Catholic School Teen's Lawyers File $250M Defamation Suit Against The Washington Post; Fail To List Any Actual Defamation

from the pro-se-but-for-retained-legal-representation dept

Lawsuits were threatened after students from a Kentucky Catholic school were portrayed as engaging in racist behavior during an anti-abortion march at the nation's capital. An edited video swiftly circulated the internet, showing student Nick Sandmann facing off with a Native American protester while wearing a seemingly-smug file on his face and a Make America Great Again hat on his head.

More footage of the incident appeared later providing a bit more context, making the obvious racism seem less obvious. But the Twitter ship had sailed and there was little hope of turning it around. Lessons could have been learned from rushing to judgment, but Nick Sandmann and his family's lawyers have decided this lessons should be taught via libel lawsuits. They've got an uphill battle as nearly everything said about Sandmann and the incident was protected opinion, but a lack of credible arguments has never prevented lawsuits from being filed.

As Buzzfeed reports, one of the first targets is the Washington Post. Sandmann's complaint [PDF], composed by attorneys Lin Wood and Todd McMurtry, is about half op-ed, half federal complaint. Here's the lead off:

The Post is a major American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C. which is credited with inventing the term "McCarthyism" in an editorial cartoon published in 1950. Depicting buckets of tar, the cartoon made fun of then United States Senator Joseph McCarthy's "tarring" tactics of engaging in smear campaigns and character assassination against citizens whose political views made them targets of his accusations.

In a span of three (3) days in January of this year commencing on January 19, the Post engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism by competing with CNN and NBC, among others, to claim leadership of a mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified, and threatened Nicholas Sandmann (“Nicholas”), an innocent secondary school child.

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 (“Phillips”), a known Native American activist, who beat a drum and sang loudly within inches of his face (“the January 18 incident”)

Moving along…

The Post ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump (“the President”) by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President.

[Scrolls to the bottom of the filing to make sure it wasn't composed by Larry Klayman...]

In this country, our society is dedicated to the protection of children regardless of the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, or the cap they wear.

But the Post did not care about protecting Nicholas. To the contrary, the Post raced with a reckless disregard of the facts and truth because in this day and time there is a premium for being the first and loudest media bully.

The Post wanted to lead the charge against this child because he was a pawn in its political war against its political adversary – a war so disconnected and beyond the comprehension of Nicholas that it might as well have been science fiction.

Let's just try to find the factual allegations. It's established that Sandmann's lawyers wish to offer their opinion that the Washington Post is a bully that targeted Nick Sandmann because he supported a president the Post dislikes. But that's all that's been established -- despite the use of the term "defamation" here and there -- by the time the lawsuit drops its first mention of damages. Some weird eye-for-an-eye demand is being made by Sandmann's attorneys.

In order to fully compensate Nicholas for his damages and to punish, deter, and teach the Post a lesson it will never forget, this action seeks money damages in excess of Two Hundred and Fifty Million Dollars ($250,000,000.00) – the amount Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, paid in cash for the Post when his company, Nash Holdings, purchased the newspaper in 2013.

Eight pages in, we finally have an allegation that doesn't sound like an angry blog post:

On January 19, 20 and 21, the Post ignored the truth and falsely accused Nicholas of, among other things, “accost[ing]” Phillips by “suddenly swarm[ing]” him in a “threaten[ing]” and “physically intimidat[ing]” manner as Phillips “and other activists were wrapping up the march and preparing to leave,” “block[ing]” Phillips path, refusing to allow Phillips “to retreat,” “taunting the dispersing indigenous crowd,” chanting “build that wall,” “Trump2020,” or “go back to Africa,” and otherwise engaging in racist and improper conduct which ended only “when Phillips and other activists walked away.

Seems straightforward except for a number of inconvenient facts. As the lawsuit admits, these reports were based on an edited video that led many, many people to the same conclusions. The lawsuit claims the Post acted carelessly by not acting on information it became aware of four days after it published its first article.

By January 23, the Post conceded that the @2020fight account that was largely responsible for the edited video going viral on social media may have been purchased from Shoutcart.com for that specific purpose.

With no investigation into the @2020fight account, the Post actively, negligently, and recklessly participated in making the 2020fight Video go viral on social media when on January 19 at 9:21 a.m., Post reporter Joe Heim re-posted the 2020fight Video.

The lawsuit says the Post recklessly published a piece on the incident on January 19th, four hours after the edited video went viral. Somehow this is defamatory because the Post "recklessly" did not act on information it didn't have (the extended video posted a day later) prior to publishing this article. Then the lawsuit wanders off to discuss the investigation of the incident by a firm hired by the Catholic school Sandmann attends, as though this should have some bearing on an article published prior to an investigation the Washington Post wasn't involved with.

When it comes to narrow down the alleged defamation, the lawsuit somehow gets even worse. It spends four paragraphs enumerating "false and defamatory gists" -- a legal concept usually offered as a defense, rather than an accusation. Then it accuses the Washington Post of defaming Sandmann by publishing statements made by other people to the Post reporter.

In its First Article, the Post published or republished the following false and defamatory statements:

(a) The headline “‘It was getting ugly’: Native American drummer speaks on the MAGA-hat wearing teens who surrounded him.”

(b) “In an interview Saturday, Phillips, 64, said he felt threatened by the teens and that they suddenly swarmed around him as he and other activists were wrapping up the march and preparing to leave.”

(c) “Phillips, who was singing the American Indian Movement song of unity that serves as a ceremony to send the spirits home, said he noticed tensions beginning to escalate when the teens and other apparent participants from the nearby March for Life rally began taunting the dispersing indigenous crowd.”

(d) “A few people in the March for Life crowd began to chant ‘Build that wall, build that wall,’ he said.”

(e) “‘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.’”

(f) “‘It clearly demonstrates the validity of our concerns about the marginalization and disrespect of Indigenous peoples, and it shows that traditional knowledge is being ignored by those who should listen most closely,’ Darren Thompson, an organizer for the [Indigenous Peoples Movement], said in the statement.

(g) “Chase Iron Eyes, an attorney with the Lakota People Law Project, said the incident lasted about 10 minutes and ended when Phillips and other activists walked away.”

(h) “‘It was an aggressive display of physicality. They were rambunctious and trying to instigate a conflict,’ he said. ‘We were wondering where their chaperones were. [Phillips] was really trying to defuse the situation.’”

(i) “Phillips, an Omaha tribe elder who also fought in the Vietnam war, has encountered anti-Native American sentiments before . . . .”

From there, it discusses about a second article by the Washington Post, alleging it was somehow defamatory for the Post to publish a statement from the Covington Diocese decrying the teen's behavior. It also says a third article from the Post was defamatory -- again listing only things other people said to the Post's reporter. Then there's more stuff about "defamatory gists." And on it goes for several more pages, highlighting each Post article about the subject while failing to point out any defamatory statements actually made by the Washington Post.

This is a garbage lawsuit. It makes zero credible defamation accusations, spending its entirety either stating its own opinions about the paper or attempting to hold it legally responsible for statements made by other people. It's not winnable. Its sole purpose appears to be to exist loudly, hoping to create a deterrent effect simply by banging about the place self-importantly. It will go nowhere, but it will do so as noisily as possible. If this is all Sandmann's parents wanted from their legal representation, they should have accepted the pro bono offers being made, rather than sink money into this ostentatious waste of time.

Filed Under: defamation, free speech, jeff bezos, lin wood, nick sandmann, protest, todd mcmurty
Companies: washington post


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    Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 8:08am

    The lawsuit says the Post recklessly published a piece on the incident on January 19th, four hours after the edited video went viral. Somehow this is defamatory because the Post "recklessly" did not act on information it didn't have (the extended video posted a day later) prior to publishing this article.

    Umm... yeah? In this context, that is the very definition of reckless. There was more information that was relevant to the story, and they did not wait until they had that information, even though any competent journalist should reasonably have known that more relevant information would come out soon because that's what always happens in cases like this! But instead of waiting and making sure they got the story right first like a responsible journalist would do, they rushed to publication (and to judgment) and smeared the kid like they were some sort of cheap supermarket tabloid.

    If that's not reckless, what is?

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    • icon
      John Roddy (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:20am

      Re:

      Umm... yeah? In this context, that is the very definition of reckless.

      Since when is it reckless to not include information that you don't know you don't have?

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:53am

        Re: Re:

        When you're in a situation where all relevant past experience ought to tell you that that information is out there and will most likely emerge within a few days at the most. Which is exactly what happened in this case, just as it always does.

        Reporters, of all people, ought to be familiar with the maxim that a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth is even finished putting on its shoes!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:52am

      Re:

      Oh, how long did they need to wait before publishing the information they already had available?

      For one more video? Two more? Ten more?

      For one day? Two days? A week? A month?

      You don't know what journalism is.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:59am

        Re: Re:

        I think it is reasonable to wait till 100% of the details are known. I will be creating my own news site to show how it can be done. Currently just waiting on that story that I will have 100% of the details.

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        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:40am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You can always tell the person in the argument who knows they've got nothing: they're the first one to abandon logic and reason and turn to mockery as a desperate attempt to distract the audience from the paucity of his position.

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          • identicon
            Baron von Robber, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Satire is a legitimate form of debate. And you are deserving of mockery. He did both in one post.

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          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Their point is solid(if you have to wait until you have all the details, then you're not going to be able to report on squat), yours, not so much.

