These are my links for October 11th through October 15th:
The Unraveling of Affirmative Action– For more than 40 years, the debate over affirmative action in admissions has focused on whether it amounts to unfair and unconstitutional reverse discrimination against whites (and now Asians). The implicit premise for most people on both sides has been that racial preferences bring only benefits and no costs, apart from the possible stigma of being deemed “affirmative-action admits,” to their black and Hispanic recipients. This premise was enough to make the two of us uncritical supporters of racial preferences until we began to examine the underlying facts.Key to nurturing the myth that racial preferences can only help their recipients has been a strong norm among college administrators to play down both the size of preferences they use and the difficulties these students encounter down the road. This concealment has had the unfortunate effect of misleading students and shielding preference policies from close scrutiny.
Elizabeth Warren obtained federal fee waivers despite high 6-figure income and 8-figure net worth– Elizabeth Warren has built her progressive rock star image and her campaign by attacking the wealthy factory owners and others who supposedly do not pay their “fair share” and take advantage of loopholes to live off of infrastructure paid for by others.Yet Warren appears to be one of those people who takes advantage.Warren falsely and without any legitimate legal basis claimed to be Cherokee for employment purposes. Warren also chintzed by failing to register for the Massachusetts Bar despite an active practice of law in Cambridge since the mid-1990s, thereby evading Bar registration dues. Howie Carr has a great column today about Warren’s class warfare phoniness.
Add another example to the long list: Warren obtained fee waivers from at least 50 federal bankruptcy courts so she would not have to pay for access to the federal PACER system, even in years when she had a high 6-figure income and an 8-figure net worth.
PPP caught doing advocacy polling on race– PPP, a Democratic polling outfit, has long been viewed by suspicion by not only conservatives but by independent, credible pollsters. Now there is all the more reason to discount its “polling” as shoddy partisanship.I spoke by phone today with Wisconsin voter Dave Summers, who lives in the Madison area. He told me, “I got a survey. I don’t normally answer these calls, but I did [this time]. I started out pretty normal — President, Senate.” However, he said it then got weirder. The automatic survey asked if he had a favorable or unfavorable impression of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. He said he was greatly disturbed when the automated call then asked, “Do you believe conservative media want white people to think Barack Obama hates them?” He said, “That bugged me.”I called Tom Jensen of PPP. He said that it was his poll. I asked whether this wasn’t a classic advocacy poll designed to get a specific answer. He demurred, “Well, we were asking a series of questions about conservative media.” He said that this call followed the posting on Drudge of the 2007 video in which then-Sen. Barack Obama (D- Ill.) talks about Hurricane Katrina and denying aid to residents. He claimed that since conservative media were trying to make an issue of this (in fact most conservative outlets downplayed or ignored the issue), it was important to see whether that effort (to poison the thinking of white voters, I suppose) was “successful.”
The questions on conservative media and on white people were asked at the very end of the poll.
The 3 states that may decide the election– With less than a month until Election Day, the primary battlefields for the presidential campaign can be found in just three states: Ohio, Florida and Virginia.In these big three, home to a combined 60 electoral votes, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are spending both the most money and the most time. Over the past two weeks, the candidates and their allies have aired the most TV ads in Ohio, Florida and Virginia, in that order. And over the same period, Obama and Romney have held more than three times as many campaign events in the Big Three than they have in the other six swing states combined.
In second debate, Obama faces challenges on key issues– Losing ground to Republican Mitt Romney on a host of issues, President Barack Obama faces a serious challenge to put his re-election bid back on track when the two men face off on Tuesday in their second debate.Obama’s passive performance in their first debate two weeks ago and Romney’s subsequent surge have raised expectations for a more fiery encounter at New York’s Hofstra University.The Democratic president’s team has been encouraged by the feisty performance of Vice President Joe Biden last week in his debate against Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
Now, with Romney having virtually erased Obama’s lead in national polls just three weeks before the November 6 election, Obama is hoping to take advantage of the town hall-style format in Tuesday’s debate to make a direct pitch to voters
Axelrod Refuses to Say Whether Obama Met with Nat’l Security Team Before Heading to Las Vegas– After David Axelrod’s repeated assurances this morning on Fox News Sunday that “there isn’t anybody on this planet” who feels a greater sense of responsibility for our diplomats than this President, Chris Wallace asked how soon after the Benghazi attacks the President actually met with his national security team.Wallace followed up on Axelrod’s non-answer by asking whether the President managed to squeeze in a meeting with the National Security Council before jetting off to Las Vegas for a campaign rally. Given Axelrod’s inability to produce a straightforward answer to the questions, it’s pretty clear the answer is “no.”Amusing in this exchange is Axelrod’s contention that “anybody” would have said what the administration and Ambassador Rice said after the attack.
