that.

                      Admitting that your outlook is just as utopian in nature as the communists’ isn’t the best way to promote it as something that human society should adopt.

                2. Chipper needs to go into the chipper if he thinks libertarian principles support his serving rat and calling it chicken.
                  I have had my chicken purchased stolen and rat has been substituted. I have been defrauded and cheated! You do not have to be a very good libertarian to know this is wrong and NOT OK as a libertarian principle.
                  Likewise a false story could destroy the firm and cause great harm, so someone is hurt. Libertarian principles apply to all types of actual harm, not just physical.
                  How can you be so wrong???

            2. When people stop or refuse to do business with you, or decline your application for employment or study, based upon what someone else has falsely told them then the harm is not merely reputational.

              1. Think long and hard about what you are promoting. People and businesses have no obligation to employ you or to do business with you. I bet you were on here defending bakers refusing to bake a cake for gay couples, so hopefully you understand that sentiment.

                1. It’s odd, because in my view if it was entirely legal to slander someone or a business in that way it would seem that contract law itself would be invalidated since technically I’m not physically hurting someone.

                  Personally, I think you have far too limited of a definition of ‘harm’. There’s a danger in that, just as there’s a danger in defining harm too expansively.

                2. “People and businesses have no obligation to employ you or to do business with you. ”

                  And I never said they did. so, cool strawman bro.

                  Trying to pigeon hole uttered falsehoods in with issues involving expressed facts or compelled speech is weak, weak weak.

                  1. And, just to be perfectly clear, there is a substantial difference when X refuses to do business with Y because Z told X that Y is a racist, as compared to the situation when X refuses to do business with Y because Y said something that made X think Y is a racist.

            3. I think you absolutely have a claim to your reputation. Do businesses have a claim to their brand? After all it is just what other people think of them. What if the Post reported as truth that Coca Cola was putting cocaine in its drinks again. And the resulting outrage costs Coke millions in sales. You don’t think that is an actionable harm? I do. It is the same way with a person. I go out and say Chipper likes to screw sheep. As a result people don’t want to hire you for jobs or have anything to do with you personally. That absolutely should be actionable on your part.

              1. Do businesses have a claim to their brand?

                Are you talking about trademarks? Representing yourself as another brand is fraud, because you are lying about what you are selling. See the title-transfer theory of contracts.

                Putting out a false news bulletin about a competitor is free speech. It is up to the marketplace to sort out the truth. If people care about such things, the liar will be punished in the marketplace.

                Do you see the difference? No, you do not have a claim to your reputation.

                1. You just said that lying is ok. What makes it bad in one situation, but absolutely ok in the other?

                  1. You just said that lying is ok. What makes it bad in one situation, but absolutely ok in the other?

                    One involves the transfer of property.

                    1. So what. The property is transfered I didn’t sell you the fake handbag and then give you an empty box. Nope you got the fake man purse but were misinterpreted what it was I was selling. What harm was done to you. You left more store with a handbag.

                2. This is a perfect example of sophistry being a bad tactic to use when you are 105 IQ tops.

                  There is absolutely no difference between these two cases. It is up to the market to distinguish the real silk Herm?s ties from my fake rayon ties. I’m not lying about what I’m selling you just falsely reacted to the information you were provided. I just put the ties in an orange box and talked about how exquisite of silk Herm?s ties have. Dumbo here just didn’t sift through the facts enough.

                3. Are you talking about trademarks? Representing yourself as another brand is fraud, because you are lying about what you are selling. See the title-transfer theory of contracts.

                  Putting out a false news bulletin about a competitor is free speech. It is up to the marketplace to sort out the truth. If people care about such things, the liar will be punished in the marketplace.

                  Do you see the difference? No, you do not have a claim to your reputation.

                  So if I open a restaurant and claim to serve chicken when in reality I’m serving rat, I’m committing fraud and would break a law in Libertopia.

                  If I intentionally say someone else’s restaurant serves rat when it actually serves chicken with the intent that the business goes under, it’s totes cool bruh ‘cuz free speech?

                4. You get dumber with each attempt

              2. John, look at how libel laws have been used historically. Guess what, they aren’t primarily used to keep the press in check. They are used to suppress free speech of private citizens.

                1. No. They primarily used to hold people accountable for lies that do damage. Do tort laws keep our freedom of movement in check? That is the same logic you are using. Just because you have a right to free speech doesn’t give you the right to slander people.

                  I am not talking about trademarks. I am talking about lying about a company causing it to lose business. You don’t think that is a wrongful act and something the company should be able seek recompense for? Why not?

                  1. Is it illegal to lie? No. Is it “wrong”? By most counts, yes. Can it bring tangible harm indirectly to someone? Sure it can. But so can other “wrong,” yet legal actions.
                    Say I own a store and you own a store. I lower my price of sugar to $0.01 a pound to drive you out of business. Most people would see it as wrong, but not illegal (I own my store and my property).
                    I don’t see how you can criminalize indirect damage (even if one is lying). I am a bit more extreme, I don’t see how you can criminalize anything except a direct, harmful physical action, but that’s neither here nor there.
                    Criminalizing the causation of indirect harm via an otherwise legal action is very dangerous, and I don’t see how it can be a libertarian position.

                    1. That is not the same thing at all because to counter the other shop can then lower their prises and even undercut.
                      Now, if the first shop put out a story saying the other shop was putting cocaine in their sugar to damage their sales of sugar, then that would be completely different.
                      The first option involves free market competition and is actually common place.
                      The other is a blatant lie designed to steer customers to their own shop at the determent to the other shop. Are you saying that spreading such lies cannot be punished under any law in the U.S.
                      I call ‘false’ on that claim

                    2. So you would be ok with having no legal recourse if your local paper and news outlets started running regular news stories about how you’re a pedophile and serial rapist?

                2. So wait, your argument got completely shot down and you just ignore it?

                  You’re fucking trash CMB.

                  1. Says the original source of fucking trash in these comments here…

                    1. Sqrlsy, you’re not one to talk.

                  2. Tulpa! Stopping pointing out true things!

                3. Quick cmw, move the goalposts more. Your argument broken down to base premises was destroyed and pissed on.

                4. “John, look at how libel laws have been used historically. Guess what, they aren’t primarily used to keep the press in check. They are used to suppress free speech of private citizens.”

                  Thank you for an assertion.

              3. I hope this kid bankrupts WaPo and takes a nice chunk out of Bezo’s hide. Fuck the MSM, they are communist propagandists and enemies of the republic.

                1. +100 LoS

            4. Chipper Morning Wood|2.21.19 @ 1:14PM|#
              “Unless the “harmful falsehood” causes direct damage to person or property, it is not a NAP violation. Damage to reputation doesn’t count. Reputation is what other people think about you. You do not have a claim to that.”
              Thank you for your opinion.

              1. And he’s totally wrong. Even in accounting there is the value concept of goodwill. It may not be tangible, but it’s real. Twitter also may be damaged by irresponsible and malicious public statements

        4. So this is actually pretty easy.

          The WaPo LIED to slander a innocent teenager in order to serve a political agenda.

          They had access to the entire video and therefore PURPOSELY slandered the teenager.

          Mr. Bezo will settle this case with a big check and a non-disclosure agreement.

          Robby continues to be a progressive hack. (no news here)

      3. But they’re better than we are!

  5. The media has an duty to run its business in a way that does not harm others in the same way every other business does. It is not strict liability but the Post has a duty of care to ensure what it prints is true and not slandering people. It should not be allowed to just print anything anyone says without any regard for its truth.

    Robby and all of the media want to set themselves up as some kind of Pretorian guard that is above the normal duties of care that every other business and individual is subject to. And that is just bullshit. And it is not good for the media either. Why is the media so bad and so distrusted? Mostly because it gets caught lying all of the time. And the reason why it lies so much is that thanks to NYT v. Sullivan, they are almost never held accountable for lying and in fact have every financial incentive to do so if it sells papers.

    1. I would argue that a news source has a responsibility to due a reasonable amount of diligence on anystory it prints. The Media have gotten of the habit and need to be reminded.

      1. ABsolutely. They have a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure something is true before its printed. It is no different than telling a construction company they have to take reasonable steps to ensure they drop debris on people’s heads who happen to walk by their construction sites.

        1. We know that you meant to add: Don’t drop debris.

          Its extra funny though because the MSM is dropping shit on people all the time.

        2. Do you see any allegations that support the proposition that the Post’s statements constitute defamation, per se?

          Do any of the Post’s statements claim that the kid has or engaged:

          (1) sexual deviancy;

          (2) communicable diseases;

          (3) in criminal behavior;

          (4) in conduct that calls into question the integrity of his business or his ability to function in a particular occupation.

          Of course, a statement does not have to be defamatory, per se, in order to be actionable. No doubt, many of the subject statements would be deemed to be defamatory by a considerable segment of the community.

          Also, many of the statements, from the perspective of a progressive nut-job, are defamatory, per se. For some examples:

          (1) wearing a MAGA hat;

          (2) being white and smirking at a native American;

          (3) being white and making a tomahawk motion in the presence of, or at, a native American;

          (4) being white and confronting a native American;

          (5) attending a pro-life march

          1. #4. Being an aggressive racist will disqualify you from most job positions. Whether he was racist is a matter of opinion, but whether he was aggressive was not.

          2. The slander is where they say the harrassed the activists and yelled racial slurs. That is without question damaging to a person’s reputation in today’s society. And it is also an objective statement of fact. They either did or did not do those things. So, I think that makes it actionable slander.

            1. This. The WaPo and plenty of others clearly represented the students as the instigators of the confrontation.

            2. In my view, yes, the Post libeled the kid.

              My question, is it defamatory, per se?

              On the one hand, most in our society would consider being falsely accused as being a racist to be defamatory, per se. OTOH, the word racist has lost most, if not all, of its punch due to its constant overuse, and, therefore, a false allegation of racism may be defamatory, but, not automatically so.

              Additionally, for a considerable and respectable segment of the community, being called a racist is no slur at all.

              1. The court and a jury in Kentucky are pretty likely to award the kid a lot of money. Bezo will settle.

              2. If the Post reported that Sandmann restricted Phillips’ movement, that could be construed as an accusation of false imprisonment, a crime.

          3. #SmilingWhileWhite

          4. (7) being white

            1. Being a white Christian, presumably straight make, and committing the unpardonable sins of being against infanticide and not being ash,and of any of the above.

              1. The sin was refusing to know his place vis a vis a POC.

                Whites are supposed to get out of the way and avert their eyes from their racial betters.

                #SmilingWhileWhite

          5. #4. Statements made by the Washington Post will certainly affect his ability to get into any prestigious university or find future employment, especially considering how ‘progressive’ the universities in America are.

