Take ’em down. ALL THE WAY down.
The Post published its False and Defamatory Accusations negligently and with actual knowledge of falsity or a reckless disregard for the truth.… As one of the world’s leading news outlets, the Post knew but ignored the importance of verifying damaging, and in this case, incendiary accusations … The negligence and actual malice of the Post is demonstrated by its utter and knowing disregard for the truth available in the complete video of the January 18 incident…
That’s a quote from legal eagle L. Lin Wood’s lawsuit on behalf of Nick Sandmann against the WaPo to the delicious tune of 250 million smackeroos, every penny of which Sandmann of right ought to collect. And if paying up for their wilfull, malicious slander puts the WaPo out of business, hey, I’m good with that too. But Vichy GOPe pundit David Catron frets:
This incident enraged a public whose trust in the “news” media is already at an all time low and alarmed many honest journalists and scholars who fear that the increasing number of such abuses by the press will cause an overreaction by the courts resulting in undesirable restrictions on the First Amendment. Indeed, confirming the validity of such concerns, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas just wrote a concurring opinion in which he suggested that NYT v. Sullivan, a landmark First Amendment ruling involving defamation cases, should be revisited…
NYT v. Sullivan is regarded as sacrosanct by the media. The general gist of the ruling is that news organizations can’t be sued for defaming public figures unless they act with “actual malice.”To clear that bar, an outlet must be shown to have published a claim about a public figure knowing that it was untrue or with reckless disregard concerning its accuracy. A good recent example involves a false story about Melania Trump published by the Daily Mail in the U.S. The First Lady sued whereupon that “news” publication was forced to pay $2.9 million in damages.
And it’s precisely what the WaPo did too: they knowingly and with reckless disregard for the truth attacked somehow who in no way met the description of “public figure”, purely for political purposes. They damned well should be pay the price for it. Happily, it ain’t just the WaPo Lin is sinking his teeth into:
The list of news organizations Wood is likely to go after includes the New York Times, CNN, NPR, GQ, the Atlantic, and the Hill. Possible defendants also include individual “journalists” who participated in the slander of Sandmann. They include David Brooks, Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd, Kurt Eichenwald, Michelle Boorstein, and Maggie Haberman. How will lawsuits against these outlets and journalists save the First Amendment? The news business is a business. And, as Mark Hemingway points out in the Federalist, bad journalism hurts the bottom line…
In other words, there’s a pretty straightforward way to improve the reputation of reporters, fend off accusations of fake news, and keep the courts from reassessing important constitutional precedents protecting freedom of the press — journalists need to start fulfilling the mission assigned to them by the authors of the First Amendment. The role of the news media in a free society is to keep all politicians honest. “The only security for all is in a free press,” as Jefferson put it. But the press isn’t “free” if a journalist may only criticize one party and remain employed.
It isn’t even “the press” as Jefferson understood it; they are propagandists, not true journalists but political operatives deceitfully promoting an ideology—aiding and abetting the Deep State/Uniparty coup against the American people and the man they elected President. Their role is not to impart factual reportage to an interested and informed public, but to mislead and misinform them. They are exactly what Trump has said they are: enemies of the people, purveyors of Fake News, dangerous vipers in liberty’s fragile nest. As such, their “freedom”—to malign, smear, and destroy—is not sacrosanct but forfeit, deserving of no 1A protection at all. Should they ever decide to get back to being honest reporters we can talk about their “rights.” Not a moment before. Until then, they have none.
The tsunami of lawsuits that is about to hit the press pursuant to the Sandmann disgrace will shake up the news industry. A lot of outlets will lose a lot of money, and a lot of journalists will lose their jobs. This is good news for those of us who believe the media have misused their constitutional protections for partisan purposes. But it is also good news for the nation if the survivors of the flood remember what a unique and precious thing we have in the First Amendment. If a 16-year-old from Kentucky gets it, maybe there’s hope for the editors of the Washington Post.
No, there is not, nor will there ever be. Not until the current crop of liars and deceivers is replaced wholesale by honest reporters with no partisan axe to grind or agenda to push there isn’t, and only a fool would think there is. It’s useless to cuddle any cozy notions of “saving” the First Amendment from them. They don’t want it saved. They oppose it along with the rest of the Constitution; its only relevance to them is when they can use it as a shield in their campaign to destroy it.
Rather than Pollyannishly blibbering on and on about “saving” things we long ago had taken from us, we ought to be destroying the Left root, branch, and bough—beginning with refusing to allow them to cower behind the protection of a Constitution they’ve shattered. And I do NOT mean talking about destroying them, either. No more cringing behind “principle” as a means of talking ourselves out of taking action; I mean rolling up our sleeves and DOING it. If we’re too effete and high-minded to fight back we can’t possibly win, and the First won’t be the only thing we shamefully fail to save.