Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Two Views of One Law Suit

It seems that Rush Limbaugh is threatening to sue the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for its advertisements which edited one of his statements to make it appear he countenanced date rape:

First up, Stacy McCain: Rush Limbaugh Will Rape the DCCC
Those lying bastards finally told one too many lies:
Radio host Rush Limbaugh has threatened to sue the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) for defamation, The Daily Caller has learned.
. . .
The DCCC “has intentionally disseminated demonstrably false statements concerning Rush Limbaugh in a concerted effort to harm Mr. Limbaugh, and with reckless disregard for the resulting impact to small businesses across America that choose to advertise on his radio program” according to the GlaserWeil law firm’s letter to the DCCC, which was obtained by TheDC. “Mr. Limbaugh clearly, unambiguously, and emphatically condemned the notion that ‘no’ means ‘yes.’”
“Let’s be clear: Rush Limbaugh is advocating for the tolerance of rape” the DCCC stated in a September fundraising email after Limbaugh mocked Ohio State’s new mandatory sexual consent guidelines.
If Democrats couldn’t lie, they could never win elections. Last time I checked, it was Hillary Clinton’s husband who was pro-rape.

“Better put some ice on that,” DCCC.
Actual law professor, and one time Obama voter Ann Althouse has a slightly different take:

Question: How is Rush Limbaugh like Lena Dunham? Answer: He's threatening to sue somebody for quoting him.
1. "Lena Dunham Threatens To Sue Truth Revolt For Quoting Her/Lena Dunham may not like our interpretation of her book, but unfortunately for her and her attorneys, she wrote that book."

2. "Limbaugh threatens to sue DCCC for ‘out of context’ quotes about sexual consent."
The legal threat is the result of DCCC fundraising appeals sent out in the wake of Limbaugh’s on-air comments about a new policy at Ohio State University that instructs students to get verbal consent before having sex. The DCCC highlighted one particular sentence from his commentary — “How many of you guys . . . have learned that ‘no’ means ‘yes’ if you know how to spot it?” — saying it was tantamount to condoning sexual assault.
For an older variation on this sort of lawsuit — a real lawsuit, not just a threat to sue — recall Shirley Sherrod's defamation claim against Andrew Breitbart for presenting a quote of hers out of context. That lawsuit is still pending (incredibly, against Breitbart's widow). A couple years ago, I commented:

Don't we constantly extract quotes and clips from larger contexts? I do blog posts by that method all the time. I find the juiciest line and quote it often deliberately out of context or with intent to misdirect for humorous or shocking effect. It's the reader's responsibility to figure out what to do with it. . . 
I'm going to agree with the professor on the law in theory, that speech should be free, and that there should be a very high bar for defamation, and truth should be an absolute defense.

However, I encourage Rush to pursue the suit based on the two example that Ann gave above, Lena Dunham and Shirley Sherrod. Conservatives  can't afford to unilaterally disarm in the face of liberal lawfare in the war of ideas.

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