            Now personally I'm interested in seeing you quantify your position by answering the person they responded to, asking how long they(WaPo) should have waited and how many other videos they should waited to see before reporting on the matter, keeping in mind it's always possible that there will be unknown data that could change the interpretation/situation currently believed to be accurate.

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            • icon
              Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              At no point did I say "100% of the details" or anything even close to that. If someone is going to disagree with what I said, I can respect that, but if they're going to come up with a ridiculous strawman that was not at all what I said and try to mock it, I'm going to call them on it. It's dishonest and it's lazy.

              What I said was that there was obviously going to be more to the story, because there always is, and for them to fail to take that into account--particularly on a story that ends up damaging someone's reputation!--is the very definition of reckless journalism.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:08pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You don't even comprehend what you're typing.

                You want reporters to wait for "more to the story" because there "always is."

                Somehow, you can't grasp that this is an impossible standard that you want reporters to follow.

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                  Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:19pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You don't comprehend what I'm typing. Because all you're doing here is restating the original trollish point that I literally just took apart.

                  An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:32pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    You don't comprehend what I'm typing.

                    Did you consider that's because what you're typing doesn't make sense?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:57pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    You took it apart...by repeating the exact same thing.

                    This really isn't complicated: your argument falls apart under even basic scrutiny, at which point you throw a tantrum.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2019 @ 1:49am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "You don't comprehend what I'm typing. Because all you're doing here is restating the original trollish point that I literally just took apart."

                    delusional

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:12pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                What I said was that there was obviously going to be more to the story, because there always is..

                Sure Mason. If we follow your thought process, we'd have no reporting on anything Hillary Clinton could possibly be accused of since there'd always be more information available.

                Your argument is seriously full of shit here.

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              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:22pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You said it was 'reckless' of them to report on the matter before knowing all the details, under what appears to be the idea that they should have known that there would be more details that would change the underlying story. Since there will always be the possibility of currently unknown details becoming known later changing a story it may be hyperbolic to spin it as needing to know ''100% of the details' before it's no longer 'reckless' to report, but not by much.

                That said, I'm still looking for answers to the question the AC asked and I repeated in order to better draw the line between 'reckless' and 'not reckless'. How long should they have waited before reporting on the matter, and/or how many videos should they have waited to see?

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                • icon
                  Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:35pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You said it was 'reckless' of them to report on the matter before knowing all the details

                  No, I did not. I said it was reckless of them to report on the matter before knowing any of the details beyond the original video. They had one side of the story and nothing else, and instead of investigating and digging into it and finding out anything else at all, they rushed to publish.

                  That's not journalism; it's gossip, and malicious gossip at that.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:45pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Now you're just digging.

                    Where is the line between "enough details" and "not enough details" to write a story for the local paper?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:50pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    They had one side of the story and nothing else, and instead of investigating and digging into it and finding out anything else at all, they rushed to publish.

                    Damn right Mason! We need to hear both sides of the story prior to publishing!

                    I for one would suggest not publishing any details about anyone getting arrested until after a trial and conviction. Because by publishing only the police's side of the story, we're missing out on important details the other side might have to offer.

                    And if that person's out on bail and living next door to you, so be it. Small price to pay so you get the whole story the first time.

                    Does your idea still seem good now?

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                  • icon
                    That One Guy (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:10pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I'll just copy/paste the second half of my comment then shall I?

                    That said, I'm still looking for answers to the question the AC asked and I repeated in order to better draw the line between 'reckless' and 'not reckless'. How long should they have waited before reporting on the matter, and/or how many videos should they have waited to see?

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                    • icon
                      Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:24pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      More than zero!

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                      • icon
                        That One Guy (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:28pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Which is not in any way a useful answer, as I'm looking for an actual metric that would still allow reporting on current, ongoing events.

                        How many hours/days, how many videos? I'm not looking for specific numbers, a general ballpark number will suffice.

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                        • icon
                          Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:32pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          And I'm refusing to play that game. The way this works is that you get someone to commit to something specific, and then pull out a carefully-chosen example to make that look ridiculous, thereby discrediting them. Even if it's not what you, specifically, are trying to do, do you really think none of the other people on here would do exactly that?

                          My argument is that you do not need to know precisely where the line is in order to recognize that certain extreme examples (such as this one) are waaaaaaay off on the wrong side of it!

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:59pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            And we're back to your usual trick, which is to make an argument and then run away as soon as anyone challenges the details, which you refuse to provide.

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                            • icon
                              Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:16pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              My "usual trick" is to make principled arguments. You appear to be back to yours, which is demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of the concept of a general principle in the abstract, and how adherence to them can be valuable even in specific situations where they might produce an outcome you find unfavorable.

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                              • icon
                                Toom1275 (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:30pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                And there's your classic projection.

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                              • icon
                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 3:37pm

                                My "usual trick" is to make principled arguments.

                                Then make an actual argument about the principle of how long journalists should have to wait before reporting on a given story.

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                              • icon
                                Thad (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 4:57pm

                                Re: tl;dr

                                You know, Mason, when multiple people make similar criticisms about your behavior, the wise thing to do is to consider that there may be something to those criticisms.

                                If you're bluffing on purpose, it's not working; nobody's buying it; you look like a fool.

                                If you're not actually aware that you're doing it, then perhaps examine your behavior and see if you can figure out why multiple people have observed a pattern of coming in, stating a firm position, refusing to answer very simple questions about that position but doubling down on it anyway, and then responding to criticism by becoming belligerent, running away, or both.

                                Maybe you should put less of a priority on getting the first comment and more of a priority on thinking things through before you form an opinion.

                                You know, exactly the thing you're saying the Washington Post should have done.

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                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 6:50pm

                                  Re: Re: tl;dr

                                  The Covington teens, gun-happy cops, Brett Kavanaugh, Gavin McInnes, "censored" right-wing voices on social media...

                                  Let's be honest: the subjects of Mason's stunningly bad takes exhibit, shall we say, a pattern.

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                                  • icon
                                    Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:10am

                                    Re: Re: Re: tl;dr

                                    Yes, there's a real pattern there, but it's not the one you're insinuating. Namely, there's a pattern of Techdirt stories covering cases where people "on the right" are treated unfairly.

                                    When we have stories on here about modern-day lynch mobs going after people "on the left," you'll see me here in the comments defending them just as strongly. But I haven't seen a story like that in a while. Have you?

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                                    • identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:34am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: tl;dr

                                      Yes, there's a real pattern there, but it's not the one you're insinuating.

                                      Yes it is.

                                      Go ahead, explain your defense of Kavanaugh again.

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                                    • icon
                                      Toom1275 (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:55pm

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: tl;dr

                                      Yes, there's a real pattern there, but it's not the one you're insinuating. Namely, there's a pattern of Techdirt stories covering cases where people "on the right" are treated unfairly.

                                      [Asserts facts not in evidence]

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                                  identicon
                                  Prinny, 22 Feb 2019 @ 11:21am

                                  Re: Re: tl;dr

                                  It's not just what's being said, dood, it's who's doing the saying. They say you can judge a man by his enemies. If the people consistently opposing Mason are you, Steven Stone, and the rest of the local feces-flinging hate monkey mob, that ranks him pretty highly, dood!

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 6:33pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                adherence to them can be valuable even in specific situations where they might produce an outcome you find unfavorable

                                But you refuse to actually own up to any of the unfavorable outcomes your principles produce - you just get extremely defensive and hostile and then leave whenever they are mentioned.

                                Nobody is impressed by a man of principle who runs and hides from the consequences of those principles. Many would call that pathetic and cowardly rather than calling it "principled" at all.

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                                • icon
                                  Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:21am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  Excuse me?

                                  First off, someone hiding behind an AC tag has no right to call somebody going by their real name while expressing controversial opinions cowardly. Zero.

                                  Second, define "own up." Yes, I understand that these principles may, at times, produce unfavorable outcomes. If I didn't, I wouldn't have mentioned that fact right there in the thing you quoted. But I also understand something that the people on here who appear to be arguing in favor of situational ethics don't seem to get: a principle-guided life, (if guided by good principles, of course) produces more good outcomes than bad ones.

                                  If nothing else, there's one point that ought to be utterly obvious to anyone with the mental maturity of an adult: if you abandon your honor and do underhanded, dirty things to your opponent, even to gain what appears to be a desired outcome, you are legitimizing those tactics to be used against you in the future. That's what's at the root of most of my arguments on here: de-escalation. Don't let this garbage become mainstream. When people are despicable enough to employ them, make an example out of those people to show that we do not consider cheating and dirty tricks acceptable, that we're still better than that.

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                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:29am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    First off, someone hiding behind an AC tag has no right to call somebody going by their real name while expressing controversial opinions cowardly. Zero.

                                    Aww is that so? Is that the rule, is it? Did I violate the rule? You going to go tell on me? Get me disqualified from your debate?

                                    Grow the fuck up, man.

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                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:44am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    If nothing else, there's one point that ought to be utterly obvious to anyone with the mental maturity of an adult: if you abandon your honor and do underhanded, dirty things to your opponent, even to gain what appears to be a desired outcome, you are legitimizing those tactics to be used against you in the future. That's what's at the root of most of my arguments on here: de-escalation. Don't let this garbage become mainstream. When people are despicable enough to employ them, make an example out of those people to show that we do not consider cheating and dirty tricks acceptable, that we're still better than that.

