Aussie Dave has written once more laying out some of his alleged legal claims against me. Seems he wants to charge me with defamation. I thought it would be worthwhile, if only for a primer in slander, libel and defamation law to examine his claims:
If I do sue you, it will have nothing to do with your political views – as heinous as I find them – and everything to do with defamation.
How about you run this past your lawyers?
“Which brings me to Johnson’s Little Green Footballs, a nominee in the Israel Advocacy category. How does a blog written by a non-Jew and non-Israeli get into a Jewish and Israeli Blogging Awards competition? I guess if you really stretch you could say that Charles always is looking to uphold the most extreme right wing viewpoints offered within Israeli politics. So perhaps that rates him an “honorary Israeli” designation. But seriously, one of the main reasons Charles gets nominated is that he in turn invited Aussie Dave to join him in Pajamas Media (see the latter’s profile). So it’s only natural that Dave would return the favor.”
Looks a lot like an unprivileged statement of fact that is harmful to my reputation, and published as a result of malice on your part.
Then there’s your false assertion I was booted from Pajamas Media.
And I haven’t even looked into the possible copyright violation yet, but it doesn’t really matter. You have repeatedly defamed me. And the onus would be on YOU to prove the truth of these statements, as a defence to a defamation claim. Which will be kind of hard to do, since they are utterly false to begin with.
I want a public, unqualified apology on this blog, with you acknowledging that you have no basis for making these statements.
As for the first claim that he wouldn’t be suing me for my “heinous” political views–let’s laugh that one off. Everyone knows that this is at the heart of his animus towards me.
The salient portion of his quotation from this blog post is this: “…One of the main reasons Charles gets nominated is that he in turn invited Aussie Dave to join him in Pajamas Media (see the latter’s profile). So it’s only natural that Dave would return the favor.” I made what I considered a reasonable inference based on a pattern of facts (i.e. LGF is run by a non-Jewish, non-Israeli author who nevertheless is nominated and wins the Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards). How else would you explain Charles Johnson’s presence in a competition dedicated in its title to groups of which he is not a member (i.e. Jewish/Israeli)?
As to whether or not Aussie Dave was “returning a favor,” let’s look at a not dissimilar situation. Marc Cooper was one of the few liberal bloggers included in PJM (he’s no longer affiliated). He edits LA Weekly (not sure if he’s still the editor). Michael Totten is one of the right of center bloggers at PJM. Marc blogs at PJM, Totten gets published at LA Weekly. Accident? I doubt it. Result of corrupt inside-dealings? No. But just the kind of internal back-scratching that goes on in these sorts of situations. It happens all the time. And hey, it’s entirely possible that Cooper actually likes Totten’s writing, though God only would know why he’d want to publish someone who largely cheers U.S. Mideast policy.
Instead of blaming me for pointing out something that many might find obvious, he should defend LGF’s inclusion in the award competition and tell everyone how proud he is of his buddy Chuck’s fine contribution to the Israeli-Palestinian debate & let it go at that. The fact that he doesn’t–that he makes a wild-eyed inflation of my claim by charging that I’ve called him “corrupt” says reams about his malice toward me.
The way I see it, Dave’s gonna have a hard row to hoe. He has to prove I claimed something was true while having “knowledge of falsity or with reckless disregard for the truth.” The fact that I believed what I said to be true about JIB is an awfully big legal hump to get over. Besides, I was expressing my opinion (strong, for sure) about the Awards and last I checked people were entitled to have opinons that differ with Dave’s. And by the way, if anyone goes back over our colloquy they will find that I made a number of comments which I believed in good faith but which Dave pointed out to me weren’t true. In the very few instances when that occured, I admitted as much here. So if I acted entirely out of malice, how do you explain that Dave?
Further, I’ve asked him to provide proof of his claim that he resigned from Pajamas Media and was not dropped. I’m willing to say what he said was true IF he presents the evidence. But he’s refused to do it here. You give a guy a chance to prove what he’s saying is true that would also show a small bit of good faith on my part and he refuses to give you the satisfaction. That’s Dave all over.
Further, my critique of the way he ran JIB claimed that the process was almost guaranteed, whether intentionally or not, to result in victory to right-wing blogs like LGF. And guess what happened? Those blogs did win. AD thinks I believe there was a blatant conspiracy to achieve such a result. I don’t believe that. But we all wear ideological blinders to a certain extent (Dave much more than others). The best of us try to transcend those preferences or prejudices we might have to embrace a more dispassionate view of the facts. But we all come with preconceived notions. My claim is that JIB, when he ran it, was replete with them and that this virtually guaranteed a certain outcome.
Now, the larger issue here is: can someone like me criticize someone like Aussie Dave without getting charged with a lawsuit? Can someone criticize the ideological leanings of a blogging contest without getting a lawsuit, or the threat of one, slapped on them? This gets at the issue of using blogs and the law as weapons of political intimidation. And it bleeds over into the issue I’ve made one of my mini-theses here: cyber-bullying.
Dave outghta get over this obsession he has with me as the bete noire of the Zionist left. So I said a few things about him that ticked him off. People write those sorts of comments at my blog all the time and I don’t turn around and threaten them with lawsuits. Do they piss me off? Sure. Do I respond strongly, even vehemently in my own defense. You bet. That’s part of the give and take of argument over the interet. But if I went after every person who ever said anything false about me I’d be in court till kingdom come and people could rightly accuse me of misusing both the courts and bullying my opponents–precisely what Aussie Dave and Rachel Neuwirth (and their allies Jewlicious and Steven Plaut) are doing.
Of course, I’m not counting people who post my images at their site to demean me, those folks I will pursue.
And as for that “public, unqualified apology” the bully’s looking for–in your dreams, in your dreams. I’m not Chaim Seidler Feller who provided Neuwirth a similar apology after four years of her legal intimidation. No sane person wants a lawsuit on their hands. I don’t relish spending a year or two fighting this one in court. But if I have to this is a helluva lot more worthy cause than Paris Hilton’s court appearances for her various improprieties.