Sunday, July 09, 2017

Step back: I'm a professional journalist

American Conservative: "Why People Hate The Media, Chapter MDCXIII"
No wonder some leading lights in the national media class hears Donald Trump give an ordinary speech taking a few paragraphs to praise the good things about Western civilization, and declare it to really be a farrago of dog-whistling about white supremacy. Left-winger attempts mass murder of Republicans: it’s the fault of right-wing talk radio. Radical Muslim massacres gays and lesbians, and says in a phone call from the murder scene that he’s doing it for ISIS: it’s the fault of Republicans. So, I guess if you get right down to it, Steve Scalise pretty much shot himself — right, Washington Post? Better get a reporter right on that story. It shouldn’t be too hard to nail down, seeing as how you only need a single quote from somebody willing to speculate on the record.
They have their narrative and, gosh darn it, they're sticking to it.  That's how the NY Times is now in the position of defending its malignant editorial against Sarah Palin by saying: "Ooops...we didn't read our own newspaper."


Malice B. Toklas said...

Before re-quoting Powerline's eager speculations as the New York Times' own future assertions, consider that Powerline doesn't know what it's talking about. In New York Times v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court explicitly ruled that prior stories or articles in a defendant's own files were insufficient to show actual malice.

Palin's lawyers understand they face an uphill legal battle, which is presumably why their court filing emphasized the alleged damage to her reputation as "a devoted wife, mother and grandmother." Private citizens have a lesser legal burden to prove damages than public figures do. But that claim about hurting a kindly grandmother is DOA, and may have been included to placate their client/public figure. The lawyers will be happy just to make it past an initial ruling that the suit may proceed (to a likely loss).

Powerline likes to imagine that the Times is "in trouble" because Palin's lawyers are going to legally establish reckless disregard due to "hatred" of Palin. For which the Times will have "no defense" because they "lied." It's fun to imagine. However, Powerline may realize that they themselves face an uphill rhetorical battle, because they're already preemptively whining about the prospect of dastardly "New York Democrats" returning "an unjust verdict."

Eric said...

I'm glad we're focusing on the very narrow subject of the legal case. Because, you're right, in a strictly legal sense it's a very high bar to clear to show actual malice.

But for the cost of some lawyers, we get to hear the NY Times - the vaunted Paper of Record - explain how they printed an editorial that could have been refuted with a Google search.

How impervious is the echo chamber at the Times? Let's find out.

Malice B. Toklas said...

I'm glad we're focusing on the very narrow subject of the legal case.

You linked to the Powerline article.

It asserts the Times is in legal trouble, describes the respective legal positions of Palin and the Times in their courtroom hearing, calls it "a textbook case" (maybe they meant a math textbook?), proposes a future line of argument for the trial, defines the legal standard for malice, assesses Palin's lawyers' chances of meeting that standard, and complains about the jury pool and the venue.

Forgive me for reacting to that article with a legally-minded rebuttal.

Eric said...

I linked to the Powerline story as further evidence to the liberal media narrative and echo chamber as detailed in the first article.

Malice B. Toklas said...

Sorry, I did see the American Conservative's gripe about "those guys... those guys over on the other side... yeah, THOSE guys have an echo chamber and blame their opposition for everything." I just thought it was too tiresome and irony-oblivious to care about.

Powerline did some of that griping too, but their article mostly concentrated on the writer's own "wishing well" ideas and fancies about libel law.