                                    Right - like bogus libel lawsuits. Except that's already mainstream, and there's an army of assholes like you defending it (well, as long as the person filing the lawsuit is a one of the MAGA jackasses that you love)

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                                wereisjessicahyde (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 8:50pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                Funny how you never seem to get upset when it seems to be left wing issue that are slighted.

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                                  Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:12am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  When was the last time you saw a story on Techdirt that would allow you to test that theory? Maybe it's just too early right now, but I can't recall anything recently about left-wing people being the victims of this sort of lynch mob. Can you?

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                                wereisjessicahyde (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:34pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                ".general principle in the abstract, and how adherence to them can be valuable even in specific situations where they might produce an outcome you find unfavorable."

                                Meaningless word salad.

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                                • icon
                                  btr1701 (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 3:39pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  Meaningless word salad.

                                  It seems to have a perfectly clear and relevant meaning to me.

                                  Maybe you're just having a stroke or something?

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:17pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            So it’s your personal judgement of not enough information to go on. Versus a trained professional’s personal judgement with presumably decades of experience who decided to run the story. Yeah bro I’m going with the person with a degree(s) in journalism. Keep digging though. It’s entertaining watching you try to make other people abide your personal biases while you pretend that’s not what you’re doing while everyone calls you out on it. On a related note you still a proud boy or did you resign your membership?

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                          • icon
                            That One Guy (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 5:19pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Bloody hell, it's bad enough when John pulls that stunt(and he's reached auto-flag for that, and similar things), and now you're doing it again?

                            Well, thanks for demonstrating it's a waste of time to try to get you to back up claims if doing so requires some gorram specifics(or even general ranges) rather than vague 'you'll know it when you see it' rot.

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 6:31pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            The way this works is that you get someone to commit to something specific, and then pull out a carefully-chosen example to make that look ridiculous, thereby discrediting them.

                            Mason, for the love of god, it's not a "game" - it's called exploring an idea and its implications in greater detail.

                            It is so telling that you perceive the basic examination of an idea as some sort of scheme to fuck you over. Shows how much faith you have in your own intelligence.

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                      • identicon
                        TFG, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:28pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Four hours is more than zero. I'd suggest providing an actual answer.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2019 @ 1:51am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "More than zero!"

                        wigglin' much?

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:08pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "under what appears to be the idea that they should have known that there would be more details that would change the underlying story."

                  Yes...basic journalism 101 is to TALK to both sides before publishing if at all possible. Did WaPo or any of the other mainstream publications that smeared the Covington kids do any of that? Nope is the only correct answer.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:23pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Yes...basic journalism 101 is to TALK to both sides before publishing if at all possible.

                    Interesting. So how would you apply this standard to a live news report?

                    Active shooter? No live coverage until we hear from both sides.

                    President Shitforbrains wants to deliver a message? No live coverage until we get the response from anyone not on the same page as him.

                    Do you see yet how your proposed Journalism 101 standard doesn't work for shit?

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                  • icon
                    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:40pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "Failure to follow basic tenets of journalism" is not an actionable tort.

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                      identicon
                      Prinny, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:55pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Maybe not as such, dood, but reckless disregard for the truth is!

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                  • icon
                    Mike Masnick (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:47pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Yes...basic journalism 101 is to TALK to both sides before publishing if at all possible.

                    This is true for SOME types of news stories, but nowhere is it a requirement. If you are reporting on what is seen in a video, then it is reasonable to report on what appears in the video. And the question of speaking to "both sides" certainly has no bearing on the question at issue in the lawsuit.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:09am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      The idea is to get the whole story in case what they run with is libelous. They're free to run with the story, but at the risk of being sued if they get it wrong, hence the general principle of waiting.

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                • icon
                  SteveMB (profile), 24 Feb 2019 @ 10:03am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Since there will always be the possibility of currently unknown details becoming known later changing a story it may be hyperbolic to spin it as needing to know ''100% of the details' before it's no longer 'reckless' to report

                  It's not hyperbolic at all; in fact, it understates the absurdity of MW's argument. Even if a news publisher does have 100% of the relevant details, MW's standard would still require them to hold publication until they can prove that there is no more relevant information out there somewhere.

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              • icon
                SteveMB (profile), 24 Feb 2019 @ 10:00am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                At no point did I say "100% of the details" or anything even close to that.

                Yes you did:

                There was more information that was relevant to the story, and they did not wait until they had that information

                A policy of waiting because there is "more information" out there inherently requires waiting until "100% of the details" are in. QED.

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          • icon
            JMT (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            To be fair your stance deserves a little mockery. It's like you've never heard the phrase 'breaking news' before.

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            • icon
              Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:05pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Oh, I have. All too many times. As I said above, that doesn't mean I have to accept that it's right just because I know it's a real thing that exists.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You can always tell the person who is just wrong, because it's you.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Reductio ad absurdum is a valid form of argument.

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            • icon
              Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I was about to point out how both of you appear to not know what that actually means, despite linking to the definition. Then I looked at the article and was very sad to find out that someone screwed it up several years ago and it's been sitting like that ever since. That's really annoying!

              What reductio ad absurdum actually means is demonstrating that a logical absurdity (aka a contradiction) follows from a premise, and therefore that premise cannot possibly be true. For example, "there's no such thing as the biggest natural number, because if there were such a number, I could add 1 to it and have an even bigger number."

              It doesn't mean "reducing" an argument to an "absurd" (aka silly) looking strawman. That's not a valid form of argument and never has been.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:43pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Wait for more details is an open ended wait, especially as something that changes how an incident is viewed may not come out for years or until science gives the tools to find out some truth. Hence Reductio ad absurdum was being employed, and just because videos that changed the story came out a few hours or days latter does not mean they would have if the papers had waited.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:00pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Wow, you're really just incapable of admitting that you're wrong.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:20pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                “I was about to point out how both of you appear to not know what that actually means, but I am waiting for more information to come out.”

                Fixed that to your standards bro.

                You are welcome.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 6:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                For example, "there's no such thing as the biggest natural number, because if there were such a number, I could add 1 to it and have an even bigger number."

                I'm actually kind of impressed by the fact that you found an example from the world of mathematical logic that is nearly identical to the point people are making to you, and which you think you're discrediting. Yes, there can be no biggest natural number - just as there can be no "complete" news story.

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              • icon
                SteveMB (profile), 24 Feb 2019 @ 10:11am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                For example, "there's no such thing as the biggest natural number, because if there were such a number, I could add 1 to it and have an even bigger number."

                I'm waiting to see if there is any more information out there before jumping to any conclusions on this.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 6:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You can always tell the person in the argument who knows they've got nothing: they're the first one to abandon logic and reason and turn to mockery as a desperate attempt to distract the audience from the paucity of his position.

            I dunno, in my experience a much more likely suspect is the first person to start policing the means of argument, and to attempt to declare victory on the basis that someone broke their "rules" of discourse.

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      • icon
        wereisjessicahyde (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:35pm

        Re: Re:

        An investigation must be investigated with orders pertaining to the investigation signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.

        Only then may a provider of news be able to publish said news based on the information at hand post-investigation.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:53am

      Re:

      Smeared him with his words and deeds. How recklessly horrible. Also I don’t quite remember a tort for “reckless” can you point me to one bro?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:54am

      Re:

      There was more information that was relevant to the story, and they did not wait until they had that information, even though any competent journalist should reasonably have known that more relevant information would come out soon

      If it was "reckless" to publish without having all the relevant information, then we wouldn't have found out that JFK was assassinated until 54 years after it happened.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:57pm

        Re: Re:

        we wouldn't have found out that JFK was assassinated

        Wait, what! How did I not know this, I only use the most reputable new sources!

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    • identicon
      Anon E Mouse, 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:59am

      Re:

      Your own post is reckless, because you are not including information you have no idea about and might not even exist.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:06am

      Re:

      Tell me about this newfound disdain for "reckless" behavior.

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

    • identicon
      Michael, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:10am

      Re:

      The obvious problem here is that the kid could have set the record straight before the Post article even printed (they weren't even close to the first to write about this).

      Instead he chose to wait a few days to consult with lawyers and PR people.

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    • identicon
      TFG, 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:18pm

      Re:

      Hey Mason. The Washington Post continued to post stories on this, including the [results of the fuller investigation into the whole incident] (https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/diocese-reverses-course-clears-covington-catholic-high-scho ol-students-of-wrongdoing-after-investigation-of-viral-incident-on-mall/2019/02/13/c11195f8-2fa7-11e 9-8ad3-9a5b113ecd3c_story.html?utm_term=.1a7368bcd94a).

      Notably in this particular article, all the WaPo does is report what people are saying about it.

      Unfortunate the Wapo's paywall is preventing me from digging to find the original article, but there is an [interview with the Native american depicted in the clip] (https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/01/20/it-was-getting-ugly-native-american-drummer-speaks -maga-hat-wearing-teens-who-surrounded-him/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.30aa5beeaea1) - and while I can't read it because of paywalls (ugh), it's likely to, again, be a report of what he's said, and thus any defamation would rest purely with Phillips.

      You can dislike the WaPo all you want, but the problem with this suit that actual defamation has not occurred. To support this lawsuit is to support attacks on the press in general, and while the press in general may not be doing what we want them to, slamming them with spurious libel or defamation lawsuits is not the way to fix things.