  6. Recall that Rolling Stone lost a series of libel lawsuits relating to the University of Virginia rape hoax article even though author Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s false assertions were supplied by her erroneous source, “Jackie.”

    Why is Reason still refusing to identify her? Traditionally, media have declined to identify victims of sexual assault, but
    she’s not a rape victim. We know now they’re wasn’t even a rape. So what gives?

    1. You mean Jackie Coakely, the lying attention whore who made that shit up in hopes of getting a dude who was way out of her league?

      -jcr

    2. Traditionally, media have declined to identify victims of sexual assault, but she’s not a rape victim. We know now they’re wasn’t even a rape. So what gives?

      Jackie is her stage name. If he’d said “Mrs. Erdely and Ms. Coakley’s deception.” nobody would know who he’s talking about.

    3. Erdely was specifically looking for a case to embarrass the university administration over for not taking sexual assault seriously enough. Erdely was planning a propaganda piece from the start and was willing to be overly credulous on the basis the narrative she wanted to write, which was that scepticism about the claims of alleged victims is inherently bad.

      1. Waiting for her interview with Jussie.

    4. “Why is Reason still refusing to identify her? ”

      male privilege

  7. Remind me again why we don’t want the media to be reticent to publish unconfirmed negative articles about high school kids. Because I only remember the part where you talked about the reasons we don’t want that result when publishing about presidents. Also, I’m tired of people talking about the media in these cases as if they are a superior class that deserves special consideration when lying about people. And who determines what is media?

    1. It is just too much to expect the media to tell the truth. That seems to be Robby’s position here.

      1. A lot of evidence seems to support that contention at the moment.

        1. True that Zeb.

        2. To be sure.

  8. What makes something “media”?

    If it’s living up to some sort of standard, then Sandmann isn’t suing media.

    1. No, “media” has nothing to do with any kind of standard or quality. It’s just information distributed by some medium.

      1. Like porn, “you know it when you see it”

  9. Yeah! That kid should go fuck off and let them get away with it! Right, Robby?

    1. “He was obviously asking for it by dressing as provocatively as he did.”

  10. I think it’s hilarious that these people are being sued. They’re no better than that Empire actor.

    1. Well, they’re almost certainly not as stupid as the actor. He paid them with a check. A CHECK.

    2. This is indicative of a far deeper problem. Something must be done about the progressive problem in the US. Or it only gets worse.

      Seriously, how much more are we going to take?

      1. You know who else had more than he could take?

        1. Jim Morrison?

        2. By the look of those Nigerian beefcakes, I’m actually going to say Jussie Smollett, and twice. Or at least at each end.

  11. So apart from the one thing you think is a pretty good case for libel, he has no case?

    1. Did you read that you are going to be sued for $250 million?

      1. I did. I don’t know the guy threatening me, but I obviously trigger him.

        It’s kind of sad that he allows his mental health to degrade to the point where he is threatining people on the internet.

        1. Said the original source of the “new meme”, which is to take therapy from one’s own head voices and vices… Number one vice being egomania…

  12. If you don’t want to get slandered like a thug…

  13. What a snowflake that kid turned out to be.

    Of course it’s understandable what with him living through being almost eaten by a T-rex, getting stuck in a car in a tree, being electrocuted, and being hunted by velociraptors, all in the same weekend.

      1. Stay assy, ass-holey, Tulpoopy!

        1. Having lurked here for ages, SQRLS, I humbly suggest that unprovoked ad hominem falls short of the level your posts usually attain. Perhaps I am missing something.

    1. But you’d still suck his dick.

      1. The reason people wear MAGA hats is because they don’t get their dick sucked enough, and they blame Mexicans.

        1. Quit pestering people wearing MAGA hats to suck their dick. Stick to Mexicans.

          1. It’s really not a competition. I take all comers.

            1. Don’t you mean cumers?

            2. of that, no one has any doubt…

      2. Suck his dick? Tony is probably wishing he’d plowed this kids asshole……..four years ago when he was really ripe for the picking.

        Tony is a chickenhawk predator, and based on recent admissions, a probable necrophile.

    2. You left off that kid will be rich soon.

      Whether a jury awards this kid bags of cash or a settlement is reached, the lawyers that took this case are gonna fuck the WaPo up.

      Discovery alone is gonna expose some serious skeletons.

      1. They will fight hard to get the case dismissed prior to discovery and, failing that, settle.

        1. As I said, Bezo will write a check to get a non-disclosure agreement. No way is this going to court.

          1. “As I said, Bezo will write a check to get a non-disclosure agreement.”

            He might have to clear that with his wife, and she may not be in a cooperative mood.

          2. I have a feeling that this will not be settled. I strongly suspect that the case is as much about principle than money. The fact that these boys were wearing MAGA hats tells me that they will use this case to make a stand against the corrupt, bias media. The WaPo is just the first on the list. If these boys win this in court, it will set a precedent giving them the high likelihood that they will win every other case.
            The evidence is overwhelming. Absolutely nobody can be in any doubt that the WaPo are guilty as hell. They made numerous accusations against the boys because they rushed to print without once checking the truth, including asking the boys themselves for their version of the story. It was the most disgusting case of character assassination I have ever seen. The press in America are out of control and must be made to understand that printing such outrageous lies is unacceptable

            1. Indeed. And knowing what I do about his attorney, I suspect they may refuse to settle and insist on a jury verdict.

      2. I listen to Mark Levine a bit. In addition to being a radio host, he’s also a lawyer. He regularly attempts baits scumbag progtard organizations into suing him. Stating discovery can be a real bitch for these kinds of subversives.

    3. How dare that kid not let animals like you ruin his life. You really are not a sockpuppet because even the most inventive troll could never fake just how awful you actually are.

      1. Skeletons? Animals? Is my very funny joke being acknowledged, or are you just randomly intersecting with it during your morning 5 minutes butthurt?

        1. * checks the intersectionality chart.

          1. finds a strange congruency between Rev. Kirkland and Tony…how to describe it in a family environment hmmmm, locked together like two dogs fucking?

            1. Arty and Tony probably like fucking dogs.

              1. But just shih-tsus

            2. I don’t think the attendants on the ward will let them go to the common area together.

        2. Imagine being old and lame enough to claim your own joke is funny. Never change boomers.

          1. I am a Millennial, fuckface.

            Of all the things ever said to me on this board, this is truly the most offensive.

            1. A Millenial fuckface?

        3. The commentariat pretty much always appreciates good humor, independent of everything else.

          You’d have gotten credit if it was funny.

          1. Says the foremost proponent of humor = brainless insults!

            In days of old,
            When knights were bold,
            And toilets weren’t invented,
            We stopped by the road,
            And dropped our load,
            And walked away contented!

            The days of old are over now… We have toilets now. Please be considerate of others, and drop your loads there, instead of a nice, clean, rational web site like Reason.com!

            1. Tulpa is funnier than you are.

      2. “How dare that kid not let animals like you ruin his life. You really are not a sockpuppet because even the most inventive troll could never fake just how awful you actually are.”

        I keep thinking there is some level of assholery and dishonesty which even Tony won’t kneel to, and he keeps proving me wrong.

        1. He’s a fifty plus gay dude likely with a make work job. That’s a recipe for bitter shitness like none other.

          1. You need to stop insulting all the oldies around here by implying that being 50+ is bad, and you also need to stop insulting me by claiming that I’m 50+.

            As far as my job, it’s as useful as anyone else’s who has time to post here all day.

            1. I’m sure you’re very proud of your position as assistant gloryhole attendant at the transit authority men’s room.

        2. Tony is a soulless, otter sociopath and a progtard. They run primarily on hate and avarice.

        3. Tony is a troll who probably makes serious comments under another pseudonym; and you idiots keep feeding him.

          1. If that’s true, he’s dedicated since he’s been here for years and years. Why not reward that kind of dedication?

    4. Have you been reminded in the last five minutes according to schedule that you’re a useless retard?

    5. “What a snowflake that kid turned out to be.”

      He’s my hero.

      Finally, someone on the Right asserting their *lawful* rights against the Left, instead of cucking.

  14. Recall that Rolling Stone lost a series of libel lawsuits relating to the University of Virginia rape hoax article even though author Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s false assertions were supplied by her erroneous source,

    Just because someone tells you something does not relieve you of the duty to ensure its the truth before you repeat it to the entire world. By Robby’s logic, the media can lie all it wants to and repeat any lie no matter how damaging and outragous just so long as it is not the actual reporter making the claim. I can’t overstate how appalling that is and how worthy of scorn the media is for even claiming to want such a standard.

    1. The media wants all the perks that come with being a ‘journalist’, like White House parties, hanging with kewl Presidents like Bill Clinton and Obama, paid travel, Pulitzers, etc. but none of the responsibility that comes with being an employee of a corporation.

      Number 1 being not defaming people without the truth on your side.

    2. And Erdely made that mistake because she was behaving more like an activist than a neutral party. The premise of her story precluded treating her subject with any scepticism because she was making a political statement.

      1. Just doing her job as a paid propagandist.

        She works hard for the money. So hard for it, honey.

    3. And Erdely made that mistake because she was behaving more like an activist than a neutral party. The premise of her story precluded treating her subject with any scepticism because she was making a political statement.

    4. Especially when the “Truth” is so easy to find. They were eating up Phillips’ story two days after the story broke, when all it would take to prove him wrong was sitting and watching 2 hours worth of video that was released the same time as the clip.

      1. I love how they stated that ‘new information’ had come to light. This is an outright lie. The information was always available right from the start, it’s just that the whole video would have taken a couple more hours to watch before going to print. The WaPO was not interested in watching the video. They determined their ‘truth’ based on a very small section of the video uploaded onto facebook by an activist who with an obvious agenda. They should be sued for daring to call themselves ‘reporters’. They are little more than opinion writers, also with obvious bias. I really hope this goes all the way and the boys win their case. Something has to be done to reign in the ‘press’. They cannot be allowed to push their propaganda constantly and lying all the time. They must be shown that there are consequences for their action.

    5. It is black letter law that unprivileged republication of defamatory statements is also actionable.

      Of course, one does not want to confuse republication with the single publication rule.

  15. If Bezos really wants to fuck this kid over, he’ll give him ownership of the Washington Post.

    -jcr

    1. Nice one.

    2. Yep, gotta own a gold mine to be able to afford running that silver mine.

    3. If so, this kid should make the staff write daily puff pieces about how wonderful Trump is and how great building wall will be.

  16. Unaccountable Cops: Bad
    Unaccountable DA’s: Bad
    Unaccountable Journalists: Good
    — Reason Editorial Board.

    Thanks for clarifying that.

    1. One of those is not like the others.

      1. Yea the first two are essential for a well ordered society.

      2. Agreed. What was done by WaPo in no way could be honestly called “journalism”

      3. Only the third one is self serving.

  17. “But a media environment where people could easily sue writers for getting things wrong would be a nightmare for anyone?including conservative writers and media personalities?who would like to hold a powerful person or entity accountable.”

