by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jul 6th 2009 1:09am
I'm hoping the comments here don't turn into a political snowball fight that does no one any good. Personally, I don't care much about "politics" or political parties, and there are few things I could care less about than why Sarah Palin resigned from her job as Governor of Alaska. However, what does interest me is the news that apparently her lawyers sent a letter threatening to sue the press for writing anything defamatory about Palin, specifically mentioning some of the speculation found on various blogs about why she suddenly quit. It's difficult to understand the thinking behind sending such a letter. People will speculate -- it's what they do, and it's perfectly legal. Defamation is declaring something that's patently false as fact, and I don't see any mainstream news sources doing that. But, speculating on the reasons why it might have happened isn't defamation. Even worse, as Jay Rosen notes, in sending such a threatening letter, Palin's lawyers have just "legitimized the story." Now the press has even more to cover, in that they can simply report on the legal threat, and explain the "speculative" stories behind it. Pre-threatening the press not to report on some speculation found on blogs seems like a sure-fire way to get coverage of that story you're trying to suppress.
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