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

    • icon
      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:49pm

      Re:

      You have a really low bar for recklessness. Fortunately for those engaged in protected speech, the courts aren't generally inclined to use the Wheeler Standard of "zero publication until all the facts are in" to adjudicate lawsuits like these.

      The Washington Post published at least six articles about this incident, strongly suggesting it continued to update its coverage as new facts came to light. This is the opposite of reckless. The newspaper sought comments from people involved in the incident and published the diocese's condemnation of the students' alleged behavior. These are not the acts of an irresponsible press, even if you disagree with the slant of the coverage.

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        identicon
        Prinny, 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:05pm

        Re: Re:

        False equivalence, dood. It doesn't matter all that much what you write after the damage is already done. Just look at how many people still believe in the gist of the original report, despite everything that's come to light since.

        Retractions or updated statements never get the same level of coverage and mindshare as original stories do. This is basic human psychology, dood, and it's super disingenuous to imply otherwise!

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        • icon
          Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 3:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Basic human psychology isn't being litigated here. The accusations in lawsuit say the paper defamed the student. But the only thing the lawsuit details are quotes from people the paper interviewed. You having strong feelings about this doesn't change that fact. And I did not imply anything about human psychology in my response to Mason.

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      identicon
      Prinny, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:56pm

      Re:

      This is just sad, dood. You make an appeal for moderation and immediately get dogpiled by a bunch of Sith dealing in absolutes and extremes. This community is turning more toxic by the day...

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

    • icon
      wereisjessicahyde (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:37pm

      Re:

      "There was more information that was relevant to the story, and they did not wait until they had that information"

      That's some time travel shit going on right there.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:57am

    Funny how he isn’t going after all the other newspapers and journalism outlets that reported all the same based-on-the-originally-released-video facts as the Washington Post reported. Maybe he wants to empty Bezos’s bank account a little before going after all those other journalists with the same vigor and determination~.

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    • identicon
      JarHead, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:21am

      Re:

      Umm, this lawsuit is only the beginning. Around 50 more is on the list, including other news outlets and celebrities (Alyssa Milano & Jim Carrey if I'm not mistaken).

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

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    identicon
    Doctor Burnout, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:00am

    My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

    Only problem with the case is getting it past the "Extreme Legalist" analysis that self-annointed expert minion tries here.

    But IF goes to trial, it WON'T go to trial: WashPo will bargain it down. Not. Winnable.

    Remember, Techdirt predicted the Gawker / Hulk Hogan case WRONGLY too. And today it's Gawker which is a rotting hulk of its former self.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:04am

      Not. Winnable.

      Can you point to a single defamatory statement about Sandmann that was made by Washington Post reporters? If you can, I would agree that WaPo could not win the case. If you cannot, I would wonder what makes you think WaPo would settle when it could fight — and win — the case based on the fact that Sandmann and his attorneys have not shown how WaPo journalists personally defamed Sandmann.

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        identicon
        Doctor Burnout, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:10am

        Re:

        Can you point to a single defamatory statement about Sandmann that was made by Washington Post reporters?

        Well, unless you take the Extreme Legalist position (like minion), it's OBVIOUS that the story WashPol told was FALSE.

        I'm not going to split hairs like defining "defamation" when you're advocating that a prominent national newspaper has zero responsibility in attacking a high school kid.

        WashPo has already lost the case in public and rightly so, as even you admit, now just a matter of geting it on the docket.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:20am

          Re: Re:

          it's OBVIOUS that the story WashPol told was FALSE

          The story was not “false” in the sense that it was a complete fabrication of events. It was “false” (and I use that term charitably) in the sense that it was a story based on a narrow set of facts that were gleamed from watching a single edited video that showed only a portion of the event in question. Reporting known facts is not defamation; neither is having to change that reporting later based on newly discovered facts.

          I'm not going to split hairs like defining "defamation" when you're advocating that a prominent national newspaper has zero responsibility in attacking a high school kid.

          Of course you won’t. You give no fucks about fairness when it involves your ideological enemies. But me? I give a shit about actual details. The Washington Post’s reporting in this situation was flawed and initially incorrect; that much I can grant. But if the legal filing from Sandmann’s attorneys cannot show any actual defamatory statements made by WaPo reporters themselves, and you cannot do the same, I side with WaPo until someone can show me exactly how they defamed Sandmann.

          WashPo has already lost the case in public and rightly so, as even you admit

          I admitted no such thing, and you can stop forcing words into my mouth like they’re your dick.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:14am

            Re: Re: Re:

            That's false-light defamation, which is also actionable. Explicitly false statements are NOT the only basis for a libel action.

            They might be able to say their reporting was opinion based on what they had heard but that's difficult as well. Settlement is very likely in this case.

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            • icon
              allengarvin (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:00pm

              Re: False light defamation

              False light defamation has a higher standard of proof than public figure defamation. They'll have a devil of a hard time making that stick.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:17pm

              Explicitly false statements are NOT the only basis for a libel action.

              Except, yeah, they are, because the truth is an absolute defense against a charge of defamation. If WaPo reported facts — even if the facts were incomplete yet accurate based on the video seen by WaPo staff — it cannot be guilty of defamation. WaPo reported Nathan Phillips’s recounting of the event; unless WaPo reporters put words in his mouth, Phillips said [X] and WaPo reported “Phillips said [X]”, not “WaPo says [X]”.

              What Phillips said, and the factual recounting of the original video, may have hurt Sandmann’s feelings. But hurt feelings do not mean you have been defamed. While you can make an argument that his reputation has been harmed by the original video, the blame for said harm lies with the people who released the video, not with the Washington Post for reporting on it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:32am

          Re: Re:

          “I'm not going to split hairs like defining "defamation"”

          That’s because much like the term “common law” you have no fucking idea what it means. See your next comment below about Smollet for an example of how you don’t have clue one what definition means.

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        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:48am

          Re: Re:

          If that's the line you're drown for WaPo to lose then Fox, Breitbart, TownHall, Daily Caller, etc are all doomed.

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

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      identicon
      Doctor Burnout, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:06am

      Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

      By the way, let's see you excuse Jussie Smollet for defaming at least half of America, besides proving that Extreme Fringe Left will believe any story put out.

      Same thing. The story that WashPo told is FALSE and obviously malicious.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:07am

        Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

        And do you hold all journalism outlets to this standard?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:10am

          Re: Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

          Like the legal standard that says news outlets can actually lie, never mind simply have half a story?

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

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          identicon
          Doctor Burnout, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:13am

          Re: Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

          And do you hold all journalism outlets to this standard?

          Sure.

          You should of course keep in mind that Techdirt is not "journalism" but partisan opinion for entertainment purposes only, yet even so, I try to hold it to The Truth by hooting its stories.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:30am

            Re: speaking of the truth

            Why you still here bro?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

            Keep posting. It's fun to un-hide your comments so I can flag them and hide them again. And being hidden I know there's no point in reading them. Just toss in another flag and hide them again.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 4:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

            Here's the big question, does your opinion carry the same weight as a fact?

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:23am

        let's see you excuse Jussie Smollet for defaming at least half of America

        You seem awfully pleased to watch a Black man’s downfall. Gotta wonder why that is.

        (And no, I will not excuse his actions. He made it harder for real victims of hate crimes — be they based on race, sexual orientation, gender, or religion — to be taken seriously by the proper authorities and the media. But by the same token, I will not openly crucify the man and take pleasure in his suffering like you seem to be doing.)

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:40pm

          Re:

          Accusing someone of racism... typical strategy for someone that has to mindbend to defend the left.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:22am

          Re:

          No such thing as "group libel."

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

        • icon
          btr1701 (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 3:53pm

          Re:

          You seem awfully pleased to watch a Black man’s downfall. Gotta wonder why that is.

          So now it's racist to talk about a lying racist hoaxer who lied about something that easily could have gotten innocent people arrested or even killed, all because he didn't think people were paying enough attention to him despite being a star on a hit TV show?

          The guy is a piece of shit and it's not racist of me to point it out. He's a piece of shit because he's a piece of shit.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

        The story that WashPo told is FALSE and obviously malicious.

        I can't find the original story, but reporters are trained to use language like, "The video shows Sandmann accosting Phillips," or, more likely, "The video appears to show Sandmann accosting Phillips."

        Which isn't false or malicious - that's exactly what the video shows (or seems to); it has merely been edited to do so.

        To prove defamation, the Post would, at the very least, have had to not use that kind of wording (which seems unlikely, given the way that journalists write), or that description would have to be an unreasonable interpretation of the events depicted in the video (which, as it was the prevailing interpretation in multiple news stories, seems unlikely to prevail).

        Does someone have a copy of the WaPo article as originally posted? As I said, I can't seem to find it, and either Tim or Wood and McMurtry didn't do me the favour of including a copy in the complaint.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

          Okay, I think I found the one at issue:

          Here's the claim in the lawsuit:

          On January 19, 20 and 21, the Post ignored the truth and falsely accused Nicholas of, among other things, “accost[ing]” Phillips by “suddenly swarm[ing]” him in a “threaten[ing]” and “physically intimidat[ing]” manner as Phillips “and other activists were wrapping up the march and preparing to leave,” “block[ing]” Phillips path, refusing to allow Phillips “to retreat,” “taunting the dispersing indigenous crowd,” chanting “build that wall,” “Trump2020,” or “go back to Africa,” and otherwise engaging in racist and improper conduct which ended only “when Phillips and other activists walked away.”

