Let me be clear right up front, I don’t like O’Keefe, and although I liked Rush’s books, I stopped listening or purchasing anything by him after the drug issue. So, I have no dog in this hunt in that I really don’t give two shits.
But the cognitive dissonance and dishonesty from the left on this is starting. First, for those that don’t know the O’Keefe thing:
During the Feb. 24 edition of Olbermann’s show “Countdown,” Shuster called O’Keefe a “convicted felon,” something that is not true. Shuster also said that there was a “rape allegation facing” O’Keefe, something that also isn’t true. That claim, according to O’Keefe’s lawsuit, was related to allegations political activist Nadia Naffe made against him last year. The transcript of Naffe’s court deposition attached to O’Keefe’s lawsuit, however, proves he was never alleged to have raped her. It also shows that a judge dismissed Naffe’s allegations that O’Keefe harassed her.
Ok, easiest to steal from wiki here, but here are the elements:
For example, in the United States, the person first must prove that the statement was false. Second, that person must prove that the statement caused harm. And, third, they must prove that the statement was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement. These steps are for an ordinary citizen. In the case of a celebrity or public official trying to prove libel, they must prove the first three steps, and must (in the United States) prove the statement was made with the intent to do harm, or with reckless disregard for the truth. Usually specifically referred to as “proving malice”.
So, with O’Keefe, is he a felon or a rapist? The obvious answer is no. Those are facts, not opinions or some other thing that is subject to the vagaries of interpretation. Dude is not a felon. Proceed onward.
Compare that with Limbaugh who called a chick a slut. Politico has some bullshit today from various Democrats, two of which read:
Democratic consultant; FOX News contributor: He should, he won’t and he will be sued. Congratulations Rush, for the first time something you said actually created another member of the one percent. Unfortunately for you, she, like most enlightened millionaires, will have no use for you.
Democratic media consultant: Not only should Limbaugh issue an apology but he should be sued for libel and should see the sponsors of his show withdraw.
Limbaugh has long cloaked his outrageous statements and outright falsehoods under the claim that he is an “entertainer.” There is nothing entertaining or enlightening about these latest comments.
Now, unlike the word “felon” which has a specific meaning, what the hell is a slut? Someone have an objective, empirical sentence? A Felon is a person convicted in court, or who has pled guilty to statutorily designated felony violations. Anyone know a definistion for “slut?” He didn’t say she let the entire dorm run a train on her or anything else. She testified before congress as to her sexual activities, and he ascribed to that a perjorative, that might not even be a perjorative, since a group of feminists are proudly organizing “slut walk.”
So am I to understand from Democrats that stating an opinion regarding someone elses character (slut) is legally actionable, but making a purported factual statement about someone being a felon, when that individual either knows that they are not, or should know, is NOT legally actionable?
Who wants to tackle that one for the left for me?
BTW- the legal standard that gives Rush the easy out is this one, from the CACI v. Randi Rhodes case:
The First Amendment also “provides protection for statements that cannot ‘reasonably [be] interpreted as stating actual facts’ about an individual.” Milkovich, 497 U.S. at 20 (alteration in original) (quoting Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46, 50 (1988)). This safeguard includes protection for “rhetorical hyperbole, a vigorous epithet” and “loose, figurative, or hyperbolic language.” Milkovich, 497 U.S. at 17, 21 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). The safeguard is necessary to “provide[ ] assurance that public debate will not suffer for lack of ‘imaginative expression’ . . . which has traditionally
added much to the discourse of our Nation.” Id. at 20. Whether a statement can reasonably be interpreted as stating facts about an individual — whether it is rhetorical hyperbole, for example— is a question of law. See Hatfill v. New York Times Co., 416 F.3d 320, 330 (4th Cir. 2005) (“The question whether a statement is capable of having a defamatory meaning is a question of law to be decided by the court.”).