    The result that this statement fears could largely be avoided if reporters used one word, “alleged”, and its cognates. The investigative report could headnote the piece, “The following report is ongoing and all statements of witnesses have not been shown to be true, etc…” Is this type of statement “clunky?” It could be, but it should protect a report from “reckless indifference to the truth.” The ongoing nature of the reporting, as warned, would continually correct and/or retract.

    In the current case, the Wash Post could have avoided the lawsuit (and may still) by printing a retraction over false statements which additional video demonstrates. As a reader of initial news accounts of the confrontation, I certainly could testify to believing that Mr. Sandmann was completely at fault, and without subsequent video evidence, if given the opportunity to hire Mr. Sandmann, I would probably decline. Thus reputation harmed causally through the publication of false and defamatory statements.

    1. The Post is a victim of its own arrogance. If it had immediately and forcefully retracted its story, this kid would have a much weaker case. It is possible to be fooled by a source and print a lie without being negligent. What destroys the Post here is not just that it printed a lie, but that it refused to retract the lie even after it was clear that they had slandered someone.

      1. +100

        The media gets a magic get out lawsuit card because of retractions. WaPo took a different route and will pay for it.

        1. They are used to dealing with public figures where they can lie with impunity. This kid is a private citizen.

          1. But John, they reported on the kid and WaPo and every other outlet claims that anyone they report on is automatically a public figure because they say they are. What possible harm could arise from allowing the very person or group of people who are causing harm to decide what recourse the victims have?

            /sarc

            1. I have to review my First Amendment notes again, but I thought there was Supreme Court precedent holding that a defamatory article can’t be the source of a figure’s publicity (e.g., the Zimmerman case was wrongly decided). I am admittedly not sure about this, though.

              1. Zimmerman became a public figure prior to the Trayvon Martin fiasco; by protesting police reluctance to prosecute a black man assaulted by the son of a police officer.

    2. “…But a media environment where people could easily sue writers for getting things wrong…”

      A typical Reason strawman argument.

      Nobody is getting sued for getting something wrong. They are getting sued for the harm inflicted by getting it wrong.

      But, the argument sounds really bad once you include that bit of detail.

      1. They are getting sued for the harm inflicted by getting it wrong.

        No no.

        They are getting sued because of the recklessness of their wrongness. The Post, in this case, is like a drunk driver that got an instruction to turn left from his iPhone and thus swerved into a living room.

        We do not hold a person responsible merely because they smashed into a living room. If you are rear ended and that sends you into a patch of ice and into a living room you are not liable. If you are going too fast and hit a patch of ice you are liable, and that is negligence. If you drink heavily and drive into a living room that is recklessness. And that third example is what the Post (and the media generally) did with Covington. It went beyond negligence into recklessness.

        1. Without harm, even if reckless, there is no point in suing because you cannot recoup any damages.

          This is a civil action.

          1. And your example is a garbled mess. If you park your car in someone’s living room you are responsible, even if you are not reckless or otherwise negligent. Because it’s still your car, you were driving it, and it doesn’t belong there.

            If someone else causes the accident then causation tells you who is responsible.

            1. Lastly, nor does obtaining relief for damages sustained require recklessness.

    3. Why should “alleged” even be a get out of jail card if it is not in the headline and throughout? The better standard is to use “alleged” only in criminal cases before conviction, and when reporting non-criminal matters such as Covington you follow proscribed journalistic steps: Multiple sourcing, full investigation, etc, prior to reporting. If you follow such steps and end up being wrong, you still are protected, if you don’t bye bye.

      1. I agree with you. I wouldn’t say “alleged” is a “get out of jail free card.” What I am saying is that “alleged” in conjunction with subsequent corrective steps, if required, using accepted journalist ethics as you outline, should be enough to protect a news organization from “reckless indifference to the truth” as well as negligent publication of false and defamatory acts. My original “ongoing nature” comment presupposes the journalistic ethics you outline. I didn’t originally emphasize the connection between “alleged” and prior corrective actions.

        However, your “prior to reporting” condition is a difficult bright line to bear in our “flash-bang” culture of information dissemination. I don’t believe that type of standard, “full investigation” prior to reporting, is feasible in all situations. Some, sure, such as the WSJ reporting on Theranos by John Carreyrou. In the other fast moving situations, when information is misinformation, the follow-up corrective actions coupled with the prior “alleged” wording, should be enough, IMO.

        Also, I should add, that if any corrective follow up steps are required, the corrective should be as publicized in the same manner, with the same or similar attention grabbing headlines, as the original false information. Newsorganizations have a bad habit of correction on the last page, in the last corner with the smallest type.

  18. As much as I hate outlets like WaPo and want to punish them, you’re right. Legal remedies aren’t the best option and they set dangerous precedents. The free market will fix this, but it will take time. People could just stop paying for garbage like WaPo, but the real underlying problem is people. There are too many TDS sufferers to possibly stop financing WaPo’s blatant immoral behavior.

    1. The only reason that this kid is able to sue is because a law firm took his case even if there is no payout.

      Most defamation by the media never sees the courtroom because of Anti-SLAPP protections and other reasons to dismiss legal actions during the Summary Judgement stage of the civil court process.

      WaPo and the Lefties turned this into a huge story and they are going to find out what happens when you do that and defame people.

    2. You’re ignoring the circular nature of addiction. Supplier stokes fear, creates addiction to fear, stokes more fear to keep user around. The people who read WaPo act the way they do because they’re addicted, they can’t stop because there’s no acknowledgment of the problem. You can’t go after the end user, you have to go after the supplier.

      And for you drug warriors who love places addicts can go shoot up, I agree. We should put all progressives on a program where they can consume as much WaPo as they want, under supervision, away from the public, and not be able to vote until they get their lives together.

      1. Having read the comments over at WaPo, I would say a large portion of their readership should probably be put to death.

        1. Haha. Those people are delusion and seem to have a tenuous grasp of reality.

          Many of them still think Hillary should have won election 2016 because she got 3 million more popular votes.

          Sometimes I slip and feel sorry for them because they are retarded, then I realize many of those retards know enough to want to put me in a gulag.

          1. And while they’re in there with you they’ll blame Trump for the gulag

          2. Yes. Given the opportunity, they would gladly gang up and kill us all. Of course, the 2nd amendment, and the fact that nearly all,the people who know ho to fight and use weapons are on the other side makes that a difficult proposition for them.

  19. So we’re still pretending like the entire context, as caught on video, does not show about 50 teenagers swarming the one Indian guy, mocking his race, and acting like idiots?

    They’re teenage boys. It’s not a national crisis. But it was not, to say the least, a moment of tolerance.

    It’s almost impressive how rightwing fucktards simply make up their own reality and then start crying like little baby girls if they don’t get to grasp onto it for dear life.

    1. If only the WaPo had considered that before they defamed the kid.

      1. Did they say he wasn’t a MAGA fucktard advocating for treating women in horrifically inhuman ways?

        1. Poor Tony….He just cannot find a win for his Team.

          1. President Warren.

            Let that rest on your tongue like a fine Bordeaux.

            1. Yeah Faucohontus is going to do real well. I am sure minorities are just dying to turn out in huge numbers for an old unpleasent white woman. I mean they did for Hillary right?

              1. Indeed they did.

                It must feel somewhat disquieting to support not only a ridiculous clown of a president, but one who is in office after having lost the popular vote by 3 million. Or do you not have normal feelings?

              2. An old, unpleasant white woman who pretends to be brown to get ahead.

              3. And her voice! Who wants to listen to that annoying, lecturing tone from her for four years straight. She also sounds vaguely constipated.

            2. Elizabeth Warren is moving to France to become their Le Pr?sident?

              I don’t think the French will fall for her 1/1024 AmerIndian DNA profile either.

            3. At least we know who Tony is rooting for election 2020.

              Any guesses on who Tony wants for VP to be Warren’s running mate?

              1. Actually I’m on record as a strong supporter of Hat Stand (D) with running mate Potted Plant (D), or vice versa. But part of me wants someone who will really make your nuts retreat into your abdomen.

                1. “I usually only bitch about reality, but my gnawing resentment may spur some action someday.”

            4. Senator Below Average? The same one who’s currently polling *fourth* in *New Hampshire*? The last time anyone made a prediction that idiotic and arrogant he ended up eating a bug on video as a result.

            5. hahahahahahahahahaha…good one Tony, I always knew you had a sense of the absurd…President Warren…hahahahahahahahaha

            6. Yea Harding was the bomb. lol boomer brain fart. Take some alpha brain old timer.

            7. That’s both the funniest and truly desperate statement I’ve read all day. How sad.
              Think I’ll stick to the phrase President Trump for the next 5 years.

        2. Did someone not say that you’re a retarded human turd that’s dumber than a sack of dicks, you malignant tumor?

    2. simply make up their own reality

      So. Much. Progjection.

      1. It’s all they know.

        Psychosis is a thing

    3. If by swarm you mean the guy walked into their group got into one kid’s personal space and started beating a drum in the kid’s face because of his own bigoted assumptions about what was happening.

      1. The kid defended his weirdness by saying he had every right to stand there and act like a freaking nutjob. Nobody can explain what exactly he was doing that makes any sense for a sane person.

        But also who gives a shit. You people fixate on the most minor of things. It’s like you’re watching right-wing propaganda TV all fucking day long and don’t have the first goddamn clue what’s actually happening in the world. But nobody would possibly have any motive to distract idiots from that. Certainly not plutocrats and grifters.

        1. “Nobody can explain what exactly he was doing that makes any sense for a sane person.”

          Just standing in one place when someone confronts you is insane, I guess.

        2. Standing in place and smiling at someone confronting you is being a nutjob, by your lights? What should he have done in that situation?

          1. I legitimately can’t tell if Tony is just trolling or is so ideologically possessed that he thinks his stance is even colorably accurate.

        3. Rage rage gaychilles.

        4. You are a worthless rancid cunt of a human being.

          1. That’s just what my wife whispered into my ear. We call them “sweet nothings.”

        5. “The kid defended his weirdness by saying he had every right to stand there and act like a freaking nutjob. Nobody can explain what exactly he was doing that makes any sense for a sane person.”

          #SmilingWhileWhite is the new “getting uppity and and not knowing your place.”

    4. Tony confirms that he didn’t actually watch the video.

      1. “Tony confirms that he didn’t actually watch the video.”

        Nope.
        He confirms he’s a lying scumbag who is stupid enough to keep lying when the evidence is right there.

        1. I don’t think he’s lying.

          He’s seriously that deluded.

    5. “50 teenagers swarming the one Indian guy, mocking his race, and acting like idiots?”