          Here are the quotes I can find, in context:

          I cannot find the words "accost," "suddenly," or "physically" in that article, nor "Trump2020" or "go back to Africa," but I've found:

          In an interview Saturday, Phillips, 64, said he felt threatened by the teens and that they swarmed around him as he and other activists were wrapping up the march and preparing to leave.

          Phillips, who was singing the American Indian Movement song that serves as a ceremony to send the spirits home, said he noticed tensions beginning to escalate when the teens and other apparent participants from the nearby March for Life rally began taunting the dispersing indigenous crowd.

          A few people in the March for Life crowd began to chant, "Build that wall, build that wall," he said.

          "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.

          Later:

          Chase Iron Eyes, an attorney with the Lakota People's Law Project, said the Friday incident lasted about 10 minutes and ended when Phillips and other activists walked away.

          So, in that story, which accounts for most of the quotes that were taking issue with, every single one of the "defamatory" quotes are attributed not to the Post itself but to someone being interviewed by the Post.

          Why is it defamatory for the Post to accurately report the remarks of someone that they interviewed? I get why they might want to sue Nathan Phillips or Chase Iron Eyes for defamation for those statements, but why the Post?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

            That'll teach me to click on my linked stories before clicking "Submit."

            Here's the story for context:

            https://web.archive.org/web/20190120191803/http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/01/20/ it-was-getting-ugly-native-american-drummer-speaks-maga-hat-wearing-teens-who-surrounded-him/

            I also forgot to put "to retreat" in bold and close the quote afterwards.

            My kingdom for an edit button.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

            No Section 230 protection for offline publications.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

              Just like the editors of this site are protected by section 230 for what they write. They are protected from liability for what you write by section 230, and without that protection why would they let you post comments?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:32am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

              How does Section 230 come into it?

              Truth is an absolute defense against defamation in US law.

              I can understand what might be untrue (and therefore defamatory) about "the teens and other apparent participants from the nearby March for Life rally began taunting the dispersing indigenous crowd" (to pick one quote). However, that's Phillips' characterization of the encounter, not the Post's.

              Let's assume that the Post didn't put words into Phillips' mouth, and has records of what he said that more-or-less match up to what was reported in that article (if it turns out otherwise, I will immediately withdraw my objections to the defamation suit against the Post).

              If "Phillips said 'X'" is the truth, and truth is an absolute defense to defamation, then how can the Post be sued for defamation for reporting "Phillips said 'X?'" If 'X' is false, then why is the Post liable for truthfully reporting on what Phillips said, rather than Phillips being liable for his inaccurate depiction of events?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:44am

        Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

        This one is like, triple hilarious.

        1) The amount of MAGA hat Trump voters is nowhere near "at least half of America."

        2) If the story was actually true, it would be an indictment of...exactly two people.

        3) The news media that reported the original story based on Smollett's provided information also reported on inconsistencies that arose from his story, and then on the police investigation of his story, and then on the police determination that the attack was staged. This is literally just how reporting works.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:51am

        Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

        let's see you excuse Jussie Smollet for defaming at least half of America

        This just goes to show you have no fucking idea of what defamation means.

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      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:52am

        Re: Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

        What half?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:16am

      Re: My bet is BIG out-of-court settlement.

      Except there isn't even anything in the filing listed as the purported defamation. This is a bit of a problem.

      Hey, it's possible there was something defamatory but, if so, someone did a very poor job for their client.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:29am

      Re: Bro your track record speaks for itself

      “Prenda will appeal and they will win.”

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 4:51pm

        Re: Re: Bro your track record speaks for itself

        Oh, I'd say becoming enshrined in legal history (and the fun isn't over yet, kids!) could be counted as a win. Somewhere, I'm sure.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 6:36pm

        Re: Re: Bro your track record speaks for itself

        You're mixing up out_of_the_blue and horse with no name/Whatever/MyNameHere, but to be fair those two are so hopelessly romantic on an incestuous level I don't blame you for thinking their both conjoined at the hip.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 9:06pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bro your track record speaks for itself

          I thought I might be. But I thought “hey it’s not like he’s gonna remember.”

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bro your track record speaks for itself

            On the contrary.

            He has to remember it so he can dismiss it as yet another of those pesky million anomalies.

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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:05am

    The kind of action that affirms prior prejudice.

    Better to be thought a fool and remain silent something something speak and remove all doubt.

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  • icon
    Zof (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:14am

    Folks seem to think you can pretend all kinds of things are racism or sexual assault that are not. We've got a seriously broken Media with serious mental problems. A red hat isn't automatically racist no matter how moronic a president is. It isn't racism automatically just because your feelings were hurt, or you believed the fake story by the biased nutball.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:35am

      Re:

      And a pillow case isn’t racist calling card until you put it on. I’m sorry you don’t like thing being called racist of rape when they are. Might I suggest that ou go find a safe space back at breitbart if the mean old libbles are hurting your feel feels.

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      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 3:56pm

        Re: Re:

        I’m sorry you don’t like thing being called racist of rape when they are.

        That doesn't even make basic linguistic sense. And who said anything about rape?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:39am

      Re:

      It's such a mystery why you're offended by people pointing out racism.

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

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:10pm

      Re:

      "A red hat isn't automatically racist no matter how moronic a president is."

      You really think it's the color of the hats that was the issue here? You that ignorant?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:19pm

        Re: Re:

        red hats trigger a lot of folks these days, buddy. seemed to be the case here, or at least that is what the Mob Mentality Media jumped on...

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        • identicon
          TFG, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Since we're being deliberately obtuse, I'll spell it out.

          The color of the hat is less important than the "MAGA" printed on it - the slogan itself has been used and has immediately recognizable affiliations with a campaign, and people, that are broadly recognized as and considered to be racist.

          You can argue that they aren't, if you wish, though you'll have an uphill battle. Public perception, regardless of your personal views, is that MAGA is now a signal of "racist."

          The blame for this, in my opinion, lies with the people who coined the slogan and the shit they said.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 3:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            so the acronym for the president's campaign slogan on a red hats trigger a lot of folks these days, buddy. was the case here and what the 24/7 gossip endorses.

            ...but it is not the real problem, just a distraction.

            all nation states are built on racism. you can argue that they aren't, if you wish... why pick and choose your moral discontentment... let's discontinue These United States of America as it was founded by racists... surely we can do better than continue to support such a racist institution as the nation state is!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:39pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well you almost tried...

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

            • identicon
              TFG, 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              so the acronym for the president's campaign slogan on a red hats trigger a lot of folks these days, buddy.

              Yes, because it's being used by those who support racist ideology. The campaign was predicated on fears about immigration that lack a factual basis, rallied around an idiotic idea of building a wall on the southern border and making the other country pay for it, and generally being exclusionist and racist. When the campaign said "Make America Great Again" it was not difficult to realize that in this context, "great" meant "whites only."

              Due to the demonstrated attitudes of those who coined the slogan and used the slogan, the slogan is now tied to racist ideologies, and wearing it is a signal of support for those racist ideologies. Again, if you dislike this, go yell at the people who made it so.

              all nation states are built on racism.

              All or most, certainly. Racism has been a long-standing historical problem, one of the failings of humanity that plagues people of all colors and heritages. Japan has a long history of racism. China has a long history of racism. Same for the US of A. Acknowledging this is correct and right.

              let's discontinue These United States of America as it was founded by racists... surely we can do better than continue to support such a racist institution as the nation state is!

              But this is not. You don't discontinue a government solely due to problems in its origin. If we were doing that, we might as well just take everyone who ever said a racist thing and shoot them, and that's obviously beyond the pale (while there are those who may advocate for this, I consider them to be part of the problem, not the solution).

              When you have a problem, the problem must be acknowledged and worked on. Racism is a problem. It must be acknowledged, recognized, and fought against. Don't discontinue the government, but fight against continued racism in it. Doing so supports the government, because if you can excise the poison of bigotry, you make the body it poisoned stronger.

              I love my country. That means I want it to be the best it can be.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:29pm

        Red hats

        Not all white hoods are Klan, and not all swastikas are Nazi (to the chagrin of some Hindus and Buddhists). But those who wear these things in US culture are expected to know the social risks of doing so.

        (Rainbows too, though hippies and ravers seem less concerned.)

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 4:44pm

          Re: Red hats

          I have a white hoodie (complete with a white hood!) that I've worn in public several times, and never had anyone look at me like I'm some sort of Klansman.

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          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 4:57pm

            White hoods

            One that covers your face and has eye holes like a balaklava?

            Though with an actual white balaklava you might be mistaken for a skier or a Danish ninja.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 1:53am

      Re:

      Ooooh oooh. Can I play too?

      Folks seem to think you can pretend all kinds of things are racism or sexual assault that are not. We've got a seriously broken Media with serious mental problems. A red hat isn't automatically racist no matter how moronic a president is. It isn't racism automatically just because your feelings were hurt, or you believed the fake story by the biased nutball.

      Folks seem to think you can pretend all kinds of things are defamation or libel that are not. We've got a seriously broken litigation system with serious abuse problems. An opinion or statement based on disclosed facts isn't defamation no matter how moronic the statement eventually looks. It isn't defamation automatically just because your feelings were hurt, or you don't like the media's spin on a story because you're a biased nutball.

      What do I win?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 4:29am

        Re: Re:

        It isn't defamation automatically just because your feelings were hurt

        Come on, Mike, that's a strawman argument and you know it. Look back at the historical roots of where the notion of defamation came from. It's not about hurt feelings; it's about damaged reputation.

