Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Trump Wants to Silence Dissent?

This is ridiculous.  Libel has always been actionable and that is all Trump is proposing

Just like a dictator of a third-world country, Donald Trump can’t stand anyone criticizing him. That’s why on Friday, Trump told his cheering acolytes that he wants to rewrite the nation’s libel laws so he can sue newspapers and journalists he thinks are unfair. “One of the things I’m gonna do if I win,” Trump said, “is I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles we can sue them and win lots of money. We’ll open up those libel laws so that when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post … writes a hit piece we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they are totally protected.”



Anonymous said...

There is not much that a President can do without the agreement of Congress.

Stan B said...

Current libel laws require malice when it involves public figures or office-holders, and the Don seems to be very frustrated that malice is so hard to prove. If we lower the bar to what the person "knew or should have known" to be false, rather than having to prove intent, that would make it much easier to sue.

So I get his point - it's very difficult to prove malice, and often requires a "smoking gun" type memo or record of some sort that says "we know this is false, but we're going to get this guy, so truth be damned!" and most journalists and professional opinion givers are way to smart to leave such an obvious trail. God bless the anonymous source!

Anonymous said...

While Stan is correct that libel (and slander) laws do require malice when it comes to public figures, they also require actual damages. It is hard to imagine any statement a newspaper or media would say or print that would cause monetary damage to Trump.

(It should also be noted that Trump's speech is protected as well when he makes outrageous claims against other people. Trump wants people to listen to his libelous statements but wants to silence those who speak out against him.)

Secondly, Trump has sued others before for simply saying things he doesn't like. He sued biographer Greg O'Brien over Trumps estimated wealth. He sued the Chicago tribune over a review of a building Trump said he was going to build when the reviewer of the noted its height and footprint would require much more work to make it stable plus the fact that tall, narrow building are not generally economically profitable. Trump went after a company's financial analyst who predicted Trump's Taj Mahal in Atlantic City would fail. (That would be the casino that failed.) He has made legal threats against Amazon and the owners of the Chicago Cubs for supporting other candidates.

Trump has the money to make it painful and expensive for those who comment or offer opinions to defend themselves from protected speech. He doesn't really care about the substance or accuracy of what is said, he only cares about silencing and punishing those who disagree with him.

Trump got his understanding of the Constitution from Trump University.

Anonymous said...

ANON 4:46

You do not understand "damage" per libel law. Without the malice angle if the NYT prints an article that has many speculative or untrue statements about a public individual and the individual can show in court where they had damage to their reputation, had to buy advertising, lost sales revenue, investment, etc. due to the article then the court determines what that loss was and awards monetary damages to the individual. While I agree that lawsuits are used to bully and shut people up there needs to be a balance restored so that the press has to have facts on the side of their reporting, not just opinion and innuendo.


Anonymous said...

It really comes down to harrassment and people like Trump, with lawyers at his beck and call, can harrass at the drop of a hat. He does it all the time to intimidate and silence those that cannot handle the burden of a lawsuit, regardless of who's right.

Anonymous said...


While you may assert that I don't understand "damage" per libel law, you then go and explain exactly what I was saying.

If there is damage done, the person has to show how they were harmed monetarily to receive an award. As you said, that damage may be in the form of loss of business, ads needing to be taken out, ect.

A person suing for libel (or slander) just cannot say "my feelings were hurt." They have to be able to prove what actual damages were done and how it affected them in dollars.

In the O'Brien case - the case of the biographer sued for misstating Trump's wealth, this is the exchange from the deposition with Trump over his value:

Q: Now, Mr. Trump, have you always been completely truthful in your public statements about your net worth of properties?

A: I try.

Q: Have you ever not been truthful? A: My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings, but I try.

Q: Let me just understand that a little bit. Let’s talk about net worth for a second. You said that the net worth goes up and down based upon your own feelings?

A: Yes, even my own feelings, as to where the world is, where the world is going, and that can change rapidly from day to day. Then you have a September 11th, and you don’t feel so good about yourself and you don’t feel so good about the world and you don’t feel so good about New York City. Then you have a year later, and the city is as hot as a pistol. Even months after that it was a different feeling. So yeah, even my own feelings affect my value to myself.

Q: When you publicly state what you’re worth, what do you base that number on?

A: I would say it’s my general attitude at the time that the question may be asked. And as I say, it varies.

So Trump sued a guy over the course of five years over a subjective statement that even Trump could not quantify.

Eventually Trump's case was dismissed but not before the Superior Court effectively called Trump a liar:

A footnote in the superior court’s ruling relates: “Trump contends that O’Brien acknowledged that his name was a valuable asset, calling it ‘bigger than Coke and Pepsi.’ That statement is incorrect. The claim was reported in a BusinessWeek article as emanating from Trump himself.”

If elected, Trump is a threat to the Constitution and the freedoms we all enjoy.

Bird of Paradise said...

Obama is already going over the heads of congress and using Executive Orders to force his leftists laws upon us