Axelrod bobs and weaves over Obama’s level of engagement the day of the Benghazi attack – Today on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace pressed David Axelrod on the question of how soon, and in what ways, President Obama tried to get to the bottom of the nature of the attack in Benghazi. As a predicate for the question, Wallace pointed out that on the day of the attack, the State Department and the intelligence community were presenting conflicting views about whether the attack was spontaneous or planned. An engaged president would immediately have tried to sort this matter out so he would know what the U.S. was dealing with.
Sprint reportedly agrees to sell 70 percent stake to Softbank– Sprint Nextel has reportedly reached an agreement to sell 70 percent of the wireless carrier to Japanese mobile carrier Softbank for $20 billion.Both companies’ respective boards have approved the deal, which is expected to be announced tomorrow, sources tell CNBC. Under the deal, Softbank will buy $8 billion in stock directly from Sprint, with another $12 billion purchased from existing stockholders.The tender offer’s price per share is reportedly $7.30, a 27 percent premium over the carrier’s closing stock price Friday of $5.73.
CNET has contacted Sprint for comment and will update this report when we lean more.
Sprint had previously confirmed that it was in discussions with Softbank regarding a “substantial investment ” by the Japanese mobile carrier.
ObamaCare is bad for small business– By January 2014, the states and the District must either establish their own health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), combine with other states to form a regional exchange or have the federal government set up an exchange for them.The District has opted for the first option, and this month it moved ahead with a model unlike anything pursued by any state in the nation, with the exception of Vermont: On Oct. 3, the D.C. Health Exchange Authority’s executive board unanimously approved a plan that would abolish the marketplace as we know it for firms with 50 employees or fewer and force them to obtain health insurance for their workers from the government-run exchange. Companies and associations with 100 employees or fewer would have to do so by 2016.If virtually everyone else is choosing a more cautious approach, I am compelled to ask: Is the District so much smarter than everyone else?
Election May Well Come Down to Colorado– Exactly 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency. And that win may well come down to Colorado — specifically, Jefferson and Arapahoe counties.Both are at the center of the 7th Congressional District race between incumbent Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat, and challenger Joe Coors, a Republican.If businessman Coors has a good night on Nov. 6, so will Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, likely not only in Colorado but nationwide.
Why Dems Loved Biden’s Boorish Behavior– The morning after the vice presidential debate, Democrats are delighted. Vice President Joe Biden’s obnoxious display was exactly what was needed to cheer them up after a week of morose speculation about why President Obama was so passive and uninspired at last week’s first presidential debate with Mitt Romney. Indeed, the more Biden giggled, smirked and interrupted Paul Ryan, the better they liked it. While his condescending and bullying behavior contradicted liberal doctrine about conservatives being the ones guilty of polluting the public square with political incivility, it embodied their complete contempt for both Republicans and their ideas. Biden’s nastiness may have re-invigorated a Democratic base that wanted nothing so much as to tell their opponents to shut up, even if it may have also alienated a great many independents. But with the main focus of the election still on the remaining two presidential debates, it’s not clear that President Obama can profit from Biden’s example.The reason for this is not very complicated. The Democrats cheering on Biden’s bullying, while ignoring the fact that he had nothing to offer on the future of entitlements and his disgraceful alibis about Libya, did so because at bottom they really do not feel Republicans or conservatives are worthy of respect or decency. Though they rarely own up to it, they don’t think Republicans are so much wrong as they are bad. By contrast, most Republicans think Democrats are wrong, not evil. Ryan, whose polite behavior was entirely proper but was made to appear passive and even weak when compared to his bloviating opponent, demonstrated this paradigm by patiently trying to explain his positions even when he was constantly interrupted.