      “rightwing fucktards simply make up their own reality”

      The lack of self-awareness is awe-inspiring. Bind this close-minded should require a blindfold and earplugs.

    6. You are a disingenuous lying fuck. Those kids did not swarm Chief Banging Drum, he walked into the middle of the kids. But you already knew that from watching the video, didn’t you?

    7. So we’re still pretending like the entire context, as caught on video, does not show about 50 teenagers swarming the one Indian guy, mocking his race, and acting like idiots?

      Oops. You let the parody mask slip too far.

    8. “does not show about 50 teenagers swarming the one Indian guy, mocking his race, and acting like idiots”

      It doesn’t because it didn’t happen. You stupid piece of shit.

      Just kill yourself.

    9. Tony, you mendacious cunt. Are you trying for a job at the WaPo?

      The video shows very plainly that the kids didn’t swarm the guilt-peddling drum beater, he pushed his way INTO THEM.

      -jcr

    10. Obvious troll is obvious.

      1. Tony is a true believer.
        He actually seems to be somewhat witty and fairly intelligent, certainly more so than chipper morning eunuch (though that is a low, low bar).
        I like Tony – he’s a shameless and utterly progressive (but I repeat myself), but still possesses some sense of humor.
        He’s like a jovial clown. Quite amusing, and enlightening for any who aren’t yet aware of the obvious nature of progressivism.
        However, he’s only amusing as long as he remains powerless.

    11. No, you’re still pretending that it DID show that. When the idiot guy walked up to the teenagers.

    12. “So we’re still pretending like the entire context, as caught on video, does not show about 50 teenagers swarming the one Indian guy, mocking his race, and acting like idiots?”

      And people say TDS isn’t a real public mental health crisis.

      “It’s almost impressive how rightwing fucktards simply make up their own reality and then start crying like little baby girls if they don’t get to grasp onto it for dear life.”

      The Left always projects their hatreds and crimes on the Right.
      Every accusation from a Leftist is a confession.

  20. “I want free speech to be as robust and unfettered as possible, and I would rather live in a country where the media is too aggressive toward the powerful, rather than not enough. Even if the Covington case goes to trial and ends up deservedly holding the media to account for turning an innocent teenager into a national object of hatred, I worry such an outcome could set an alarming precedent.”

    Wow. “When the media was falling over itself to demonize an innocent teenager they were just doing their job but now that there’s just a chance that a portion of them will be held accountable, I’m worried that things will get out of hand.”

    I’m pretty sure the reason why the media is more hated than Congress is because no one in Congress would be stupid enough to say this out loud. OK, almost no one.

    1. We can’t hold people accountable for their actions because doing so sets a bad precident. Since when does Libertarian mean not holding people accountable for their actions?

      1. The huge upside to this lawsuit will be the tiny pause media types will take, for awhile, before printing lies.

        1. Dueling should be brought back. If journalists had to risk harm or even death formtheir slander, things would change.

          1. I love that idea. It would sure make Twitter a lot more civilized.

          2. Being an entirely voluntary arrangement; dueling has earned the official ‘Libertarian Seal of Approval’ (TM).

          3. Does slapping count as dueling?

            1. I’ll allow it, provided both parties agree that is the form the duel shall take

    2. “I want free speech to be as robust and unfettered as possible, and I would rather live in a country where the media is too aggressive toward the powerful, rather than not enough….”

      And those kids certainly represented “power”, didn’t they?

      1. “White males hold all power”

  21. So asking a news organization to be right rather than fast in their reporting is asking too much of them? Doing basic research and getting the other side of a story before publishing something that can get threats sent to either a public or non-public person is just too much work?

    1. The market demands an opinion now. You are proposing an economic regulation (at a base level).

  22. Look, WaPo read it on Twitter. It’s not their fault the whole thing turned out to be false. Now what, all the media is responsible for what they reprint from Twitter? What’s next, if their mother tells them she loves them, they have to check that out too? Is no rumour or innuendo sacred anymore?

  23. But was it libel? I’m not persuaded.

    Hm.

    li?bel
    noun
    Law .
    defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.
    the act or crime of publishing it.
    a formal written declaration or statement, as one containing the allegations of a plaintiff or the grounds of a charge.
    anything that is defamatory or that maliciously or damagingly misrepresents.

    I am.

    1. Politics aside, the complaint makes a compelling case that The Post got the Covington story really, really wrong. Bezos’s paper is not alone in this regard: Virtually the entire media?mainstream, left, and right?initially smeared the Covington kids as racists based on a short, misleading video clip of the incident. When additional video footage became available, we learned that far from being perpetrators of racial harassment, the high schoolers were on the receiving end of a torrent of verbal abuse from the Black Hebrew Israelites, a black nationalist cult group. In deciding to approach the boys, Phillips had intervened on the wrong side of this conflict. And while a few kids made insensitive tomahawk gestures, most simply continued the energetic pep rally cheer they had been doing even before Phillips arrived. Importantly, the kids did not consciously surround the man; he approached them. Sandmann has claimed his so-called “smirk” was actually a smile intended to defuse the situation?a claim supported by the extended video, which shows Sandmann quietly signaling to a classmate that engaging the Native American activists in argument was a bad idea.

      How Robby convinces himself that isn’t slander is a mystery known only to him.

      1. Says the guy who jerked off every time Trump called Obama a secret Kenyan.

        1. Obama was free to sue Trump for that. But doing so would have required him producing his birth certficicate. And also go through discovery about how it is that people came to think of him being a Kenyan. Oddly Obama didn’t want to do that.

          1. They thought that because they’re racist morons.

            1. Yet, Obama didn’t want to file such a slam dunk suit against a deep pocket like Trump. Must have not done so out of kindness I guess.

              1. Funny thing about lawsuits, they have a discovery period.

                As someone who has deposed powerful people, they hate it. The defendants cannot get out of it and you can find all sorts of dirt on them because they are forced to sit there and answer your questions.

                Obama has too many skeletons to let that happen.

              2. That, and the fact that as an actual public figure he would have to prove that the Birther people knew they were deliberately spreading falsehoods, which is kind of hard to prove.

                1. Especially since on one of his published works, the biographical blurb said he was Kenyan.

            2. What race are Americans again Tony?

            3. “They thought that because they’re racist morons.”

              That’s a hell of a thing to say about the people who published his book.

            4. Obvious troll is obvious.

            5. Obama claimed to be Kenyan, and/or allowed Columbia Law to claim him to be Kenyan, when it suited both their interests

        2. Who? You?

        3. “Says the guy who jerked off every time Trump called Obama a secret Kenyan.”

          Hey faggot, Obama has even presented himself as Kenyan in the past.

          Facts sure can be inconvenient, eh bitch?

          1. You wouldn’t know a fact if it showed up on a biopsy of your colon.

            1. Even your insults should embarrass anyone older than 12, you pathetic excuse for humanity.

              1. Twelve is about where’d I’d pin your developmental limit. Your parents should find something more productive to do with your free time. Not that it will really matter, am I right?

      2. Both sides are equally guilty

    2. nothing persuades Robbie S. unless he permits it to be so…

      1. I think that’s true of most people.

  24. Litigation
    Huh!
    What is it good for?
    Absolutely nuthin!

  25. I certainly grant, without reservation,* the right of the media to cover a controversy where one or both sides are hurling charges of misconduct.

    The only qualifier I would add – and it’s a big one – is that the media can’t *endorse* false accusations under the guise of covering them.

    So if this goes to a jury, then I suppose the question for the jurors will be, “did the Post simply cover the fact that a Native American activist made accusations against some kids, or did the Post go a step further and implicitly vouch for the accuser’s version of events.”

    If they were simply covering the controversy, I’d like to see at least an attempt to report the perspective of the different sides. So if a source tells the Post that Congressman X is taking bribes, then along with the accusation should be a statement from Congressman X, “we deny this outrageous, false, etc.” Or something on the order of “Congressman X declined at press time to make any response to requests for comment.”

    So…in their articles, are there any comments from the kids or their parents on the order of “WTF is this guy talking about? That didn’t happen!” or “check the full video and you’ll see the charges are full of it.”

    *Oops – no pun intended

    1. I’m not sure if they even used the sophisticated “we’re covering our ass about being fair but everyone knows he’s guilty” kind of coverage. You know, quoting a “citizens’ group” about corrupt NRA donations, quoting a gunshot victim, then getting denials from the parties accused (“Congressman denies taking ‘blood money,’ see how useful that is in reminding readers of the original allegation?).

  26. These outlets should face legal consequences for their appalling behavior, slander, and calls for violence.

  27. You are going to catch a lot of flack for some of the takes in this article. Probably from both sides.

    Don’t take this as a sign that you are calling it down the middle.

    Nathan Philips and his crew that released the video were not “biased sources”. They were flat-out liars. This is not a dispute about the interpretation of events. That’s what some people are trying to excuse it as. It is not.

    It was a deliberate hoax. He has done it before. The video we have since seen is indisputable.

    And there was not really any excuse for reporting it as fact. They did zero due diligence. They didn’t investigate their star witness. Even after he had told several conflicting stories, including his lies about Vietnam, nobody called him on it. It raised zero red flags.

    NBC had two opportunities to interview him, including one a few days after the full story was well known. They did not ask him to explain his inconsistencies, or the inconsistencies with the video evidence. They instead held his hand through excusing any lies (“you never claimed to have served in Vietnam, did you?”) and into a character assassination on the boy who actually was polite and a peace maker.

    Whether a libel case can be won in court or not, this is not simply relying on questionable sources. This was active participation in a smear job for political purposes. And it is beyond reprehensible.

    1. You describe it exactly right Cyto. The Post and NBC made no effort to see if this was true before printing it. That alone makes them liable to a private citizen. The fact that they refused to retract the lie even after it was obvious it was a lie, would make them liable even if Sandeman was a public figure. If the Post isn’t liable here, then there is no standard by which the media would ever be liable.

      1. If the Post isn’t liable here, then there is no standard by which the media would ever be liable.

        There are other boxes besides the ballot box and the soap box…

        1. Sorry ballot box, jury box, and soap box…

          1. ammo box.

            1. Fitting commentary on the day we mourn the passing of Frederick Douglass.

    2. “Whether a libel case can be won in court or not, this is not simply relying on questionable sources. This was active participation in a smear job for political purposes. And it is beyond reprehensible.”

      ^+ some large number. Like $250m.

      1. Yeah, I seriously doubt that will happen.

        The complaint reads like some internet blogger wrote it. I was pretty taken aback by that – but then I asked a lawyer. Apparently the complaint merely serves to initiate the proceedings and is really never referred to again – so this was written for public consumption.

        But in any event, saying “you said bad things about me on purpose” is not sufficient to warrant “give me your entire net worth”. This kid has unquestionably been irreparably harmed by this. But you’d have a hard sell to get to hundreds of millions in damages. Companies that kill babies don’t pay that much.


