If a person as private and unknown as Nick Sandmann can be libeled and slandered in this fashion without any recourse to the courts, then none of us is safe from this abuse at the hands of the media with the collusion of judges who are more interested in currying favor with the right people than administering justice.
In a 36-page ruling, U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman noted that the Post never mentioned Sandmann by name in its initial coverage of the incident, referring only to groups of “hat wearing teens.” Bertelsman added that “the words used contain no reflection upon any particular individual” and thus could not be constituted as defamation. The judge also ruled that the newspaper used language that was “loose, figurative,” and “rhetorical hyperbole” which is protected by the First Amendment.
This is insane. It is now legal for a major newspaper to single out a teenager and label him a racist and generate an online mob to make death threats and to cause incalculable to the kid’s future because this incident will be on the internet forever, visible to college admissions staff and human relations staff, none of whom are the sharpest tools in the shed and could fail to find the resolution of the issue.
The Sandmann family said they would be asking the appellate court to review the trial court’s decision on appeal.
“I believe fighting for justice for my son and family is of vital national importance,” said Ted Sandmann, Nicholas’ father. “If what was done to Nicholas is not legally actionable, then no one is safe.”
“The law must protect innocent minors targeted by journalists publishing click-bait sensationalized news,” Todd McMurtry, co-counsel for the Sandmann family, said in the statement. “This is especially true in the current hyper-partisan political environment.”
Bingo. What the Washington Post did was wrong and they did it for the political hit against Trump and for the f***ing clicks. What this shows more than anything else is how we are now subjects and not citizens. The institutions of government and the large corporations are allies. They protect one another against the powerless and we’re expected to nod at their wisdom and move on. If a person as private and unknown as Nick Sandmann can be libeled and slandered in this fashion without any recourse to the courts, then none of us is safe from this abuse at the hands of the media with the collusion of judges who are more interested in currying favor with the right people than administering justice.
This proves conclusively that the judiciary is partisan, biased and evil. And Judge William Bertelsman is exhibit "A" for what's wrong and needs to be impeached. These are members of the ruling class, protecting each other.
From Ace of Spades:
The Rule of Law Has Been Stolen From You and Replaced With Ruthless Will-to-Power Marxism:
As that lawyer for the Newspaper said in the Paul Newman movie "absence of malice" so they have no case.
Even the absence of malice standard can be met if you knew it was untrue or if you published with reckless indifference to whether it was true or not.
Given that there was a 20 minute video, available when they printed, that showed Phillips to be a liar, and they either didn't bother watching that or did watch it and then reported the lie anyway, they do in fact have legal malice here.
That's why this judge claimed, bizarrely, that it was an "opinion." The Washington Post loses, slam-dunk, on any defamation charge.
So the only possibility to vindicate the Washington Post is to claim the statement is not even capable of being defamatory, because it was mere opinion.
Now, here's the Fact/Opinion distinction: A fact is either true or not true. It can be proven true or false.
An opinion is, well, pure opinion. It's like if I call you ugly -- well, there's no way to say you're definitely not ugly. Even if 90% of the public said that you were in the to 10% of good-looking people, I could find that your features just didn't appeal to me and say you're ugly, and you can't sue me for that.
This is the important thing: You cannot just say "Well it's my opinion that you cheat on your wife" and then claim "it was just an opinion" in court.
Because your opinion made a statement about a fact that could be true or could be false, and you said it was true. True, you added in "In my opinion," but if all it took to be immune to lawsuit was to say "in my opinion," then we'd have no defamation law at all.
Let's face it, any contested fact could be said to just be an opinion.
If I say someone is an idiot, that's just an opinion. Maybe he's an idiot by my standard.
But if I say, "It's my opinion that he's an idiot because he failed his bar exam," well, that first part is opinion, but the second part is a factual claim -- even if the word "opinion" is in the sentence there, somewhere.
Now, in this case, Phillips lied. He said Sandmann blocked his forward movement and taunted him.
These are factual claims. He cannot escape liability for these factual misrepresentations just by saying, "Well, that's my opinion."
Otherwise I could just say "You cheat on your wife and beat your kids" -- factual statements, again -- and then, when hailed into court, I could just say, "Well that's my opinion."
And the judge says, Case dismissed.
Is that how it works? No, of course not. Again, if that's how it worked, there would be no claim of defamation at all, ever, anywhere.
Now, the Washington Post published this false claim of fact without checking its veracity. They are liable for it, then. If a newspaper publishes me saying of you, "You cheat on your wife and you beat your kids," the newspaper cannot evade responsbility for publishing the defamation just by saying, "Well, in the opinion of Ace, that's what we thought."
If it worked this way, again, there'd never be defamation.
But the judge is determined to dismiss the suit -- so he takes a black-letter statement of fact , which can either be proven true or false, and simply says, without any argument supporting his position, "It's opinion and therefore not libelous. Case dismissed."
But Sandmann did not block the Indian -- the Indian marched right into his face.
Sandmann did not "taunt" the Indian -- the Indian banged a drum in his face, taunting Sandmann.
The Indian made false, defamatory claims of fact, not opinion, and the Washington Post published these false, defamatory claims of fact, either knowing they were false or having been recklessly indifferent to their truth or falsity,
When you refuse to just watch a TWENTY MINUTE VIDEO before defaming a child -- what could define "reckless indifference to truth or falsity" than that?
This is black-letter law -- by which I mean, the sections written in BIG BLACK LETTERS to let you know that these are foundational points of the law upon which all other law is based.
And this judge just threw black-letter law out the window,
Because this was a contest between a leftwing billion-dollar corporation and a little conservative kid from an unfashionable little town, and it doesn't matter what the law says -- the real law is that leftists win, always and forever.