White House defends Biden on Libya– The White House is defending Vice President Biden over his debate statement that “we weren’t told” about requests for more security at a U.S. Consulate in Libya before the Sept. 11 attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.White House press secretary Jay Carney said Biden was referring to President Obama, the White House and himself, as opposed to the State Department and other parts of the government.Biden “was speaking directly for himself and the president,” Carney said. “He meant the White House.”
Poll: Romney Opens 7-Point Lead in Florida– Mitt Romney’s 7-point lead in the TBT/Herald/Mason-Dixon poll is the latest sign of a Florida surge:The survey conducted this week found 51 percent of likely Florida voters supporting Romney, 44 percent backing Obama and 4 percent undecided. That’s a major shift from a month ago when the same poll showed Obama leading 48 percent to 47 percent — and a direct result of what Obama himself called a “bad night” at the first debate.The debate prompted 5 percent of previously undecided voters and 2 percent of Obama backers to move to Romney. Another 2 percent of Obama supporters said they are now undecided because of the debate.
Biden’s Benghazi Gaffe Makes Admin Scramble to Duck Responsibility – Was there an embarrassing gaffe in Thursday night’s debate? Vice President Biden gave a bungled and misleading answer about the situation in Benghazi in which he stated that “we” did not know security requests had been made. Biden’s statement is being artfully spun this morning in a way that rescues the vice president from himself at the expense of the State Department and, quite possibly, the truth.
These are my links for March 8th through March 9th:
Limbaugh attack boomerangs on the White House – Perhaps the left carried on a little too long and a little too loudly regarding Rush Limbaugh’s nasty language about Sandra Fluke. Conservative activist Penny Nance, executive director of Concerned Women for America, has sent a letter to the White House chief of staff demanding President Obama’s super PAC live up to the same standard Democrats have articulated for Republicans and Rush Limbaugh.
Apple at center of e-book price-fixing allegations – The Justice Department has threatened to sue Apple and major publishers in a high-profile case that could reshape the digital-books market, driving down prices but also potentially shifting market power from publishers to e-commerce giant Amazon.
The government warned Apple and five major book companies that it intends to file a lawsuit accusing them of colluding to boost the prices of e-books, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. Several of the publishers are already in talks to settle the matter, although those discussions appear to be at an early and uncertain stage, the Journal reported.
The publishers in question include Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group, Macmillan and HarperCollins Publishers.
Now Limbaugh is returning the favor – and the split between the Sacramento retailer and the controversial radio host appears to be permanent.
Limbaugh on Thursday rejected Sleep Train’s offer to resume advertising on his national radio show and rehire Limbaugh as a paid spokesman. Limbaugh’s spokesman said the conservative commentator would no longer carry Sleep Train’s ads “in the future.”
Sleep Train stopped advertising on the show last Friday, becoming one of the first sponsors to drop Limbaugh. The company’s decision came two days after Limbaugh called a Georgetown University law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” over her stance on health insurance coverage for contraception.
Limbaugh apologized to the student over the weekend.
Sleep Train’s decision was especially noteworthy because Limbaugh and Sleep Train chief executive Dale Carlsen have known each other since the 1980s, when Sleep Train was a small company and Limbaugh was an on-air personality at Sacramento’s KFBK (1530 AM).
Kucinich May Still Run from Washington – Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who just lost his re-election bid in a Democratic primary on Tuesday, did not close the door to running for Congress in a new district — in a new state, CBS News reports.
He said “there’s new possibilities that are being born at this moment.”
Should he decide to run again, Washingtion state’s “most appealing choices for a Kucinich run could be the first and sixth congressional districts which lack incumbents because of the retirements of Democratic Reps. Jay Inslee and Norm Dicks.”