        1. But you’d have a hard sell to get to hundreds of millions in damages. Companies that kill babies don’t pay that much.

          In regards to the first point, a kid is more likely since they can claim future harms like not being employable after being impugned in such a way and there being so, so many years left of their life. (Obviously, the counter-argument being ‘well you’ll probably write a book, right’) I think you’re absolutely right that $250 million is not going to be awarded, but given the age of the kid I’m not so sure. He’s a pretty sympathetic victim.

  28. The Washington Compost will lose this case and be forced to pay the $250 million.

    This will bankrupt the paper and all the reporters etc, will have to learn code.

    1. They will fail at coding too.

      Coding requires things to be correct.

      1. You can’t Tweet out code with your feet on the desk and sipping a soy latte?

      2. Oh yeah? Who coded the squirrels on this site, then?

    2. They’ll probably pay something. I doubt $250 million. But who knows? $250 million is pretty ridiculous. I don’t see how he could have been damaged to that extent. And I’m not a big fan of huge punitive damages. If someone was damaged make them whole (as much as possible).

      1. I am in this case. WaPo needs to go.

      2. I don’t see how he could have been damaged to that extent.

        The compensatory damages wouldn’t reach that figure, but the purpose of punitive damages is to deter the perp from repeating the tort. The WaPo will continue to be a pack of lying shitheels unless this debacle costs enough for Bezos to feel it.

        -jcr

        1. I guess it comes down to what you think the purpose of civil suits should be. I’m uncomfortable with the purely punitive part of it. But that’s just me.

          1. People are never made whole based on compensatory damages. Never.

            Which is pretty much the whole purpose of our Civil system.

            The injured are lucky to recover most of their losses and count their chickens that they got anything at all.

            Punitive damages attract lawyers to help you get closer to being whole.

  29. If only I had a quarter billion dollars for every poorly sourced, one sided bit of hackery to flow from the pen of Bobby, I’d be rich.

    1. The good news is you could.

      The bad news is that they are Zimbabwean Dollars.

      1. relayed through a Nigerian prince…

  30. The Washington Post does fantastic journalism. Here’s a recent example.

    Opinion: You might be binge-watching Russian propaganda on Netflix

    #TrumpRussia
    #NetflixRussia
    #LibertariansForGettingToughWithRussia

    1. Haven’t heard from Hillary in a while. Has she fallen and can’t get up?

      1. Stop implying there’s something wrong with her physical health. It’s sexist.

        And now that Mueller is putting the finishing touches on his exhaustive investigation, maybe Hillary will finally become President.

        #StillWithHer

      2. “Haven’t heard from Hillary in a while. Has she fallen and can’t get up?”

        Maybe the Sec-Serv folks got tired of being treated like dogs and just left her on the ground this time.

        1. +Stalin-style

      3. maybe Hillary and RBG having matching hospital beds where they are both on life support.

    2. Doesn’t Susan Rice and Obama have deals with Netflix? Sounds about right.

  31. The 24 hour news cycle has consequences. maybe this will convince them to fact check before they try to get that big scoop. 250 million is a bit ridiculous though; he’ll be lucky to get $250,000 .

    1. Yeah, I think this is key.

      I think $250K is a bit low, but the idea that this is an either/or, guilty/innocent, $0/$250M proposition is a bit disingenuous.

      Were they guilty of libel to the tune of $250M? No, almost certainly not. Were they guilty to the tune of $1M? Maybe. Would it be worth it for them to pay $1.5M to avoid having to admit guilt and pay $1M? Yup.

      1. I’m just fine with any amount of money that would bankrupt them once and for all. That should really be the goal.

      2. If cigarette companies can be held liable for billions for producing products that people like and know the ingredients, then WaPo damages can be worth $250 million.

        1. Except in the case of WaPo the government doesn’t have an incentive to soak their profits since there aren’t any.

      3. He was doxxed, got death threats, had women publicly offering sexual acts as reward for visiting physical harm upon him, and is now famous to large portions of the population for having the most punchable face in the world – on top of being branded a bigot and psychopath. And he’s 17

        He’s getting 8 figures, whether through settlement or jury award.
        Punitive damages will be heavy, especially as the jury would know Bezos is bankrolling WaPo. That’s deep pockets.
        $1 million doesn’t discourage.
        $50 million might.

  32. “Recall that Rolling Stone lost a series of libel lawsuits”

    I do recall that. It was awesome. What is the problem, here?

    “But here’s the problem: Phillips’ statements, as quoted in The Post, are mostly of the opinion variety, and statements of opinion cannot be deemed libelous”

    So some of them were libelous. Is WaPo’s defense going to be “sure, we printed some libelous stuff, but also some opinions, and so the libel is okay?” That’s quite a defense.

    “But this is far from open and shut, as the media’s failures in the Covington case, while substantial, are more open to interpretation than Rolling Stone’s failures in the Virginia story.”

    It is less open to interpretation because there is a video.

    “But a media environment where people could easily sue writers for getting things wrong would be a nightmare for anyone?including conservative writers and media personalities?who would like to hold a powerful person or entity accountable.”

    He is not a powerful person. He’s a kid. If some asshole conservative wants to go after a liberal teenager by publishing false thing about that teenager, I am more than happy to see them pay.

    “I worry such an outcome could set an alarming precedent.”

    Precedent is a specific thing with a specific meaning in a court of law. The precedent would be that, if you publish false things about an innocent person, you pay the price. I have no problem with this precedent.

    1. Forests have been razed in order to accommodate all of the books, decisions, law review articles, and treatises that have been written about the intersection of defamation and opinion.

      In short, defamatory statements, couched as opinion, may be actionable.

      1. I don’t think you can make an argument that “he got in Phillips face and confronted him” is opinion. It certainly would be an opinion that does not comport with reality.

        I don’t think you can make an argument that “The Native Americans were simply trying to march to the memorial when the teen moved to block his path” is opinion. It certainly does not comport with the reality we saw on the tape.

        I don’t think you can make the argument that “I tried to move to the left and he blocked me. I tried to move to the right and he blocked me” is opinion. You can plainly see him walk right up to the teen and start banging his drum in his face, leaning in and giving him a hard stare. That seems to be a statement of fact, and it clearly does not match any of the facts we could see with our own eyes.

  33. Let’s take a look at one The Post’s early Sandmann articles, titled “‘It was getting ugly’: Native American drummer speaks on his encounter with MAGA-hat-wearing teens.” The article is a completely one-sided look at what happened.

    Looking at the publication date of that article, Jan 22 and assuming that it was the original publish date, the longer video that showed a more full context of events was released on the 21st.

    Ample opportunity for the reporters to do some fact finding and to learn that pretty much everything they are quoting of Philips is not true.

    1. Remember the standard is not strict liability. It is only reasonableness. It means that the media has a responsibility to take reasonable measures to ensure that what they print is true and to retract untruth once they become know. It is hard to imagine a lower standard of care but even that is just too much for political hacks like Robby.

      1. “…even that is just too much for political hacks like Robby.”

        Robby is not a political hack. He’s an aspiring political hack. He writes for Reason for crying out loud. Maybe one day he’ll actually be somebody, but today is not that day.

  34. Robby didn’t really slam Trump in this article. What a disappointment.

    1. he did repeat the nonsense that the “tomahawk chop” is offensive as if it were a universally accepted truth. NFL, NCAA and MLB fans beg to differ, as does the Miccosukee Tribe and the Seminole Tribe, among others.

      Just the mere act of 18 activist types saying it is offensive does not hold sway over the millions who disagree.

    2. he did repeat the nonsense that the “tomahawk chop” is offensive as if it were a universally accepted truth. NFL, NCAA and MLB fans beg to differ, as does the Miccosukee Tribe and the Seminole Tribe, among others.

      Just the mere act of 18 activist types saying it is offensive does not hold sway over the millions who disagree.

      1. “he did repeat the nonsense that the “tomahawk chop” is offensive as if it were a universally accepted truth”

        When Fonda was married to Turner and the Braves were contenders, the TV cameras caught her at a game when the crowd was ‘singing’ and chopping.
        She was chopping sideways, as if that would mitigate any offense.
        I don’t recall anyone accusing her of being brighter than Tony, for example.

  35. So if there wasn’t an anti-MAGA hat conspiracy at the Post motivating the coverage is the political activist kid committing libel?

    1. Take it to court.
      Discovery should be fun.
      You know how these things work, right?
      Oh, my bad.
      You’re progressive, thus your programming is limited.

  36. Sullivan’s actual malice standard doesn’t apply to random previously anonymous sixteen year olds. If the clowns at “Democracy Dies In Darkness” have any sense, they’ll settle this long before discovery starts in earnest, much less letting a jury get at it.

    1. The filed in Kentucky. I made the mistake of engaging with liberals on Twitter the other day. They were convinced this suit was going to be moved to Washington because that is where the defendent wants it. And they were lawyers or at least claimed to be lawers saying this. The plaintiff chooses the venue is like literally page one of civil procudure in law school. I am always amazed at the rank ignorance of liberals on virtually any subject.

      1. John, don’t you know that civil procedure is oppressive?

        Who wants to know about International Shoe or World-Wide Volkswagen?

        1. No shit. How can people be that stupid?

      2. They filed in Kentucky?

        Haha. I didn’t even see the media mention that because it must fry their soyboi hides.

      3. John,

        Thanks to TV shows like LA Law, Law and Order, The Good Wife, etc., everyone thinks they’re a lawyer.

  37. But a media environment where people could easily sue writers for getting things wrong would be a nightmare for anyone?including conservative writers and media personalities?who would like to hold a powerful person or entity accountable.

    WTF? Random high school from flyover country = powerful person or entity?
    Oh, wait. Robby; never mind.

    What we need is common sense media control. Say a simple permit issued at the sole discretion of the local sheriff, based on having taken a course in exactly what ‘named, verifiable, reliable sources’ means. And of course, a mandatory background check including police records, and the trivial taking of fingerprints. Only those with such a permit should have first amendment rights.

  38. Whatever the outcome, I hope the kid will not let the greedy lawyers end this with any kind of non-disclosure agreement of any kind. The whole sorry mess needs to be fully public.

    1. I hope he wants humiliation more than he wants money.

      1. *he wants humiliation

        Sounds like malice, I hope he can prove those wild claims he made about the Post hating white people and Catholics.

        1. “Sounds like malice, I hope he can prove those wild claims he made about the Post hating white people and Catholics.”

          Keep grasping those straws for the ‘team’.

          1. Just applying the same standards to his claims. He has a reason to want revenge, i.e. malice. He claims the coverage was motivated exclusively by racism against whites, bigotry against Catholics and MAGA political activists. That’s his story. I doubt he can prove it.

            1. “Just applying the same standards to his claims”

              And keep lying about it, also.

