Just now reading Best of the Web, 4-9-12.  Taranto is commenting on that horrible editing of Zimmerman’s words, and my mind snagged on this statement:

Since Zimmerman has become a public figure, in order to prevail in a defamation lawsuit, he would have to prove that NBC acted with reckless disregard for the truth.

But here’s the thing.  To some extent, Zimmerman has become a public figure because of the NBC’s falsehood.  They poured gas on the wannabe lynch mob fire.  There’s no evidence that Z sought to be a public figure.

My snap judgement is that if someone became famous due solely to lies told about him, there would be absolutely no “public figure” defense against libel.  Zimmerman obviously isn’t a perfect example, but that logic should be considerecd, at least.

About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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9 Responses to Conundrum.

  1. waytoomanydaves says:

    I cannot accept that the public figure defense would be applicable here. Zimmerman never sough the attention he is receiving. He holds no public office. He is not an artist or performer, nor does he profit from his fame. If NBC were let off the hook on those grounds, it would be pretty outrageous, to my mind.

    • wormme says:

      I agree emotionally. But Gacy and Dahmer became public figures after their atrocities were known, even though they didn’t want the attention. So when Zimmerman’s (or anyone’s) actions captivate the public, they become public figures.

      But at least some of Z’s notoriety is based on lies…sorry, “poor editing”. So in this case, definitely, NBC needs to be sued down to bedrock with assets seized and corporate officers sold into slavery.

      • waytoomanydaves says:

        Once somebody is convicted of a crime – especially an infamous crime – that’s another matter. But are we to accept that Zimmerman gives up his right to privacy and a reputation even if he is never charged with a crime, or if he is acquitted? No, I cannot accept that. It gives the media license to commit libel, and that cannot be right.

        • wormme says:

          Completed agreed: if someone is famous due to lies then they are not public figures. Not in the “ripe for parody” category that saves the millions of mean-spirited liars out there.

          Hey, maybe NBC should murder its parent companies and then plead for mercy because it’s an orphan.

  2. I’m not current on defamation for that jurisdiction, but if I had to defend him, I’d go looking for case law to support an argument that the higher public figure threshold does not apply if it was the defamation in question that made the person a public figure. That is, it isn’t that Z didn’t seek to be a public figure, but that the alleged act of defamation itself made him a public figure.

    • wormme says:

      Yes, that’s what gave me pause in the first place. Telling lies about someone that makes them famous for that reason seems the very definition of libel, doesn’t it. And if it’s not, it should be.

  3. Edohiguma says:

    It’s funny. A few years ago there was a case like this in Germany. An “immigrant youth” from the “religion of peace” ™ tried to rob a German guy. There was a struggle and during it the “cultural enricher” fell into his own knife.

    Within a split second the German guy was declared guilty by the media and certain politicians. People actually protested in the streets against the evil German guy who dared to defend himself against an “innocent child” who was “only” threatening him with a knife.

    Public prosecution later declared that it was a case of justified self defense.

    Recently there was another case like this. 20-30 “immigrant youths” from the “religion of peace” ™ tried to gang up on 2 German guys. In the struggle that followed one of the “youths” ate his own knife. There were some 3,000 “peace lovers” ™ at his funeral screaming for blood of the evil German who defended himself. The media and certain politicians have already taken a side. Guess which one. Yeah, not the German’s. Prosecution is already treating it as a justified self defense case as well.

    Just today I read of a case in Germany, where an 18 year old guy raped, strangled and stabbed an 11 year old girl. And now a writer for the “WELT” states that this guy is a victim, because he had such a horribly hard childhood.

    • wormme says:

      We’re having a rash of black-on-white “payback” assaults here lately, due to the T. Martin thing. You won’t know about them unless you dig deep, of course.

      • Edohiguma says:

        Oh I know. Mohammedan “youths” constantly attack Germans, and ht emedia doesn’t care. But a few years ago a Russian-German killed a mohammedan woman. Even Iran screamed murder. The media was quick to placate “islamophobia” as the reason. Same with the Norwegian shooter. Norway, together with Sweden, has massive problems with the mohammedans. Nobody cares. Then this guy goes nuts, shoots a few modern Hitler Youth members (no, those kids weren’t as sweet and innocent as everybody makes you believe, they were indoctrinated to hate Jews, and some survivors stated that they originally believed it to be a simulation if Israeli crimes) and the media goes berserk. Norway has an abortion rate of roughly 16,000 children per year. 16,000 unborn children are irrelevant, but 80-odd are important? Interesting.

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