        I think somewhere along the line, we've kind of lost sight of that. Someone decided that freedom of speech is just so important that the harm engendered by having it restricted outweighs practically any possible harms engendered by abusing it. Someone thought of that, and someone repeated it, and things gradually snowballed to the point where now we've got intelligent people like you giving a full-throated defense of a scenario where a massive, multimillion-dollar entity destroys the reputation of a high school student, causing real, tangible harm to his present and his future, up to and including death threats! You defend this scenario and you mock and belittle people who point out that this is wrong!

        You know the old cliche about missing the forest for the trees? It would seem that we've heard that one enough to get so good at averting it that we fall into the opposite trap. You are so focused on the "forest" of the big picture here that you are missing the trees of the horrific real-world impact this is having.

        The purpose of defamation law is to prevent people from unjustly tarnishing the reputation of others with impunity. Any legal rules of defamation that allow that to happen are badly broken and abuseable, and need to be fixed!

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        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Section 230 allows search engines to tarnish people's reputations in perpetuity, even if it is clear the statements are false (in the US only).

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No.

            Section 230 allows people to upload content that is deliberately false and tarnishes another person's reputation, or is otherwise illegal, without destroying the platform they upload it to, like how a person can attempt a bank robbery without the bank, the building around it, the owner of said building, the city that building is in, and the country that city is in, being responsible for the robbery itself.

            That should be true everywhere because destroying literally anything because someone unrelated to the thing in question did something illegal is idiotic.

            Also, true information can't be defamation, by definition.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:03am

          Re: Re: Re:

          👍👌👏

          Well said.

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 10:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Come on, Mike, that's a strawman argument and you know it.

          It's a strawman to accurately describe the law of defamation and how it will be applied in this case? Oh, do tell!

          Look back at the historical roots of where the notion of defamation came from. It's not about hurt feelings; it's about damaged reputation.

          The historical roots of defamation are not how the courts will judge this case. They will judge by the standards that courts have used to judge defamation cases for decades. I mean, if you want to go to "historical roots" then copyright would be a monopoly right granted by the king to publishers. But, that's not how we use them, right?

          I think somewhere along the line, we've kind of lost sight of that. Someone decided that freedom of speech is just so important that the harm engendered by having it restricted outweighs practically any possible harms engendered by abusing it.

          That's an ahistorical -- and almost absurd -- reading of what happened. What actually happened was that people realized that reputation is an opinion, and it is entirely absurd to punish someone for explaining details about someone that harmed their reputation, because under such a standard accurately portraying someone, or giving your opinion of someone, in a manner that damages their reputation would lead to punishment -- and that would stifle speech massively.

          The Supreme Court understood this clearly and ruled accordingly. As has every court since.

          Justice Thomas's random recent musings aside, there is NO serious movement among judges to change this standard. And your rewriting of history, anonymously in a comment is not changing that either.

          The purpose of defamation law is to prevent people from unjustly tarnishing the reputation of others with impunity. Any legal rules of defamation that allow that to happen are badly broken and abuseable, and need to be fixed!

          This is a laughable construction of the law and one not recognized by any court, but okay. It's also completely unworkable. People tarnish one another's reputation all of the time. You are "tarnishing" my reputation by calling my accurate description of things (in a joke comment) a "strawman." Should I be able to sue you over it? Of course not.

          And, more to the point, the "tarnishment" argument is less and less compelling in the modern era, where everyone has access to ways to get their story out. It maybe made some sense (barely) in the days when there was a limited press and no ability for an individual to respond and explain their side of the story.

          Indeed, the CCH story displays why "tarnishment" is such a laughable concept these days. Within days of the original story going out, more details and other perspectives came out, and many people shifted their opinion. In other words, the marketplace of ideas worked as it should. Making the initial reporting against the law doesn't help. It just leads to silencing people. Your position is anti-free expression and, in my opinion, despicable as supporting the suppression of fundamental freedoms. You are, of course, free to make such silly statements, just as I am free to mock them mercilessly. If that "tarnishes" you, well, too fucking bad...

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        • identicon
          OGquaker, 23 Feb 2019 @ 4:09am

          Re: Re: Re: incorporation of the Bill of Rights

          Thus the 5th reads "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury..." As taught in our grammar schools for a hundred years, an "infamous crime" is where the accusation destroys the reputation, therefor the Secret Grand Jury of peers. Because 'Health and safety laws' subsume the US bill-o-rights; burning down a city block and burning up dozens of children (M.O.V.E. Philadelphia 65 homes, Commissioning the Commander of Presidio to burn SF in 1906 or FBI Vs ATF, Waco & whole LA neighborhoods under 'Gang injunctions') or some Cop dragging you in for some supposed illegal plant; never work again & shunned by family and friends. SCOTUS says the 5th doesn't apply to the States. The damaged reputation is an opium poppy on a USPS stamp & US troops protecting the 800% increase of opium production since 2000. Mike's straw man has been burned at the stake. Blowing up weddings and the reputation of the dead from a trailer on Nellis AFB i will leave for another rant. And, i have zero drugs in my own history.

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    • icon
      allengarvin (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:06pm

      Re: racism

      But it doesn't matter for defamation--calling or implying someone is racist is not a statement of fact. It's an opinion. You need false statements of fact to sustain a defamation claim. That's sorely lacking here.

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  • icon
    Zof (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:16am

    We are starting to see these victims of "woke" media twitter warfare striking back. The best thing that could happen is the Washington Post gets sued out of existence like Gawker did. They are trash.

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    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      I can't look it up right now because I'm at work, but I saw a very insightful video on YouTube a while back lamenting how there's a worthless, not-funny TV show that's been on the air for well over a decade now that's still going on, not on any actual merit of its own, but simply because it's called The Simpsons, which was also the name of a show that was actually pretty funny waaaaaaay back in the 90s, even though the one today is nothing like that show was.

      I'd respectfully submit that they're not the only such cultural institution that's coasting by today on name recognition despite having long since lost the original "spark" that made them worthwhile in the first place.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Toyota, for example. The 20R/22R was an amazing motor. Indestructible. Their engineering was solid. In the mid-70s. They've been coasting on that rep for a very long time now and there is nothing left in their vehicles to warrant continuing. They're crap.

        All of them should die a nice, quiet death such that a decade from now people suddenly ask "I wonder whatever happened to _____."

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 1:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          20R & 22R; yep, you could run them without oil. Never did, but i was told i could. Matt Groening, (The Simpsons) used to to come by my film studio on Ventura Blvd bugging me to help him make rubber rabbits (Life Is Hell) like Gumby. So, that makes me a www green democrat/ or a www green republican/ ? Pro-Bezos or Pro-MAGA ? Gad, i am so lost here

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:29am

      Re:

      This is the problem with many SJW: they can't handle losing a debate or argument, so they resort to defamation, harassment, or outright threats/intimidation.

      The real question is what is at stake here that some people are willing to risk prison or lawsuits just to win an internet argument?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 21 Feb 2019 @ 12:54pm

    Courts take a dim view of minors who are libeled Or slandered.

    There are two things in play here.

    1. Sandman wasn’t a public figure at the time.
    2. Sandmann was 16 at the time, so he is considered a minor.

    Courts take a dim view of minors being slandered or libeled. That’s why you don’t hear a lot of cases about minors and defamation. The Post has an additional hurdle to clear in that most people don’t think it’s right for a teenager to be smeared in the national media for doing something he actually didn’t do.

    You could also make the case that Bolles v Gawker shouldn’t have been lost by Gawker, but we all know how that turned out.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:34pm

      Re: Courts take a dim view of minors who are libeled Or slandere

      Citation needed

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:17pm

      The only “hurdle” that must be cleared by the Washington Post is the one that asks whether any WaPo reporter themselves wrote and published something defamatory. Quoting other people’s version(s) of the same event is not defamatory, no matter how much it may hurt Sandmann’s feelings.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:25pm

      Re: Courts take a dim view of minors who are libeled Or slandere

      Well it’s a good thing that WAPO didn’t slander OR libel him, isn’t it. Otherwise they would be in real trouble.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:42pm

      Re: Courts take a dim view of minors who are libeled Or slandere

      Congratulations, you just put AMI and Fox News out of business. Since by your standard they also defame minors by publishing inaccurate information about them.

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:36pm

    sits back with the popcorn Its fun watching all these internet lawyers telling us how this is a solid case & all actually about Trump. Y'all sound like those lovely people who still think there is a secret pedophile ring operating out of the basement of a pizza place that does not actually have a basement. Even seeing the cops arresting the guy who shot the place up demanding people go into the basement to save the kids flat out saying there is no basement... you still obsess about the basement.

    No matter the outcome (protip: the kids losing because offering no evidence supporting what you claim & expecting it to work only works for POTUS) the battle lines are drawn & we'll blame the liberal courts, who appointed the Judge, the Deep State, and a cast of 1000 other people to blame that we always blame things on.

    Kid got bad media coverage because of the spin applied along the way. The raging hardon here isn't you feel bad for the kid, it is because Mango Mussolini told you the Post is the enemy & you believe him even when he tells you he never said that as they play back the video where he said it. The kid is just a handy way of hiding that you hate the Post because you were told to by a man who dislikes the things he says and does being reported accurately and not with the spin his staff applies later to try to undo the damage.