Pro-Obama PAC Won’t Give Back Maher’s Money – Current and former White House aides on Thursday rejected demands by a conservative group that a Super PAC supporting President Obama refund a $1 million check from comedian and talk show host Bill Maher because of coarse comments he’s made about Sarah Palin and other Republican women.
While Obama earlier this week denounced similar comments that radio talk show host made about a college student, Sandra Fluke, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the president is not going to get involved in the Maher battle.
Romney Really Might Not Have the Delegates by June – The Republican primary has revealed distinct geographic tendencies. Mitt Romney is dominant in New England and in the West. Newt Gingrich has run well in the Deep South, while Rick Santorum has done well in caucus states, the Great Plains, and the peripheral South (it remains to be seen whether his support has bled into Gingrich’s strength in the Deep South). That leaves the Midwest as a battleground between Romney and Santorum.
While Romney had a good night on Super Tuesday, the truth is that he did nothing to alter the basic regional nature of his support. He won handily in New England and the West, essentially tied in the Midwest, and ran poorly in the South.
For the first time, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is putting a timeframe on his decision whether to enter the race.
He’s running for re-election as mayor but will he also jump into a possible recall race for governor?
He’s not answering that question yet, but now, for the first time, the mayor is indicating when he might make up his mind.
With an election for mayor less than four weeks away, Barrett continued to deflect any questions about a possible run for governor.
“I am certainly considering running for governor, but I haven’t made a decision quite honestly,” Barrett said.
Barrett spoke at a forum sponsored by Wispolitics.com, and afterward, 12 News reporter Kent Wainscott asked him whether Milwaukee voters deserved to know whether he plans to enter a likely governor’s recall race.
“I don’t know what the future holds, and that’s why I didn’t deny that this is something that I’m thinking about, because I am thinking about it, and I think the voters know that,” Barrett said.
GOP strategist: Appeal to Latino voters is party’s ‘great challenge’ – Republican Party strategist Whit Ayres says a new Fox News poll showing a strong preference for Democrats among Latino voters underscores what he called “the great challenge of the Republican Party going forward” – doing better with non-white voters, especially Latinos and Asians.
David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior campaign strategist, is scheduled to appear on Bill Maher’s late-night talk show within the next few weeks, according to Kelley Carville, an HBO spokesman.
As the controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Sandra Fluke continued, a former Obama White House official today joined Republicans in pointing out that Maher, who recently donated $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC, has a history of his misogynistic slurs.
Last year, he was rebuked by the National Organization for Women for calling Sarah Palin a “dumb tw*t.”
“palin is right to point out that bill maher has said some pretty disgusting things about women, comedian or not. they are rush like,” Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of President Obama’s Council on Economic Advisors, and currently a professor at the University of Chicago, tweeted.
After Obama spoke with Fluke, the Georgetown University Law Student called a “slut” and “prostitute” by Limbaugh, Palin challenged Priorities USA to return Maher’s donation.
“Pres. Obama says he called Sandra Fluke because of his daughters. For the sake of everyone’s daughter, why doesn’t his super PAC return the $1 million he got from a rabid misogynist?,” Palin wrote Tuesday on her Facebook page.
The 56-42 vote staves off an election-year rebuke of Obama, but will give political ammunition to backers of TransCanada Corp.’s plan to build a pipeline connecting Alberta’s massive tar sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries.
Despite Obama’s efforts, 11 Democrats brushed off Obama on the vote and sided with Republicans.
The 11 Democratic defections were Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Bob Casey (Pa.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Jim Webb (Va.).
No Republicans voted against the measure, and 60 votes were needed to move forward.
Bill Bennett: A lesson in how to turn the tables – Bill Bennett had this to say on CNN about the Rush Limbaugh hypocrisy fest: “My question is whether the president will give back the million dollars Bill Maher gave him. I don’t know how he’s going to explain that to Sasha and Malia, when that guy uses language that would make Rush blush.”
The comment is, in a word, perfect. The gentle tone of irony contrasts with the left’s hyperventilating. The matter-of-fact assertion highlights how the left’s “outrage” is reserved for political opponents’ entertainers. And his gentle rebuke to the president — who chose to drag his daughters into a phony political gambit — is the frosting on the well- baked cake.