            2. No, what you’re doing is that sad fucking thing progs do where they redefine things in order to draw specious comparisons.

              It doesn’t meet the defintion of malice. That is all.

              1. “It doesn’t meet the defintion of malice. That is all.”

                Nor does WaPo qualify as a ‘private person’, nor does a legal filing equal a public publishing of the comments.
                But OP is a lefty shill who posts lies regularly in the hopes no one figures it out. ‘Dumb as rocks’ pretty much covers it.

              2. Malice = Tulpa. Moronic = Tulpa. Brainless = Tulpa. Vanity and ego = Tulpa. Trying to shut others down via pure, 200-proof, unadulterated (and non-adult) bullshit, = Tulpa.

                Keep these things in mind, and ye will go FAR in life!

        2. I am pretty sure every issue of the Post for about the last 30 years proves that.

      2. I hope he wants to bankrupt the Post. It deserves to be destroyed. Progressives need to live in fear.

    2. I think they’d rather have a modest (non-disclosed) financial settlement coupled to a very public mea culpa.

      But, absent that they will take very penny they can squeeze.

    3. That’s fairly well guaranteed in the case of WaPo. I could see his team dragging Nathan Phillips through the mud though, and I will certainly enjoy watching that.

      1. If it gets far enough it will be the WaPo dragging Phillips through the mud – trying to give the impression that they were just his dupes.

  39. high time Sullivan died anyway the reasoning is sham-wow … cowards hide behind Sullivan.

  40. also long live Peter Tork. on the last train to Clarksville.

  41. The complaint appears to regard “activist” as a derogatory term, apparently consequent to the lack of self-awareness that would enable an author to recognize how that term would fit a Trump hat-wearing Kentucky teenager who travels hundreds of miles by bus to advocate criminally enforced statist womb management.

    1. Boy, it took some real effort to generate that particular assholery!
      Are you just real good at it, or did it take you a while?

    2. Oh well then, dragging the kid is ok.

      1. Oh look, Tulpoopy is an infanticide enthusiast. What a surprise.

    3. Oh look, Arty is an infanticide enthusiast. What a surprise.

    4. I advocate you being beaten brutally within an inch of your life with a Louisville Slugger then finished off with two to you empty skull.

    5. The cherry on top – the Rev’s rage over a MAGA hat kid scoring 250mil from his “betters”.

      Not bad for a clinger, eh?

  42. This is atrocious and hypocritical beyond belief.

    Essentially this article boils down to the following

    When other people do bad things, they should be punished.

    When we do bad things, we are doing a job too important to punish, so just too bad.

    1. The rules never apply to the Left.

      It’s not racist/sexist/treasonous/libelous/totalitarian when they do it.

  43. “I would rather live in a country where the media is too aggressive toward the powerful, rather than not enough.”

    Yeah, somebody has to hold the line against those powerful high school kids, with their smirking white privilege.

    1. #SmilingWhileWhite

  44. So Robby admits: This strikes me as potential grounds for a libel claim.

    At that point, Robby, shut up. If people can’t fight back against this crap in the courts, you definitely won’t like the alternative.

  45. “Some conservatives are probably pleased about such a possibility. They’d prefer it if the media were more reticent to publish unconfirmed, negative articles about the president and his supporters for fear of drawing lawsuits.”

    I’d say quite a few people would prefer negative claims ought to be confirmed. Pretty sure claims regarding Russki “collusion” should have gotten some back-up before they were puffed on page one of every legacy press.

  46. Libel indicates he was damaged and I would have to be convinced of this as a jury member. However, this is the correct means to notify the loudmouths that Constitutional rights come with responsibility.

    Person and property shall not be damaged by others just because it fits their political narrative. Reason being listed as a ‘hate group’ would draw outrage and a public response. Who would care? Not the SPLC is being sued for listing an organization as a ‘hate group.’ I would like to see if it makes a difference.

    Pacifism never works because bullies run over pacifists. Sandmann’s lawsuit seem correct to me.

    1. SOLC is another organization that should be destroyed.

  47. “But note that it is not The Post itself asserting these claims; the paper is quoting sources.”

    Seriously, that’s how media outlets lie: They find someone telling the lie they want to spread, and then quote them without revealing the quotes are lies.

    “Can a media outlet be held liable for quoting false information that it believed was true? ”

    There’s no reason to think the Post thought it was true. And they can be proven to have known it was false within hours.

    And yet their initial story is still online with no warning to anybody who reads it that it is false.

    1. >>>And yet their initial story is still online with no warning to anybody who reads it that it is false.

      cowards. misuse of such lovely power to prop up the bad guys.

    2. ” They find someone telling the lie they want to spread”

      A little anonymous source whispered it in my ear.

  48. Time to sue the bishops who screwed these young boys (not like they aren’t used to such suits).

    I tuck you in, warm within
    Keep you free from sin
    ‘Til Nick Sandmann he comes

  49. Free speech concerns? Are you saying that corporations (i.e., a creation of the state in the first place) should be entitled to First Amendment protection? And yes, I know that under current jurisprudence corporations are entitled to First Amendment protections, but the real question is “should” they be. Doesn’t seem very libertarian to provide such protections to a state created entity and thereby further incentivize the forming of corporations (and thereby increase the funds paid to the state for the formation of such entities).

    1. The incentive for forming corporations is protection from the State’s own legal system. That, not libel protection, is why every last newspaper in the country is a corporation.

      Change the tort system so that it no longer makes it insanely dangerous to run a large organization of any sort without incorporating, and we can talk about treating the exercise of civil liberties through corporations less favorably.

      1. Isn’t it funny that for all their railing against interference in free markets when the peasants try to protect their job market, they’ve never said a word in opposition against corporate limited liability?

        It’s almost like their just shills for corporate power, instead of principled libertarians.

    2. CraigAce|2.21.19 @ 2:00PM|#
      “Free speech concerns? Are you saying that corporations (i.e., a creation of the state in the first place) should be entitled to First Amendment protection?”

      Having a real problem with logic, are you?

  50. Robby, I dont understand how this sets a dangerous precedent . The law of libel has been around for a very long time and has probably even been used against news organization, which is why they typically use words like “allegedly” and so on. So what would this lawsuit actually do to set a precedent as far as libel is concerned? Maybe the news media will think twice and actually vet their stories first, but it’s not like this isn’t an avenue that has been available to the aggrieved for quite some time. It’s just that it will be more recent in the journo’s minds.

  51. Shorter Rico Soave: “Holy shit, if this lawsuit succeeds I’ll NEVER get that dream job of mine working for Bezo the Bozo at the Post!!”

    1. Indeed.

  52. Dunno.

    Parallel to all this is the allegations Russia meddled in US elections by having false Facebook posts and the like. If that is sufficient to warrant congressional hearings and FBI investigations, $250 mill seems kind of light. I mean Twitter is held to a higher standard than WaPo. Is it excessive that WaPo exercise at least as much editorial control as Twitter?

    On the other hand, the kids from Kentucky are exactly that, kids. They are generally afforded MORE protections than the populace at large. While blurring out the faces of the kids might not have the same narrative affect, I have to wonder if WaPo has been consistent in its application of names withheld, etc.

    And on the gripping hand, there is certainly something to be said about the “chilling effects” this might have on free speech. In a perfect world, WaPo would just be downgraded to National Enquirer levels of journalistic integrity and the world moves on. But that also asks that we believe that a media conglomeration and a teenager hold the same effective power to affect each other. Maybe a review of Meet John Doe is in order.

  53. “The Media’s Covington Coverage Was Appalling, but Nick Sandmann’s Libel Lawsuit Is Not the Answer”

    If libel lawsuits are not the answer, what is?

    I’m asking this from a socratic perspective. If libel law isn’t the solution to misleading coverage, what is an effective means of protecting one’s reputation against inaccurate reporting?

    1. According to Robby, I guess asking the media to do better next time is the proper answer.

      1. Do you know that Robby is turning out to be one of Tucker Carlson’s favorites? Robby does not present as he does here.

        1. I never watch that show. So, no. I didn’t. That is odd.

          1. He was really good on Carlson’s show the other night. Really solid on hoaxes and also admirably mostly refused to be pushed into overstating the facts.

    2. If libel lawsuits are not the answer, what is?

      Torchlight parade?

      -jcr

    3. Anybody on the anti-suit side willing to take up the question? I’m anti-suit, but my alternative proposal is a bit unorthodox so I’m curious to see what the mainstream alternative is.

    4. “If libel lawsuits are not the answer, what is?”

      The Right never ever fighting back.

  54. The first and most important thing here is that, even if the story that was published had been accurate, it was not and never was a news story. Everybody responsible for actually printing “Some teenage boys you’ve never heard of were rude to a lecturing adult you’ve also never heard of” as a news story demonstrated an unprofessional lack of judgment. The editors involved in greenlighting the story should have been disciplined or fired by their news organization for bad judgment well in advance of any doubts being advanced about the accuracy of the story.

    After that’s understood, there are no chilling effects to worry about. You don’t need to worry about how this lawsuit would affect how aggressively the press takes on the powerful as soon as you recognize there was never any good reason for the press to run a story about some teenagers nobody had even heard of before being rude. If this lawsuit has a chilling effect, reducing even accurate reporting about random juveniles being juvenile, well, who the fuck cares?

    1. This is a very important point.

      NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, WaPo, NYT HuffPo, MSNBC, LATimes, Tribune…. all have no excuse for ever having covered the story in the first place. The only reason they pushed it was because they had a picture of whitey in a MAGA hat with a minority that they could paint as a victim. Absent Trump they never would have published anything about ti.

      Knowing that Savannah Guthrie was in the room as Chuck Shumer planned to leak the Cavanaugh letter made me prick my ears up when I heard her name associated with the interviews. Combine that knowledge with her ludicrous performance (“I’ve watched all the videos…. and …. do you think there is anything you should apologize for?)

      She put her own stamp on discrediting him and elevating the indian activist. She claimed to have reviewed all of the evidence and still pushed him to admit that he was at fault and apologize to the poor, helpless Native American Elder.

      It was way, way over the line. Way beyond opinion and into advocacy and propaganda.


    2. The first and most important thing here is that, even if the story that was published had been accurate, it was not and never was a news story.

      Elements of newsworthiness taught in college:
      1) Impact
      2) Timeliness
      3) Proximity
      4) Human Interest
      5) Conflict
      6) The Bizarre
      7) Celebrity

      Ostensibly, it was indeed a legitimate news story because of 4, 5, and 6. The slant of the story, however, was anything but accurately reported which is ultimately the problem.

      1. Now, the obvious subtext of why this story was actually used by so many news outlets is simple: it was an anti-Trump story that comported with their world view, even if they had to willfully ignore the facts to arrive at a satisfactory narrative to convince Trump voters they are monsters.