    If you cared so much about 16 yr olds, perhaps you could show half the fire & brimstone for all of the 16 yr olds who've died in shootings and all the kids who no longer have a chance to make it to 16. But mean newspaper was mean, we have to shout our outrage... dead kids aren't trendy enough.

    DIAFIRL

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:59pm

      Re:

      Could be a false-light case, or maybe they'll settle. It's enough to get a trial, but winning is another story. They also might win nominal damages of $2 like Food Lion did, or Trump's $1 award against the NFL, trebled under Antitrust laws.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:20pm

        Re: Re:

        It's enough to get a trial

        It really isn’t. Sandmann’s attorneys did not point out a single statement made by WaPo writers themselves that could be considered defamatory; practically everything they listed in the filing were statements quoting other people. That might — might — give Sandmann a better case against those people, but it gives him no leverage over the Washington Post. The only reason Bezos would possibly settle a case he could win (or get tossed out before it goes to trial) is…uh…shit, there really isn’t any reason for that.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 8:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Since the students were not public figures beforehand, the students do not have to prove actual malice. That would obviously kill the lawsuit.

          Maybe the (original) headline could be construed as defamatory? It's only a little bit of a stretch.

          "‘It was getting ugly’: Native American drummer speaks on the MAGA-hat-wearing teens who surrounded him".

          That makes it sounds like the teens walked up to him and surrounded him (especially given the context of the article.) That part isn't a quote and doesn't say something like "allegedly"; it presumes as a fact that the teens did this.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So it’s almost like they were reporting breaking news is what you are saying?

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:11pm

            That part isn't a quote

            And you would be wrong. Let’s look at that headline again:

            “It was getting ugly”: Native American drummer speaks on the MAGA-hat-wearing teens who surrounded him

            The headline begins with what is clearly a quoted statement (“It was getting ugly”). The colon and the next three words connect that statement to a speaker — in this case, a “Native American drummer”. The verb “speaks” attributes the quote to the speaker. The remainder of the headline is a description of what the speaker was talking about when he said “it was getting ugly”.

            The headline quotes a Native American drummer describing his thoughts about a situation where he was surrounded by MAGA-hat-wearing teens. It relays a completely factual statement. What is defamatory about that?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You keep asking for proof. People have done a good job explaining the situation and why this lawsuit has merit, but you ignore those people and you only reply to rhetorical statements. Don't bother trolling here, if you're not serious about reading replies to your questions.

          Yes, you are a troll.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:27pm

        Re: Re:

        Or WAPO takes em to the cleaners and they bitch about how unfair the courts are in addition to the mainstream media and open up a fundraiser to grift the rubes. It’s the Murican Way!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:32am

      Re:

      Pizzagate could easily have been a deflection to discredit those who were getting too close to the truth.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 2:09pm

    I'm sure there are "very fine people" on both sides...

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 4:45pm

    The great thing about this case is ...

    The great thing about this case is that it brings awareness to large group of people about what is really going on with our media today. This is roughly the equivalent of being “woke” to a leftist. Waking up and understand that what you read in the newspaper and what you see on TV has very little to do with reality. Waking up and seeing clearly that there is an agenda being pushed by very powerful people, and that agenda is the basis of what they report and how they report it. Waking up to see that a large part of the country already knows this (and is happy about it). When I was a young student, they used to teach “critical thinking” in grade school. That is, read something, think about it, think about who wrote it, why they wrote it, and if it sounds credible to you, based on your experience.

    There was a time, long ago, when this practice of critical thinking was commonplace. Then the government started handing out unlimited money to teachers to babysit our children, and this kind of teaching was replaced with less stressful propaganda and “safe spaces”. Then the government printed a lot of money we didn’t have, shamelessly routed it to people like Bezos, and here we are, with Newspapers that are shamelessly promoting the agenda of a very flawed individual.

    Personally, I was “woke” in the final coverage of the Trump election. When I saw CNN claiming proudly that Trump had no chance because he was inexperienced and had no “ground game” before the votes were even counted, I became critical. When they cried openly after he lost, I understood I was no longer watching a news organization, but a religious organization with a specific political agenda. Since that time, they have only gotten worse.

    Not that I defend Fox News completely, either, they often get it wrong. But the great thing about this case is that perhaps everyone will think a little more deeply about what they hear or what they read, we need more of that and less rush to judgement.

    MAGA. More Critical Thinking. MCT

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 5:00pm

      Re: tl;dr

      the government started handing out unlimited money to teachers

      Stop it, you're killing me.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 5:55pm

        Re: Re: tl;dr

        Ok, maybe my bad - teaching institutions. They handed out unlimited money to teaching institutions in the form of “free” financing. In most institutions, the teachers only got a small cut of the take of “free” government money.

        Thad, you’re a thoughtful fellow. Do you remember the articles on Techdirt that promoted the idea that there is a single “truth”, and there is really no reason to even consider other sides of issues? That the individual opinion of the reader is not important, and that there was no sense in trying to bring a persuasive argument forward, because the “truth” stands inviolate.

        Your comments are usually thoughtful and sometimes persuasive. What do you think of Critical Thinking? Do you think Critical Thinking is promoted here, or repressed here (on Techdirt)?

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 6:09pm

          They handed out unlimited money to teaching institutions in the form of “free” financing.

          [citation needed like daaaaaaaaaaaaamn]

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 6:13pm

            Re:

            According to Make Lemonade, there are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone. The average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 7:24pm

      Re: The great thing about this case is ...

      There was a time, long ago, when this practice of critical thinking was commonplace.

      It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

      During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

      Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy.....

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 9:08pm

        Re: Re: The great thing about this case is ...

        Yes, your post goes to a very real part of the difference between the news media and the entertainment industry. Fantastical stories are fine if they are presented as such, they are fun to watch and harmless. However, fantastical stories that are presented as "News" fact are neither fun nor harmless.

        The fantastical story of that black asshole who wrote a phony script about white Trump supporters putting a noose around his neck and pouring bleach on him and then submitting his script to the police and the public as fact is not harmless. I hope he goes to prison and stays there for some period. Have you considered that even with the publicly disclosed facts, by the Chicago police department, he still has his job and is getting paid his famous actor salary. Wow. Explain that to Rosanne.

        The fantastical story about the Covington student is only slightly less disgusting, the "facts" were completely distorted for the same reasons they were for the black asshole - they fit the narrative about violent Trump supporters. The animus and bias in the media is unmistakable.

        Can anyone tell me the difference between a fantastical Hollywood production and a modern News production? I'll tell you - only one thing: your ability to think. That's it. Use it wisely.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:54pm

          Well, you seem awfully happy about the downfall of a Black man.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 12:24am

            Re:

            It is not his blackness that is at issue. It is the falsity of his claims, and their impact on society. It is the false charge and false image and real fuel fed to the fire of hatred that is at issue. Quit hating so much, asshole.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 4:22am

              Re: Re:

              You kept referring to Smollett not by his name, but by the descriptor of “black asshole”. You brought up Roseanne Barr unprompted. You whined about the Covington boys and implied that Smollett somehow defamed or insulted “white Trump supporters”. For someone who says “it is not his blackness that is at issue”, you sure do a lousy job of hiding it.

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 5:53am

                Re: Re: Re:

                Referring to a gay black man as a “black asshole” is somehow offensive? Call a straight man “a dick” is a very common reference. Why is calling a gay man “an asshole” or a black gay man “a black asshole” uncommon or unusual? Same goes for you, right? If I called you a black asshole, it would be kind of like how one negro can call another negro a “nigger”, because they are black, and that makes the same word innofensive, depending upon who uttered it. Open Racism, in other words. And you’re not a racist, right? So if I call you a black asshole, or a nigger, even, you would not interpret that in the way a racist would interpret it, would you? Because actually, I’m black. Well, I identify as black, nigga.

                Pointing out a gay man’s asshole isn’t demeaning, is it? Any more than call a straight man “a dick” is demeaning. It’s not demeaning, its descriptive and accurate and direct. If you don’t think so, then you’re a racist. Or a homophobe, or both.

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

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:01am

                  I’m White, you racist dumbass.

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

                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:07am

                    Re:

                    But otherwise you agree with me, right? Calling a black gay man a black asshole is no more demanding than calling someone “a dick”. I’ve been called “a dick”, a LOT of times, believe me. I used to manage a staff of about 50 software and electrical engineers, hired and fired, and handed out raises and promotions. I got called a “hard-ass” a lot, too, believe me. I heard about it. Never took much offense, sometimes you’ve gotta do things that some people will not like, oh well, you’re “a dick” or “a hard-ass” in some people’s mind. Or an asshole, maybe I got called that a few times too. I can be a little insensitive sometimes, I acknowledge that. Oh well. You have the right to call me an asshole, I have the right to you an asshole, right? This is America, right, asshole?

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

                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:18am

                      But otherwise you agree with me, right?

                      Goddamn, Hamilton, I though you’d finally fucking left.

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

                      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:28am

                        Re:

                        And I thought you were black. Right? RIght?

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

                        • icon
                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:35am

                          Re: Re:

                          G.F.Y.

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

                          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                            identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:41am

                            Re: Re: Re:

                            The truth is you are all fakers, right? All you guys with over 10,000 posts, you’re no more real than the MAGA attackers that Smollett made up. Fakers, all of you, fake names, fake backgrounds, one lie on top of another. Without fakers, there would be no “radical left”, just a few deluded individuals similar to Smollett posing as people they are not. Just like you pose sometimes white and sometimes black, right, faker?

