Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kelly's Court On Suing Slanderers

The other day, I had a post on Sarah Palin's attorney threatening bloggers and other media outlets for slandering Sarah Palin ("Finally Comeuppance For Faux Journalists?"). I am not an attorney (though I did work as a prisoner's rights paralegal at one time), but these three are, and they discuss this very issue:

Interesting. So, as long as these "journalists" claim that they don't know for sure, but this is what they heard, they can get away with saying whatever they want about Palin or anyone. So if they couch it as, "well, golly gee, I don't know if this is true, but I heard that she is under some serious legal investigation by one of the alphabet groups," they can get the rumor out there - false as it is - without any recompense at all. Here's the thing - once those kinds of statements are made, they are out there, and no amount of rebuttal from, say, the alphabet group, the bell can't be un-rung. No one believes that part, even if it IS unusual for said group to actually come out with a statement like that. So, they have done their jobs, these bloggers and "journalists." They get the salacious gossip out there, and then can feign no ill-will. Please. There oughta be a law...


Mary Ellen said...

Great post, Amy. That seems to be the agenda for this new "Progressive Democrat" party. I've always said that I wasn't a big fan of Palin's political ideology...some of it I agree with, some not. But I've always tried to correct those who were putting out false statements. I don't bother anymore because they don't care about the truth, they only care about destroying her reputation (and the reputation of her kids).

I wrote a post today that mentioned the Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome and a few bloggers didn't like that too much. But you know what? I'm tired of trying to placate the Obot's who used to come to my blog. I used to try to keep the criticism of Obama down because I didn't want to offend them (they were old blogger friends who used to visit before the Obama "unification" plan). But then I'd see them writing post after post with photo shopped pictures of Sarah Palin and talking trash about her kids and spreading all the false rumors about her. So, the hell with them...I'll write what I want for now on. I may need to go out and network a little more to try to build my blog back up again, but at least I will be able to communicate with people with brain activity for a change.

I'm really anxious to see if Palin's lawyers could pull off a slander suit...hopefully it will be against Huffpost and hopefully they will succeed. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, ME!

Yes, you have to write for you - some folks will ALWAYS find fault with what you have to say anyway. I appreciate that you were trying to be kind to maintain old relationships and not insult anyone, but yeah - gotta be true to you!

I hear you - like you, there is much I don't agree with Palin on, but the constant harassment of her and her family is just out of control. Like she said yesterday, everyone else can say their kids are off-limits except her, and that's just not right. People have lost their sense of basic decency, it seems.

Sorry it took a while to respond to this - I was traveling yesterday...

Mary Ellen said...

I went over to NQ this morning and saw the post with the Mayberry episode and just about flipped! I'm sure you saw it, it was great.

You know, about a year ago some guy called asking for my husband (I could tell it was a solicitation call) and said he wasn't home and asked if I could help him. He said, "No, little lady, I was calling about banking." I'm not kidding! The little lady of the house couldn't possibly know anything about how to handle money or (gasp!) understand the complexities of balancing a bank book. How could this silly little head of mine figure out the difference between an ARM loan or a fixed rate 30 year mortgage? Little lady, indeed....sheesh.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, ME -

I love Andy Griffith - that was one of the best shows ever. And there were lots of good life lessons in that show. My youngest nieces watch it religiously...

HOLY SMOKE, "Little Lady." I cannot BELIEVE that guy said that to you!! Geezy pete, what is wrong with people? You could have told him what Andy would say to Opie when Opie did something wrong, "You can march up to your room and think abt that there thing..."

OH!! My partner and I have been wondering if your cousin liked the Boxing nun! Did she?

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the slander suit. I recall a lawsuit awhile back (filed against Fox News) I believe, and the final judgement was that, No, the news organizations are under no obligation to tell the truth. They can knowingly lie. I'll poke around and see if I can find the link.

Anonymous said...

Found it. Link

Back in December of 1996, Jane Akre and her husband, Steve Wilson, were hired by Fox as a part of the Fox "Investigators" team at WTVT in Tampa Bay, Florida. In 1997, the team began work on a story about bovine growth hormone (BGH), a controversial substance manufactured by Monsanto Corporation. The couple produced a four-part series revealing that there were many health risks related to BGH and that Florida supermarket chains did little to avoid selling milk from cows treated with the hormone, despite assuring customers otherwise.

According to Akre and Wilson, the station was initially very excited about the series. But within a week, Fox executives and their attorneys wanted the reporters to use statements from Monsanto representatives that the reporters knew were false and to make other revisions to the story that were in direct conflict with the facts. Fox editors then tried to force Akre and Wilson to continue to produce the distorted story. When they refused and threatened to report Fox's actions to the FCC, they were both fired (a 1997 Best-Censored story).

Akre and Wilson sued the Fox station and on August 18, 2000, a Florida jury unanimously decided that Akre was wrongfully fired by Fox Television when she refused to broadcast (in the jury's words) "a false, distorted, or slanted story" about the widespread use of BGH in dairy cows. They further maintained that she deserved protection under Florida's whistleblower law. Akre was awarded a $425,000 settlement. Inexplicably, however, the court declined that Steve Wilson, her partner in the case, was ruled not wronged by the same actions taken by Fox.

Fox appealed the case, and on February 14,2003 the Florida Second District Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the settlement awarded to Akre. The Court held that Akre's threat to report the station's actions to the FCC did not deserve protection under Florida's whistleblower statute, because Florida's whistle-blower law states that an employer must violate an adopted law, rule, or regulation." In a stunningly narrow interpretation of FCC rules, the Florida Appeals court claimed that the FCC policy against falsification of the news does not rise to the level of a "law, rule, or regulation"; it was simply a policy. Therefore, it is up to the station whether or not it wants to report honestly.

During their appeal, Fox asserted that there that there are no written rules against distorting news in the media. They argued that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves. Fox attorneys did not dispute Akre's claim that they pressured her to broadcast a false story; they simply maintained that it was their right to do so. After the appeal verdict, WTVT general manager Bob Linger commented. It's vindication for WTVT, and we re very pleased ... It's the case we've been making for two years. She never had a legal claim."

Mary Ellen said...


Unfortunately, my cousin never made it to the BBQ because her back went out and she could barely move. Of all things, she said she was just standing at the kitchen table and bending over to look at some pictures one of her fellow Sister's was showing her and she coughed and her back went out! I will be seeing her again soon, though...my husband and I are planning a trip to St. Louis where the Mother House is to visit her and I'll be sure to bring it with me.

Word verification: catello
Is that akin to cat jello? ;-)

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Bluelyon, HOLY SMOKES!! That's incredible! Thanks for finding that article - it is just shocking that any news organization would contend it can lie to its viewers! What in the world has HAPPENED to the Fourth Estate???

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...


I am so sorry to hear abt your cousin's back! And how bizarre that it happened just from bending over and coughing! I have heard similar stories - sneezing or something doing it - crazy!

Anyway - nice that y'all will be taking a trip and seeing her in St. Louis. Oh, I hope she likes it! (If she does and wants one, I'd be happy to pick her up one!)

FUNNY word verification!