Notice, in fact, how it is now the representative of the left who wants to move on? The Obama spinners have got as much mileage out of Limbaugh as they can, and if the conversation is now going to turn to their side, well then, for heaven’s sake, it’s time to turn the page! Or, as Dave Weigel put it in reference to David Axelrod’s inanity (“If Romney couldn’t stand up to “the most strident voices in your party, how can he stand up to Ahmadinejad?”): “Axelrod has no case. He’s a nomad flogging a camel to get one last mile out of it after it’s already crossed half the Gobi with no water.”
Carbonite shoots its business model in the foot – The decline in the price of Carbonite stock since it announced it was dropping its longstanding advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show is not the real story of the damage done to Carbonite.
The price of Carbonite stock has been dropping since October for reasons unrelated to this controversy, although it did fall off a small cliff this week.
The real problem for Carbonite and its shareholders is that in leaving behind 15 million Rush listeners, Carbonite has shot its business model in the foot.
These are my links for December 12th through December 14th:
Christine O’Donnell: I like Mitt Romney’s flip – Christine O’Donnell, who has endorsed Mitt Romney, appeared on CNN Wednesday and inadvertently drew attention to one of the charges against the former Massachusetts governor from his critics — flip-flopping.
“That’s one of the things that I like about him — because he’s been consistent since he changed his mind,” O’Donnell said.
She said Romney is “humble enough” to admit he doesn’t always have the right answers and is open to making the “necessary changes” to his own view points sometimes, but maintained that he never betrays his core convictions.
O’Donnell, who had the backing of the tea partiers in the 2010 when she ran unsuccessfully for Senate in Delaware, also had a strong warning for members of the conservative movement: Don’t choose Newt Gingrich, no matter what.
“People are trying to paint Newt Gingrich as the anti-establishment candidate, which I think is funny because in a lot of the tea party vs. establishment campaigns in 2010, Newt Gingrich was on the side of the establishment,” said O’Donnell. “The tea party I don’t think should be behind Newt at all.”
The Myth of the New Newt – All that is predictable about Newt is that he is unpredictable, and, irresistibly, an election that should be about President Obama and his record will become about the heat and light generated by his electric performance. That’s the way it was as speaker, too. Eventually, he wore out his welcome in epic fashion. Benjamin Franklin said any houseguest, like a fish, stinks after three days. With the public and his colleagues, Gingrich became the houseguest who would never leave.
More than a decade after he was cashiered as speaker, he’s back on the basis of his superlative handling of the debates. He is better informed and has more philosophical depth than any of his rivals. Despite all his meanderings through the years, he knows how to win over a conservative audience as well as anyone. The debates have held out the alluring promise of a New Newt. But beware: The Old Newt lurks.
Newt Gingrich commits a capital crime – Newt Gingrich — the friend of his detractors, to whom he offers serial vindications — provided on Monday redundant evidence for the proposition that he is the least conservative candidate seeking the Republican presidential nomination: He faulted Mitt Romney for committing acts of capitalism.
Gingrich did so when goaded by Romney regarding his, Gingrich’s, self-described service as a “historian” for Freddie Mac, which paid him more handsomely than anyone paid Herodotus. Romney was asked by an interviewer about the $1.6 million Gingrich earned, or at any rate received, from Freddie Mac, the misbegotten government-backed mortgage giant. In the service of Washington’s bipartisan certitude that too few people owned houses, Freddie Mac helped produce the housing bubble and subsequent crash. It did so even though it paid Gingrich $30,000 an hour. That is about what he received if, as he says, he worked for Freddie Mac about an hour a month, telling it that what it was doing was “insane.”
O’Donnell made her endorsement during an appearance this evening on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
“It was not an easy decision because I too think any of our candidates would make a great president and a great candidate going against Barack Obama,” O’Donnell said. “But I think there are certain tie breakers and I know that in making my decision I might be hurting some people but I think infrastructure and executive experience are important, and for that reason I’m endorsing Mitt Romney.”