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

                            • identicon
                              TFG, 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:17am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Hey AC, you're wearing blackface, right? You're painted up like an old-timey play, with the paint all over your face and fake lips on, like a racist asshole would be. You jerk off to the thought of lynch mobs and miss when the KKK sort of ran things. You yearn for the return of Jim Crow laws and segregation, have a confederate flag on your truck, and sleep with a body pillow of General Lee.

                              Every night, you say a prayer to a God that abhors what you stand for, wishing that Lincoln had never made that damnable proclamation that freed those sub-human assholes. You yearn for the days when you could use those slurs instead of having to restrict yourself to "black."

                              Clearly everyone who disagrees with you must be a fake account, set up specifically to mess with you. Clearly you're the center of the goddamn universe, and all this inability to have people licking your boots and your lack of ability to own others is a perdition sent specifically to fuck with you and make your own life hell.

                              Clearly you're a goddamn racist idiot.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2019 @ 2:29am

                      Re: Re:

                      "I’ve been called “a dick”, a LOT of times, believe me."

                      don't have to convince me bro

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

          • icon
            btr1701 (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 4:09pm

            Re:

            Oh, stop it.

            You sound like Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee when she stepped in it and showed off her ignorance on a national stage when she asked the director of NASA why the Mars Rover wasn't landed closer to where the astronauts had landed back in the 60s so we could see the artifacts they left behind.

            When the inevitable mocking ensued, she huffily complained that those making fun were just racists trying to make an accomplished black woman look stupid.

            No, Sheila, you made yourself look stupid because you're stupid. No racism required.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:00pm

          Re: I’ll tell you the difference right now bro

          A felony charge.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: The great thing about this case is ...

          I thought Trump said Mexico was going to pay for the wall. Or arrest Hilary. Those didn't turn out so well now did it?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 11:05pm

      Re: The great thing about this case is ...

      Is this the part where you start telling about how vaccines are murdering our children and we should give them all measles?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 1:49am

      Re: The great thing about this case is ...

      Me thinks you never read a local newspaper in the 1960s or 1970s or ever. " OVER 1,000,000 JAPS PERISH IN TOKYO FIRES 50 SQUARE MILES OF BURNT-OUT CITY New York, May 30, 1945 " (the numbers now are 80-90,000 & 15 square miles)

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

    • icon
      cattress (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 2:55am

      Re: The great thing about this case is ...

      I totally appreciate that you wish to criticize the government; I'm a libertarian so I expect the government to fail and make things exponentially worse even when the intentions and goals were good and principled. However, I criticize the realities of these failures. I don't parrot conspiracy theories, or the ramblings of a sociopath, or concoct some crazy list of people to blame that belies my fundamental misunderstanding of how government and law works. I don't care how old you are, if you went to public school then you were fed propaganda. Our history is filled with flawed individuals and ugly things that we are ashamed of but not so much that we are willing to openly discuss and be criticized for. Your "lessons" in critical thinking were no different than what kids learn today as you were led to conclude what teachers wanted you to. Just because the pendulum has swung the other direction doesn't mean public education has suddenly morphed into an indoctrination machine, it always was. The news is not peddling false information that doesn't reflect reality. It's called perspective and people gravitate towards the reporting that best reflects their perspectives on the world. A story can be factually accurate and biased at the same time. And CNN predicting that Trump would lose was based on poling that was highly respected and historically accurate. But this election cycle was different. They didn't really have their fingers on the pulse of the voters, nor did Clinton. I thought she was going to win but I never counted him out. People cried when he won because he stoked so much hatred and otherism, because he wasn't just inexperienced, but wilfully and stubbornly ignorant. Because if you read any transcript of his interviews or speeches, his incoherence, misinformation and outright lies are so outstanding that one would think they were the ramblings of a schizophrenic if they didn't know better. And as for this case, I certainly think there's room for some slack because the kid is a kid, slack that should be afforded to all kids, not just a white Catholic school boy. But I don't understand how any of the additional footage and context makes his shitty little smirk and passive-aggressive path blocking, while being fully aware that several people were filming this uncomfortable scene, into nothing more than a confused and scared boy that didn't know what to do. He saw the Native Americans music and singing as a joke, not worthy of his respect or reverence, so he stood there smirking and obnoxiously blocking where the man was trying to go (but didn't want to stop his song to say excuse me) as his friends filmed him. Certainly the kid is not deserving of violence or threats, but checking his white privilege for his fully public stunt, absolutely. This lawsuit, all the crying over how he is just an innocent child, deserving of a safe space without drumbeating Native Americans and judgement of mature and empathetic society, means he learns it's acceptable to treat marginalized people however he wants.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 5:42pm

    To my European sensibilities just the act of supporting a racist half-wit like Mr. Trump is enough to count as 'racist behavior', so no defamation, just TRUE FAX.

    Props for audacity, but a blatant attempt at money grab to avoid having to actually work is obvious.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 9:09pm

    Entitlement is a hard thing to give up, posters and catholic school boys alike.

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

  • identicon
    bobob, 21 Feb 2019 @ 10:51pm

    Uh, what is he claiming as actual damages? Was he turned down for a job at mcdonald's? Can he show a loss of future earnings because his "reputation" has been damaged? If not, he has no damages to claim. He has to show that he has some actual damages before he can ask for punitive damages. Hurt feelings and other people thinking bad things because of what someone said, whether true or false, is not grounds for defamation.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 12:20am

      Re:

      Oh I don’t know - do you consider multiple death threats damaging? Do you consider someone depicting you being fed into a wood chipper damaging? Do you have a child? Can I depict them being fed into a wood chipper and then promote that image across the world as what should happen to you child? There is not so much difference between the radical Taliban and the radical Left, is there?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 2:00am

        Re: Re:

        Masnick gets death threats on a semi-regular basis. Same with the wood chipper; it's a masturbatory fantasy of average_joe/antidirt. Yet that doesn't seem to ruffle your feathers, but a judge ruling that the inventor of email cannot be defined and therefore cannot be proven to be Shiva Ayyadurai sure put a massive knot in your thong. Now why is that?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          How would you know what Masnick gets?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's called reading the comments left behind on the site. Granted, I know reading anything on this site is beyond the capabilities of you John Steele fanboys, but type in ''wood chipper'' in search terms and you'll find some.

            Oh, right, I forgot that you sad sacks are allergic to search engines, too. Because Google!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 5:35am

        Re: Re:

        Oh I don’t know - do you consider multiple death threats damaging?

        I'll be sure to send some thoughts and prayers - it works for every other crisis.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 1:45am

      Re:

      I can sue because I didn't get the job I want for loss of future earnings? Jeesh.. America is GREAT! I LOVE MY NEW BUSINESS MODEL!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:41am

      Re:

      Libel per se assumes damages, as does libel against a private individual.

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

      • icon
        allengarvin (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:11pm

        libel per se

        Uh, no. No, it doesn't. Or, well, libel per se eliminates the burden of proof that the statement is damaging, which is slightly accurate, but libel against a private individual emphatically does not.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 1:41am

    @ $250,000,000.00 sounds like they want the Post! Why not take all of Bezos? What's he worth now?

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

  • icon
    wshuff (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 4:05am

    “In this country, our society is dedicated to the protection of children regardless of the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, or the cap they wear.”

    Unless they’re shot in their schools. Those kids are just the price you pay for freedom.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 12:05pm

      Kids shot in schools

      Kids in the US are actually pretty safe from homicide despite the terror we feel seeing rampage killings in the news that occasionally go through schoos. We have more suicides than homicides, and more unintentional deaths than homicides and suicides put together.

      Once we're talking adolescents, the number of suicides skyrockets, as does the number of unintentional deaths.

      So...more safety nets?

      I still think taking mental health seriously would serve to reduce both suicides and rampage killings and may even have an affect on recklessness and thrillseeking, far more than trying to reduce guns, which only makes scarce one means by which teens might express themselves. Take away guns and they'll still be angry and miserable and inclined towards destruction. And there's still and they'll rediscover acetone peroxide and countless readily-available fire accellerants.

      But few people are interested in addressing how we systematically make our kids feel like isolated loner deviants (and perverts, once they start getting sexual interests). Nor do we address how we throw kids under the proverbial bus once signs of abuse or cruelty might jeopardize the institutions we use to contain them. Churches, schools and law enforcement have all been consistent in their desire to make victims disappear rather than besmirch their sacred edifice.

      That seems to set the stage for kids not only killing themselves, but also rampaging against a world that gives no fucks about them.

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

  • icon
    wshuff (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 4:14am

    “If this is all Sandmann's parents wanted from their legal representation, they should have accepted the pro bono offers being made, rather than sink money into this ostentatious waste of time.”

    That assumes that Sandmann is a real person and not a crisis actor.

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

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 24 Feb 2019 @ 9:43am

    There is an acronym for people like this: LIEN

    Litigious Indignant Entitled Narcissist

    They rely others trying to engage in a good faith negotiation (which it turns out isn't possible, because a LIEN's faith is completely self-centered so will never result in a fair compromise). Or barring that giving up and choosing to pay some money up front just to avoid what could end up being a long, stressful, and expensive legal conflict. IP trolls are LIENs. So is Trump.

    I hope that the WaPo will be able to counter-sue (SLAPP even?) and recover damages or set some sort of precedent that might deter such frivolous legal action.

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


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