Clinton Campaign Also Not A Fan Of Free Speech: Sends Legal Threat Letters Over Trump Ads

from the oh-please dept

If there's one thing that the two major Presidential candidates seem to agree on it's that we have too much free speech and all you First Amendment whiners should quiet down. Just this morning, we wrote about Trump threatening a documentary filmmaker with a cease & desist letter (the latest in a fairly long list of defamation threat letters). And it appears that the Clinton campaign is also ramping up its similar legal threat letter business.

Last week, it sent cease & desist letters to broadcasters in Florida who were airing Trump ads that used some footage of Michelle Obama back in the 2008 campaign taking something of a swipe at Clinton. And, just today, the campaign supposedly sent out cease & desist letters to broadcasters airing new Trump ads claiming that Clinton is "under investigation by the FBI."
The letter lists some pro-Trump PACs, including Rebuilding America Now and Future 45, and the titles of ads they are funding.

Elias' letter says that "at no point" did the FBI "reopen" the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails.
Uh, yeah, there's no way in hell that's defamation. Yes, it's inaccurate to say that the FBI "reopened" its investigation, because technically the investigation never closed. But it's perfectly accurate to say that the FBI was investigating things related to Clinton's emails. There's no way in hell that the difference between continuing an investigation and "reopening" an investigation reaches the level of "actual malice" needed to satisfy a defamation claim. And, no, the fact that Comey said that there's nothing new in the emails doesn't change the analysis here. Especially in a political ad, some amount of rhetorical hyperbole is to be expected.

Yes, I know this campaign has been pretty bitterly fought by both sides, and a month ago, Trump threatened to sue Clinton over her campaign ads, but both of them are full of shit, and are blatantly misrepresenting or ignoring how the First Amendment protects speech, including the speech in their opponents' TV ads.

Wouldn't it be nice if one of the two people who will win tomorrow actually respected the damn First Amendment?

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 1:14pm

    We need to get all of them to DC and nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 1:19pm

      Re:

      I see you underestimate the American People's willingness to resurrect their sorry asses!

      You think this election is bad... wait till we see next election!

      In fact, keep a log of how much worse you think each election has gotten juxtaposed to things you once could do that are now illegal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 2:20pm

        Re: Re:

        Oh, come on!

        I mean, this stupidity has got to stop at some point! Not the attack ads, of course, but protecting blatant falsehoods under ther aegis of the First Amjendment. I mean, both parties seem to think that Free Speech under this only applies to them; however, in my opinion, 'Fire!'m doctrine should be applied (from the now famous, fire in a crowded theater' analogy.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 2:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Assuming there will be a next election and we won't be the United States of Hiroshima within Lady Macbeth's first 100 days.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Roger Strong (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 3:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Just like there wouldn't be a next election after Kenyan-born Marxist Muslim Obama seizes everyone's guns and starts a race war.

          And like there wouldn't be an election after Dubya dissolves America in favor of a North American Union.

          And like there wouldn't be an election after Bill taxes and spends the government into bankruptcy and seizes everyone's guns.

          Right-wingnuts love their fantasies.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Padpaw (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 4:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Obama did some very undemocratic things as president though. Are you just going to ignore that because of the party he follows?

            Might blow your mind to know that during the civil war it was the slave owning south states that were mostly democrat, and the union states were mostly republicans that did not care for slavery. Of course there were exceptions but for the most part the south was blue and north was red politically.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 5:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Most KKK members were in fact Democrat! There was a high ranking KKK Member in congress, a Democrat not long ago before he died.

              I have to hand it to Democrats rewriting History like they have. Even with all their large black base in the crappers, and not getting better, in fact worse, they still vote Democrat. Like somehow things will get better for them this time. Obama has been in office for almost 8 years. The first 2 years the Democrats could have done anything they wanted. All they ended up doing is sneaking through the health care law in the middle of the night, and before that telling us they need to pass it to find out what's in it!!! That's been a huge pipe of crap and has screwed me over!!!

              Obama, Dropping TONS of smart bombs onto people, killing many innocent people. Where's Code Pink? They were all over BUSH and at his property protecting, and he did a tiny fraction of bombs Obama has dropped. All I hear now is crickets. It was all political. The vial names Bush and his family were called, and thin skin Obama is always bitching about Fox news. Bush it's Everyone else, Obama, it's Fox News, the Boogie Man.

              Republican's want less Government in your lives. The larger it get's the more corrupt it becomes. People would be up in arms if they actually sat down and starting figuring out all the taxes they pay, and it's never enough. Here in California, we voted for a Temporary Tax increase. It was only suppose to last 12 years or something, and here we are Voting on it again to extend it even longer, because the Government can't live without it!!!

              Government could still 100% of everyone's money and it wouldn't be enough. It's never enough. Why is that? More people, More taxes money coming in. But no, raise taxes higher, and higher, and higher. 50% already pay no Federal Taxes. The other 50%, could pay 100% of their money and not shrink the out of control deficient. It grew higher under OBAMA, then every single president in the past COMBINED!!!

              At some point, the dollar is not going to be worth crap. We'll be another banana republic. It all started when we got off the Gold Standard. That allowed the Government to spend like crazy. Bank Interest rates used to be much better. You could actually just put money into your Savings account and rely on that to Retire. Inflation didn't go up much. So many people don't know this. The whole system is crazy.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Roger Strong (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 7:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              > _Obama did some very undemocratic things as president though._

              The same generic claim can be made with equal truth about ANY President.

              When you actually request details, the most Republicans come up with is the use of executive orders, ignoring that a) they're part of how the system works, b) they're limited; Congress can override them, and c) Obama used them at a lower rate than any President in a hundred years.