“I’m very happy,” she added. “This is not anti-[Newt] Gingrich or anyone else, it’s a pro Gov. Romney endorsement.
“I’m not arrogant to think that my endorsement will make or break his candidacy,” she said, adding she hopes people just “take a second look” at Romney.
Joe Scarborough set the tone early. During the opening segment Scarborough announced that, like Glenn Beck, if the choice comes down to Obama vs. Gingrich, and Ron Paul is running as a third-party candidate, “I’m going to give him a long look.”
Last week, Scarborough criticized Gingrich’s political persona, calling him a “terrible person” when he puts on his political helmet. Today, Scarborough focused on his policy differences with Newt, saying that Gingrich is “the opposite of being a small-government conservative.” Watch Scarborough contemplate a vote that he went on to acknowledge would hand the election to Barack Obama.
Gingrich needs Rudy Giuliani like he needs another marriage – I must say I got a chuckle out of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s comments Monday night on CNN: “My gut tells me right now as I look at it that Gingrich might actually be the stronger candidate, because I think he can make a broader connection than Mitt Romney to those Reagan Democrats. . . . You won’t have this barrier of possible elitism that I think Obama could exploit pretty effectively.”
His timing couldn’t be worse. We’re beginning to see polling (and there will be more later today) showing that Gingrich lags significantly in electability. The Gallup-USA Today race reported: “In swing states, Obama trails former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney among registered voters by 5 points, 43% vs. 48%, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich by 3, 45% vs. 48%. That’s a bit worse than the president fares nationwide, where he leads Gingrich 50%-44% and edges Romney 47%-46%.”
UPDATE (3:35 p.m.): PPP is out with details from its new poll in Iowa. Gingrich is now at 22 percent and his lead is down to one point over Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), with Romney at 16 percent. Gingrich has gone from a plus-31 favorable rating (62/31 percent) to plus-12 (52/40 percent). He’s dropped 11 points with Tea Partyers.
Giuliani: Gingrich may be stronger than Romney – When it comes down to the battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, former New York mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Monday he thought Gingrich might have an edge.
Speaking to CNN’s Piers Morgan, Giuliani said the former House speaker’s appeal to a wide array of voters would help him, as opposed to potential problems Romney may have in relating to average Americans.
The reality televison show host’s decision came after most Republican presidential candidates declined to participate in the debate, with only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum agreeing to appear.
Axelrod Sets Sights on Gingrich – At briefing for reporters, Chicagoan says of the Georgian: “The higher a monkey climbs on the pole the more you can see his butt.”
AND: Doesn’t forget to sneak in a Romney tweak: “Generally his practice has been to bet other people’s money, not his own.”
PLUS: Bonus barb from Bam 2012 spox LaBolt: “The $10,000 bet may end up being Mitt Romney’s grocery-score scanner moment.”
When Truth Survives Free Speech – Last week, a story came across my desk that seemed to suggest that a blogger had been unfairly nailed with a $2.5 million defamation award after a judge refused to give her standing as a journalist. A businessman who was the target of the blogger’s inquiries brought the suit.
I went to work on a blog post, filled with filial umbrage, saddened that the Man once again had used a boot heel to crush truth and free speech. But after doing a little reporting, I began to think that what scanned as an example of a rich businessman using the power of the courts to silence his critic was actually something else: a case of a blogger using the Web in unaccountable ways to decimate the reputation of someone who didn’t seem to have it coming.
The ruling on whether she was a journalist in the eyes of the law turned out to be a MacGuffin, a detail that was very much beside the point. She didn’t so much report stories as use blogging, invective and search engine optimization to create an alternative reality. Journalists who initially came to her defense started to back away when they realized they weren’t really in the same business.
In fact, that’s not quite what happened. The case actually had little to do with whether bloggers have the same right to protect their sources as traditional journalists. But U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez’s opinion nevertheless threatens to weaken long-standing protections against libel suits, and to widen the already-gaping divide between the media and the rest of society.
Let’s take the shield-law issue first.