        That should be obvious to anyone with any critical thinking, even with zero knowledge of journalism or it’s best practices.

      2. No, the original story the Post ran — teenagers being rude to an adult who decided to lecture them — had a total zero rating on “The Bizarre”.

      3. It was no more of human interest to a national audience than two fans at a hockey game getting into a brief disagreement over who would use the ketchup first at the condiment stand.

        The only “news” was “Trump supporters are racist and evil (because Trump is racist and evil)”. And every syllable of that story was a lie that was wished into being around a picture that showed exactly the opposite of what they said it showed.

        It was not news. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Not even if it had been accurately covered. If the Covington High School paper had covered the story, it would have been “Long bus wait leads to school cheers!” and everyone would say “dang, that is a stupid article”.

        Some street preacher kook isn’t news. If he was, they’d be covering Times Square every day of the week.

        1. Cyto|2.21.19 @ 7:40PM|#

          “It was no more of human interest to a national audience than two fans at a hockey game getting into a brief disagreement over who would use the ketchup first at the condiment stand.”

          Have you ever been to a hockey game? That “disagreement” would quickly devolve into an all-out brawl.

  55. Great article, Robby.

    1. Makes sense. You were traumatized by this narrative collapsing. I remember how worried you were that people would no longer trust the authority figures in the media. The kind of reflexive conservatism that Hayek railed against.

      1. Conservatism?! You didn’t get Lara Logan’s recent memo, did you?

  56. The defamation lawsuit is unlikely to go anywhere.

    But, given the newspaper has an online edition, he might get a lot more traction with a cyber-bullying lawsuit.

    1. It is likely to prevail. What makes you think it won’t other than that is what you were told is the Prog talking point?

  57. They doubled tripled and quadrupled down even after it was crystal clear they were wrong and the kids were getting death threats and doxed.

    $250M, nope, but they will get something significant. They will settle.

  58. Sure, civil lawsuits shouldn’t be the answer. Responsible journalism should be the answer. Since that didn’t, and isn’t, going to happen, let the lawsuits begin.

    1. Not woodchippers, then?

      Pooh.

  59. The author of this piece misses a very important point. WaPo is a corporation and if you look at the structure of most of the news media these days they are ALL owned by mega corps. There is only one thing that Corps recognize and respond to — blasts against the balance sheet.

    The additional aspect the author misses is that due to the perverse influence of NYT to reporting. Nearly every article issued by NYT and the larger journalism community these days is opinion or advocacy wrapped around an event with certain facts attached. The whole industry dropped the Joe Friday ‘Just the facts mam.’ back in the 1970’s.

  60. Nick Sandmann’s lawsuit is the best thing in the news in a very, very long time, Robby. What ails you, anyway?

  61. I guess they better do their homework before writing damaging and libelous articles.

  62. Robby:

    If that was your son, you think you might think differently about the lawsuit?

    1. No, Robby consider that this was you when you were 16. You would not have a job at Reason, you would not have a writing job at all.

      I would say “learn to code”, but you would not get a job at most software houses either.

  63. “Of course, there’s a broader philosophical problem with trying to resolve the Covington debacle via lawsuit, even if Sandmann may have a case (albeit an extremely narrow one): It raises serious free speech concerns, and it could have significant repercussions for the media.”

    Er no. If I – or a family member – was a private citizen minding my business and was thrust into such a situation and the media acted so irresponsibly (and lazily) to the point of putting me in danger damn straight I’m suing.

    If there’s one incident that justifies such action it’s this one. What are they supposed to do? Just take it and ‘whaddya gonna do?’ Worse, WaPo are pretty much sticking to their bull shit.

    If this is journalism then I want no part of it. You don’t get to rile the masses up and just go ‘oops’ and offer a lousy correction or retraction. People are still sticking to the ORIGINAL story. That shit can potentially ruin lives. Dammit, that clown ‘elder’ was demanding their lives be ruined!

    So know what? Go for it. Sue them all into oblivion. Maybe that’ll learn ’em.

  64. Robby, I have to commend you for your “reasoned” response to the initial Covington Kids coverage – you were a lone voice of reason in a wilderness strewn with hyperbole and calumny.
    But, you have to realize that the only effective method of tamping down the excesses exposed within the media, and your media brethren, is to give them a gut-punch through their pocketbooks.
    They went overboard here against a kid (a minor) who literally did nothing, with the exception of buying a hat from a vendor at a site away from the Lincoln Memorial. The only forgiveness for what has occurred can only be measured in “Benjamin’s”……lots of them. They got over the tips of their skis, and now are going to have to dig themselves out of the hill they crashed upon.

  65. Trump cocksucking > First Amendment

    I guess I should be glad it was Trump that finally turned you people into blithering fascists. At least it wasn’t someone intelligent or calculating. We could be in real trouble.

    1. Tony|2.21.19 @ 6:04PM|#
      “Trump cocksucking > First Amendment”

      TDS > room-temp IQ

    2. “It wasn’t someone intelligent or calculating.”

      Do you always write posts while gazing into your bathroom mirror, little boy?

    3. What Trump has to do with kids suing news outlets that falsely tried to ruin their lives for sport, I have no idea.

      Isn’t what the media did here an example of “punching down”, as you woke assholes say?

    4. “Trump cocksucking > First Amendment”

      And to be clear, you imbecile, A1 has absolutely no relevance here.
      A1 has to do with preventing the government from limiting speech, not whether your idiotic speech can cause you harm by way of retaliation.
      I’m sure that’s a surprise to you, given the level of your posts here.

  66. I can’t wait until The New York Times, CNN, Ana Cabrera, PBS, Maggie Haberman, Davie Brooks, Joy Reid, Chuck Todd, Bill Maher, Ilhan Omar, Elizabeth Warren, Kathy Griffin, Alyssa Milano, and Jim Carrey are all served their lawsuits.

    I’d like to see all these fuckers suffer, and all their bank accounts drained dry for all the shit they caused those kids.

    Fuck the lot of them.

    I’d like to each all these fuckers homeless and living in an LA homeless camp.

    Call me evil, or what not, I don’t give a fuck.

  67. Is Robby Soave a lawyer? Is this just his opinion on the suit?

    1. It is the opinion of a journalist about the effects of lawsuits for defamation on the profession of journalism.

      It is a legitimate concern for journalists.

      This particular incident was pretty solidly in the “bad faith” camp. It is fairly obvious that nobody was acting in good faith (unless you define “we totally know that Trump is evil and we have to do anything we can to get rid of Trump” as “good faith”).

      But Robby’s concern is that a journalist acting in good faith could easily run afoul of a similar standard, therefore providing a chilling effect on honest journalism.

      You could have made a similar argument after the Gawker case.

      1. Robby’s concern is that he or his friends might have to act like responsible adults. Nothing is more terrifying to a libertine wokatarian than responsibility.

  68. Robby, nice job of back bench lawyering
    But from a libertarian point of view, of course a lawsuit is the proper and most effective course to resolve the accusation of intentionally inaccurate reporting. A private party has intentionally or through negligence caused damage to another private party. The primary purpose of the courts in a libertarian world is to determine if such damage has in fact been inflicted and by whom and if necessary the amount and type of restitution would make the damaged party whole.

  69. What appeared in the paper is certainly much less damaging that what would be uncovered during discovery. Internal discussion about how to slant the story? Acknowledgement of the full video without immediate correction of the story? I’m sure what’s on the internal email servers is a lot more damning than what ran in the paper, and would go a long way to proving the malice of the claim.

  70. I would rather live in a country where the media is too aggressive toward the powerful, rather than not enough.

    This isn’t your choice though and nothing about this lawsuit will effect this. As this event demonstrates our media are lapdogs to those who can effect them attack those who cannot.

    1. Imagine thinking that a bunch of Kentucky high school students were the “powerful” and not a bunch of Ivy League educated journalists who doxxed and bullied kids for sport. It’s perhaps the most disingenuous statement I’ve ever read

      1. Journalism is protected by name in the Constitution. Pubescent idiocy is just something we tolerate.

        1. Creating a lynch mob based upon false information is not “journalism”, dumbass

        2. Tony|2.21.19 @ 10:49PM|#
          “Journalism is protected by name in the Constitution.”

          Posted by am imbecile who cannot read or is too stupid to understand the written word or is willfully ignorant. Or all three.

        3. Yes, they (and by they I mean we all are — nothing special about “journalists”) are protected from interference from the government. That does not include private citizens.

        4. YOU ARE SO FCVKING STUPID.
          YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD REPEATEDLY
          GET IT THRU YOUR HEAD
          THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FIRST AMENDMENT, GOVERNMENT IS NOT INVOLVED

        5. Tony|2.21.19 @ 10:49PM|#

          “Journalism is protected by name in the Constitution.”

          No, it isn’t. The “press” as used in the First Amendment refers to the printing press, not commercial news organizations. Your ignorance of Constitutional matters is understandable since you’re a leftist.

  71. The only thing more horrifying than people routinely suing media companies is media companies routinely libeling people. I’ll take the former.

  72. The problem is not that The Washington Post and other outlets were wrong. That is bound to happen. The problem is that they have no procedures to prevent them from being wrong in cases similar to this. To avoid liability in these cases it is simple: you have to check the factual assertions being made as a reasonable person would. This used to be called “The bare minimum editorial standard”.

    1. The problem is that they lie for a living, and it’s going to bite them in the ass this time.

  73. “…Of course, there’s a broader philosophical problem with trying to resolve the Covington debacle via lawsuit, even if Sandmann may have a case (albeit an extremely narrow one): It raises serious free speech concerns, and it could have significant repercussions for the media…”

    Pretty sure this is the epitome of special pleading.

  74. Nick Sandmann

    He was unjustly accused and paraded before the nation as such. Given that as just a premise not proven.

    If it had not been for the reporting of the WP it would be just a minor scuffle nothing. Yet it was and now he and his family are in a shitstorm beyond what any of them wanted or intended. Typical high school trip to see the capitol.

    Heck if the bigass lawyers showed up to defend and it was my kid. I would say fuck these assholes. This is a civil suite and we are all entitled to a day in court.

    That young man rightly did not physically do anything. He had the courage to just stand his ground.

    Is that is not libertarian I do not know what is.

  75. The WaPo is supposed to be a journalistic outlet. What it did with the Covington kids went way past laziness. It proved to the world that it’s agenda was far more important than the truth and in the process it openly lied. The WaPo did not even attempt to reach out to the students to determine their side of the story. Infact, it did not even take the time to watch the whole video before posting it’s patently bias report.
    In the process of it’s report it slandered these kids and played it’s part in the whole media’s attempt to completely ruin the future prospects of these kids whether it be future employment or possible entry into their chosen university.
    If a libel suit in itself is the best way to punish the behaviour of the WaPo and other media outlets, the so be it. The WaPo must be punished considering this kind of reporting, (and I use the word reporting grudgingly) has become the norm for the WaPo and other left leaning news outlets. The WaPo has a distinct history of outright bias and has continued to ‘get away with it’ for years without being held to account.
    Personally, I would be more than pleased to see many more of these libel suits every time the WaPo outright lies without checking the validity of a story. These are people’s lives they are destroying. Why would anyone NOT want them held to account.

