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A blogger in the US state of Oregon has just been ordered by a court to pay $2.5m (£1.6m) to an investment company because of a defamatory posting.
Crystal Cox was sued by investment firm Obsidian Finance Group for writing several blog posts that were highly critical of the firm and its co-founder Kevin Padrick.
She argued in Portland district court that she should have the same legal protection that is afforded to journalists.
"Although [the] defendant is a self-proclaimed 'investigative blogger' and defines herself as 'media,' the record fails to show that she is affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system. Thus, she is not entitled to the protections of the law."
Yes, but what should the standard be? Explain, please.
FWIW, the folks who award the Pulitzer prizes have historically considered the Enquirer not to be eligible.
Lucy, I invite you to peruse the judge's instructions to the jury: [citmedialaw.org...]
And the jury's verdict: [citmedialaw.org...]
I invite you to peruse the judge's instructions to the jury:
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.
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.
With grammar like that, I wouldn't call her a journalist either.
"In the law of torts, "harm" is generally treated as physical invasion of person or property. The outlawing of defamation (libel and slander) has always been a glaring anomaly in tort law. Words and opinions are not physical invasions. Analogous to the loss of property value from a better product or a shift in consumer demand, no one has a property right in his "reputation." Reputation is strictly a function of the subjective opinions of other minds, and they have the absolute right to their own opinions whatever they may be. Hence, outlawing defamation is itself a gross invasion of the defamer's right of freedom of speech, which is a subset of his property right in his own person." -- Murray Rothbard
Journalism does not need to be balanced or fair
The defense to defamation is the truth.
And what idealistic world do you live in?