Crystal Cox, a self-described “investigative blogger,” was sued for libel by Obsidian Financial Group and one of its executives, Kevin Padrick, after Cox wrote that some of their business practices were “illegal” and “fraudulent.”
As part of the discovery process, Obsidian demanded to know the identity of the confidential sources Cox said she had relied on in the course of reporting her story. The trial was to be held in Oregon, and she invoked that state’s shield law, which gives journalists a limited ability to protect their sources.
More on the journalists-aren’t-bloggers ruling – The redoubtable David Carr has an interesting column in today’s New York Times in which he reports that “investigative blogger” Crystal Cox’s conduct was considerably beyond the pale of what anyone would consider journalism. (My Huffington Post commentary on the case is here.)
But if her behavior was that egregious, then the plaintiffs should have had no problem convincing a jury that she acted negligently (or worse). The negligence standard is a vital constitutional protection regardless of whether those benefitting from it are sympathetic figures.
In order to prove libel, a plaintiff must show that information published or broadcast about him was false and defamatory. Starting with the 1964 case of New York Times v. Sullivan, the U.S. Supreme Court began to require a third element as well: fault. The regime that’s in effect today was solidified by the 1974 case of Gertz v. Robert Welch. Here’s what the courts mean by “fault”:
A public official or public figure must show that what was published or broadcast about him was done so with knowing falsity, or with “reckless disregard” of whether it was true or false.
A private figure must show that the defendant acted negligently when it published or broadcast false, defamatory information about the plaintiff.
U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez, in his pretrial ruling, obliterated the fault requirement for any defendant except those he deems to be journalists, ignoring the Supreme Court’s longstanding position that the First Amendment applies equally to all of us — for the “lonely pamphleteer” as much as for major newspaper publishers, as Justice Byron White put it in Branzburg v. Hayes (1972).
Hernandez’s contention that journalists enjoy greater free-speech protections than non-journalists is an outrage, and should not be allowed to stand.
These are my links for October 14th through October 17th:
DeMint May Endorse Romney – Mitt Romney is the favorite to receive Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) much-sought-after endorsement in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to knowledgeable GOP sources.
DeMint, who endorsed the former Massachusetts governor in 2008, made clear in an interview late last week that he has made no decisions on whom he will support in the 2012 primary. But Republican operatives familiar with the DeMint-Romney relationship and privy to the conservative Senator's private assessment of the GOP field believe Romney is the most likely candidate to receive the backing of the tea party favorite.
"Jim is far more likely to endorse Mitt than anyone else currently in the race," a Republican with South Carolina ties said. "Jim is a business guy and that's his background. He's not really the good ol' boy conservative type. So Mitt in a lot of ways is a more comfortable fit for him."
"Jim actually likes Romney," added a GOP operative based in the Palmetto State. "I think, politically, he had some doubts about his ability to engage conservatives, but it would not surprise me for Jim to endorse Romney at some point."
"I think there's this question about what his core principles are," Axelrod said, citing changes in Romney's positions from earlier in his political career when he was running for U.S. Senate and Massachusetts governor. "Then he was a pro choice, pro gay rights, pro environmental candidate for office. Then he decided to run for president. Did a 180 on all of that."
"So time and time and time again he shifts – and you get the feeling that there is no principle too large for him to throw over in pursuit of political office," Axelrod added.
Axelrod has recently turned a laser-like focus to Romney, holding a conference call last Wednesday to critique Romney's record and his remarks at last Tuesday's GOP debate.
Journolist 2.0 includes well known names such as MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan, Rolling Stone’s Matt Tiabbi who both are actively participating; involvement from other listers such as Bill Moyers and Glenn Greenwald plus well-known radicals like Noam Chomsky, remains unclear. The list also includes a number of Occupy organizers, such as one of the Occupy Wall Street main organizers Kevin Zeese.
In these emails we see MSNBC’s Ratigan, hawking his book in the footnotes, instructing occupiers on how properly to present their demands and messages while simultaneously appearing on television reporting “objectively” on the story (when he’s not taking part in the protests himself as content.)