    1. Spot-on comment, Man from Earth. Since the left seems to now own virtually all media outlets, the only real recourse from the right is to hit them in the pocketbook when they spew their lies and half-truths. I hope this is the beginning of a long string of such lawsuits.

  76. ” Virtually the entire media?mainstream, left, and right?initially smeared the Covington kids as racists based on a short, misleading video clip of the incident. ”

    There was nothing misleading about the clip, it was simply *incomplete*, and obviously so. Who approached who? The first video didn’t show it. This was obvious from the start.

    If you assumed the Covington kids were racist from the videos, you just have an ingrained prejudice against white males.

    1. If you assumed the Covington kids were racist from the videos, you just have an ingrained prejudice against white males.

      The question of whether they were “racist” or not is actually adopting the left’s framing of the incident. Whether they’re racist or not is irrelevant to the fact that they were not the aggressors in this situation, and reacted accordingly as most teenagers would when others began harassing them.

      To be honest, Sandmann’s self-control in the face of left-wing provocation is impressive. It’s the same childish “look, I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!” shit that a six-year-old does, and he not only didn’t take the bait, he stood his ground and effectively dared Phillips to actually try something.

      1. Totally agree, Red Rocks.

      2. In the original videos, it’s unclear who the aggressor was.

        If you are banging your drum and chanting, and I get up in your grill, I’m the aggressor.
        If you are banging your drum and chanting, and you get up in my grill, you’re the aggressor.

        But given the facts, I agree that Sandmann shows saintlike restraint against the aggression of little drummer goon, and significant courage and will to stand his ground against adult aggression from a POC.

        Let’s hope GenZ is full of Sandmanns.

      3. ‘The question of whether they were “racist” or not is actually adopting the left’s framing of the incident. ‘

        It’s responding to the frame they gave it.

  77. It is not that they got it wrong at first, it is that they doubled down on the falsehood when proven wrong.

  78. “It could have significant repercussions for the media.”

    GOOD

    “I would rather live in a country where the media is too aggressive toward the powerful, rather than not enough.”

    Ah yes the powerful Catholic school teenagers! Don’t want to set precedent of holding people accountable for slandering teenagers.

    Journalists protecting journalists.

    1. Robby’s weak effort to conflate a bunch of high schoolers with institutions and people that have real power is one of the spiciest takes I’ve seen yet. The WaPo is a massive media conglomerate owned by a consumer goods distribution billionaire. It’s in no way, shape, or form an underdog in this scenario, especially with leftists cluelessly pointing out that the WaPo can afford better lawyers than Sandmann’s family.

  79. The perfect is the enemy of the good. (George S. Patton)

  80. Nick Sandmann is my poster boy hero of the hour, but when the WP attorneys make him an offer to just go away, if it is at least 7 figures and they pay his legal costs I would take it. You have to be really careful on those settlements or your own lawyers will scalp you.

    1. Nick may be the plaintiff, but it’s his parents who will decide how to handle any offers.

      I know if it were my wife and our son defamed, and then tossed under the bus by his own church she would not be satisfied until the guilty were forced to consume their own entrails while she watched.

    2. I’m waiting for the Mr. Sandmann music video.

      Mr Sandmann, bring us a dream.

  81. I hope he wins a very large settlement from Bezos. I’m for free speech and freedom of the press, as well, but it’s more than coincidental that the overwhelming majority of “rush to judgement” reports favor the sensibilities of the left. Perhaps prying a big chunk of change from Bezos’ deep pockets will serve as fair warning to his and other left-leaning news outlets – get the full story from all sides and verify it, instead of putting out some half-baked garbage that fits your news outlet’s political narrative.

  82. My knowledge of the law comes from watching Perry Mason and binge-watching Law & Order. With that caveat, in my humble opinion, good luck suing pundits and media outlets for defamation. Likely it will come down to Nick Sandman being in a public venue — the National Mall — during a demonstration and so he’s fair game for any and all commentary. Plus he has to prove damages. He doesn’t have a job so he can’t claim he got fired.

  83. As a retired attorney, let me say that the lawsuit is a bad, bad, bad idea.

    All a lawsuit will do is keep this incident open and give Phillips and the BHI crowd a new platform from which to vent their spleen. It will not give the Covington kids anything even remotely similar, if only because the media doesn’t give a damn what they have to say about any of it.

    My best advice? Just let it go. The chances of victory are slim at best, the chances of vindication in the public square are no better if not worse. Just move on.

    1. There is a point about this incident getting more attention could harm the Covington kids more than it could help

  84. Freedom of Speech, yes.
    License of Speech, no.

  85. “”, the high schoolers were on the receiving end of a torrent of verbal abuse from the Black Hebrew Israelites, a black nationalist cult group. In deciding to approach the boys, Phillips had intervened on the wrong side of this conflict””

    Phillips decided to face the group that was less intimidating.

    1. Phillips faced the group that he hated.

      In no known universe would he have any interest in facing down the BHI.

  86. Lawsuits like this may chill journalism in a way that will benefit all of us. Lies should not be carelessly published without repercussions. Free speech is not shouting fire in a crowded venue when it is a lie. This may not be a perfect answer, but this type of crap newspaper work needs to be minimized and maybe it will help if the post pays a large judgement.
    Stating an opinion is covered as long as the press says it is an opinion. When they present information as fact there is a higher standard to hold them to.
    No retraction should ever count UNLESS it is published in the same location and prominence as the original story. The press is well known for publishing a false political story on page 1 and printing the correction in small print, no headline in the back of the paper. It is clearly NOT enough!!
    I am concerned that the press in too little concerned about the truth when it fits their agenda. The press should not have an agenda.

  87. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.

    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+…………….. http://www.pay-buzz.com

  88. Sorry, lying or intentionally misrepresenting something should be punishable. The scale and severity of the punishment should vary depending on the “crime” IMO. $250 mil is silly, obviously. But frankly I am all for it.

    The endless intentional lying by the MSM has to stop. At this point whatever it takes to make them wake up and start being honest again is fine by me. In a world where the media is terrified of LYING because of lawsuits, I suspect we might get some more proper fact checking, and less willful misrepresentation… Both of which would be fine by me.

  89. Stella Liebeck gets a mere three million (later greatly reduced) and the conservatives scream bloody murder about somebody getting so much money. The same would apply for any case where a regular worker sued a multi million dollar corporation and got any more than a few million. And if this was a case of a liberal suing Fox News and asking for one tenth the amount Sandmann is asking for it would be all over the right wing blathersphere about how these frivolous lawsuits are getting out of control

    1. And if this was a case of a liberal suing Fox News and asking for one tenth the amount Sandmann is asking for it would be all over the right wing blathersphere about how these frivolous lawsuits are getting out of control

      And if leftists didn’t act as a cancer on humanity, the world would be a better place.

    2. Stella Liebeck gets a mere three million (later greatly reduced) and the conservatives scream bloody murder about somebody getting so much money.

      You’re an idiot.

      A) It wasn’t just conservatives and the suggestion that it was is pretty blatant partisan hackery.
      B) Liebeck originally only sued for the cost of her medical bills and, as you indicate, the actual payout on settlement was ammeliorated by a number of people, not all conservatives, who felt that such a large amount set a dangerous precedent.
      C) The complaint about the amount being over-inflated relative to the absolute damages, besides not being misplaced as pointed out in B, was at the transformational novelty of using civil liability to effect policy by fine. Not only does nobody dispute the fact that prior to the case, civil court was largely/exclusively about remuneration, but subsequent litigation both in the courtroom and at varying levels of legislature demonstrate it.

      You don’t have to look very far back in history to see Fox News owners, executives, and employees embattled in civil cases with conservatives being among the network or employees detractors (in the civil case) and progressives foaming at the mouth in idiotically misplaced anticipation of some notion of civil behavior inducing some sort of massive shift in political culture at Fox News.

    3. Like allegations from Bill O’ Reilly’s wife that he routinely choke-slammed her through the walls of their house were, somehow, going to make the Rupert Murdoch and the execs Fox think “We really need to get on this lefty universal healthcare bandwagon.” or “O’ Reilly was a clearly a misogynist and so is Trump, so we should just switch to backing Bill Clinton’s wife because she’s obviously not.”

  90. Yes, lawsuits are best thing to do. Make those that made disparaging comments and refused to withdraw them AND apologize for them spend a fortune on attorneys. Whether the lawsuits are won or not, perhaps having to spend thousands on attorney fees will prevent these people and newsrags from doing this in the future.

  91. This lawsuit and MUCH more is needed.

    From Trayvon to Jussie ? Poll Shows Media Hoaxes Killed Race Relations

    “Gallup began polling opinions of race relations back in 2001. At that point, 70 percent of black Americans graded race relations as “very good” or “somewhat good,” while 62 percent of white people agreed…

    In 2013, all was still good . .. and then it all collapsed.. . In the latest polling, only 55 percent of whites and 49 percent of blacks view race relations in a positive light.

    So what happened in 2013?

    What suddenly killed everything?

    The answer, sadly, is an organized media hoax: the death of Trayvon Martin. . . .

    ..it was at this point when the media and Democrats went all-in on identity politics, and in the five years since, they have never looked back. The result has been an endless series of hate crime hoaxes that the media are either complicit in manufacturing or eagerly advancing. And nothing can stop them …

    The summer of 2014 was the summer of the Michael Brown hoax . . .

    After Donald Trump won the presidency, the media’s hate crime hoax machine went into overdrive, starting with Charleston, Virginia, where the media falsely accused the president of saying there are good Nazis (He did not.) and falsely claimed he did not condemn the white supremacists who gathered there. (He did, more than once.) . ..”

  92. There is a point there in this blog. There are huge gray areas with Defamation Laws in relation to Freedom of Speech especially the Constitutional definition of Free Speech, to the point that there are bigger implications in the long term

    It is true that the MSM outlets should be held accountable for their abuses of their platforms. But at the same time getting the State directly involved is a Faustian Bargain that could lead to more abusing the State to Silence Speech.

    It is true that Nicolas Sandmann was clearly a victim, but so was David Hogg, and both cases really doesn’t justify anything that could lead to more State Restrictions on our rights.

    I hope that the Sandmann’s lawsuit be settled outside of court so that he can get compensation without creating any kind of bad legal precedent. And a better long term solution for the Media Abusing their influence should involve less State and/or Corporate involvement and creating an actual Free Market in News Media

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