              > _Might blow your mind to know that during the civil war..._

              It's common knowledge, discussed even here on this tech forum recently. Would it blow your mind that the civil war was 150 years ago? That rational people put greater weight on a party's modern policies than those 150 years ago? That Republicans' race-baiting and civil rights opposition today trumps 150 or even 50-year-old history?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Thad, 8 Nov 2016 @ 9:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Might blow your mind to know that during the civil war it was the slave owning south states that were mostly democrat, and the union states were mostly republicans that did not care for slavery.

              Who had "Democrats are the REAL racists, because the Civil War" on their Bingo card?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 1:45pm

      Re:

      Modern ICBMs carry multiple warheads. No need to gather them in. Mankind has already built the killing machine you need. #sad!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 6:33pm

      Re:

      Wouldn't work.

      Cockroaches are capable of surviving nukes as I understand it(and if Fallout has taught me anything it just makes them worse), politicians are basically cockroaches in suits, so beyond the busted landscape not much would change I imagine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 7 Nov 2016 @ 1:20pm

    Why the first?

    Wouldn't it be nice if one of the two people who will win tomorrow actually respected the damn First Amendment?

    I mean, it's a nice part of the Bill of Rights. But it's sort of pointless without the rest of the Bill of Rights since they can still just beat you up and throw you into jail when they are in the mood for that when due process is out for lunch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 1:24pm

    Wouldn't it be nice if one of the two people who will win tomorrow actually respected the damn First Amendment?

    Political leaders,, like religious leaders, are pushing their desires as to how other people should behave, and this makes free speech dangerous to their ambitions to shape society in the way they desire.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 1:36pm

      Re:

      "Political leaders ARE JUST like religious leaders..."

      I think you could have just stopped right there... nothing much else needs to be said.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Oninoshiko (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 1:45pm

    Wouldn't it be nice if one of the two people who will win tomorrow actually respected the damn First Amendment?

    Remember, Gary Johnson is still on the ballot in every state...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 1:48pm

      Re:

      I watched a few of his videos.

      I think he would do an even better job than Trump at being stupid and that is hard to top. He hardly inspires any form of confidence as a leader and while I hate Trump as a person more than this guy I would rather have Trump.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 7 Nov 2016 @ 2:00pm

        Re: Re:

        That's like saying you'd rather be struck by lightning than have Ebola. How about getting struck by lightning twice in a row?

        Yes, I know people have survived either, but what kind of standard is that for a presidential election?

        How do the primaries manage to pick the select few from the U.S. population that seriously make you wish for a rabid squirrel (and I am not talking about what Trump has atop of his head) as an alternative?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 5:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "How do the primaries manage to pick the select few from the U.S. population that seriously make you wish for a rabid squirrel (and I am not talking about what Trump has atop of his head) as an alternative?"

          Voting for a party does this. It is its natural outcome. If you have voted for a person that represents a political party then you are part of the blame.

          I have found people that would rather destroy the entire nation than to see their party die or vote against it.

          As Einstein said...

          Two things are infinite, the Universe and human stupidity... and I am not sure about the Universe.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 8:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            > I have found people that would rather destroy the entire nation than to see their party die or vote against it.

            It's the sports mentality applied to politics. People want their favorite "team" to win, no matter what. Besides, it's easier than thinking.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 2:56pm

      Re:

      Gary asks: "OK Google, What's a leppo?"

      The sixth Marx brother after Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 8:54pm

      Re:

      You mean Gary "TPP Supporter" Johnson? How about Fuck No?

      If you can't stand voting for Trump (and I wouldn't blame you), Jill Stein is the only decent option.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 8:34am

      Response to: Oninoshiko on Nov 7th, 2016 @ 1:45pm

      "Wouldn't it be nice if one of the two people who will win tomorrow actually respected the damn First Amendment?
      Remember, Gary Johnson is still on the ballot in every state..."

      I too read that and thought, oh no, Techdirt is promoting the same false dilemma that everybody else is. But I ran through the logic in my head a few times and realized that by "two people who win" he was talking about whomever won the president and vice president votes.

      Perhaps it could have been phrased better, though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    hij (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 2:20pm

    we should be able to do better than this

    one more day
    one more day
    one more day
    ....

    two more years
    two more years
    two more years
    ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 7 Nov 2016 @ 2:27pm

      Re: we should be able to do better than this

      Reminds me of Eddie Izzard's joke about how the world sees us and they say, "What are you doing?"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 2:40pm

        Re: Re: we should be able to do better than this

        Here in Canada we're expecting a "big reveal" tomorrow night that Donald Trump is secretly a still-alive Andy Kaufman in his biggest prank yet.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    UniKyrn, 7 Nov 2016 @ 2:31pm

    "actually respected the damn First Amendment?"

    You mis-spelled "Unites States of America".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 2:42pm

    46 suspicious deaths and counting...Damned skippy I am an Anonymous Coward.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 2:48pm

    Re: actually respected the damn First Amendment

    So your voting Johnson Weld then?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 2:57pm

    Too many innocent people there…

    …too bad they don't have a ranch way out in the country… ‌ ‌ ;]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 3:52pm

    Both will be a tyrant if elected. I seriously doubt either's presidency will be any different from the other when it comes to how much of their constitutional rights the average citizen will lose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 6:33pm

    Hillary is a lawyer and seems to lack the basic understanding of standing. How can her campaign have any valid basis to complain about Trump's use of video of Michelle Obama? Now Michelle might have standing to file a complaint about Trump's use of videos of her but not Hillary. And even then, videos of campaign commentary would seem to be fair game for fair use in other campaign commentary.

    Scary betting opportunity, how soon after Nov 8 someone makes a public announcement that they are forming a 2020 campaign committee?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2016 @ 9:57am

    "Legal Threat" sounds funny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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