lucy24 - 1:39 am on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)
I invite you to peruse the judge's instructions to the jury:
OK, I'll concede the jury. And oops, yes, I did miss the direct link. But not "convicted" and "guilty": those apply strictly to criminal cases, and the documentation confirms that this was a civil case. Hence the wording "liable for". (Incidentally, where did the word "fine" in the OP come from? I thought it was the newspaper headline but now can't find it. That's just as well, since it would have made the Guardian itself guilty of bad journalism.)
The judge also described Cox's language -- "a fanciful diatribe" -- as undercutting a reader's expectation of factual information. And while certain statements from Cox's post could, in isolation, be seen as arguably factual, when "the content and context of the surrounding statements are considered," they would not be understood as assertions of fact.
What the ###? That whole line of reasoning would seem to argue against finding the defendant liable for anything.
The jury instructions for the case make no mention of a negligence or other fault requirement for defamation in Oregon, specifically stating that the defendant's knowledge of the statement's truth or falsity was irrelevant to the determination.
Double what the ###. Is the judge single-handedly trying to redefine libel and defamation?
If you define a journalist as someone making statements that are intended to be read by strangers-- which is essentially what the word "publication" means-- then how on earth do you exclude bloggers while including tabloids?