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Jul 22 2013

Competitive Enterprise Institute does malice

At least, according to a DC Superior Court decision on Friday, there’s enough evidence that it does to make it ok for Michael Mann to proceed with a defamation suit.

A stunning DC Superior Court decision Friday on behalf of climatologist Michael Mann against the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) found:

There is sufficient evidence presented that is indicative of “actual malice. The CEI Defendants have consistently accused Plaintiff of fraud and inaccurate theories, despite Plaintiff’s work having been investigated several times and found to be proper. The CEI Defendants’ persistence despite the EPA and other investigative bodies’ conclusion that Plaintiff’s work is accurate (or that there is no evidence of data manipulation) is equal to a blatant disregard for the falsity of their statements. Thus, given the evidence presented the Court finds that Plaintiff could prove “actual malice.”

Sounds like actual malice to me – being shown over and over again that there is no data manipulation, and continuing to say there is just the same. Yup, I call that malice. I see a lot of it, too – a lie being repeated over and over and over and over again no matter how many times you point out that it’s a lie.

There were actually two decisions handed in DC Superior Court affirming Mann’s right to proceed in his defamation lawsuit against CEI and the National Review Online for their accusations of data manipulation and fraud. The Court eviscerated the Defendants’ arguments (made in their Motion to Dismiss) that their attacks are somehow First Amendment “protected speech” — merely “opinion,” “rhetorical hyperbole,” or “fair comment.”

The determination of “malice” is critical, as the decision explains:

The Court of Appeals has stated that to recover for defamation, a public figure must prove that the defamatory statement was made with “actual malice.” Nader v. de Toledano, 408 A.2d 31, 40 (D.C. 1979); see also, Foretich v. CBS, Inc., 619 A.2d 48, 59 (D.C. 1993) (quoting New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 297 (1964). This means the statement was made “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”

Which is malicious.

 

5 comments

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  1. 1
    unbound

    Isn’t CEI one of the original libertarian think tanks? No surprise that they’ve been maligning people that don’t agree with them. Most Libertarian thought is as indefensible and separate from reality as religion.

  2. 2
    R Johnston

    @1:

    Libertarian “thought” isn’t merely like religion; it is religion. It is faith based, utterly dogmatic, cultish, and demands the rejection of the concept of empirical reality. It is theology. And although you don’t need gods–only blind faith–to start a religion, libertarianism even has its gods, its objects and people subjected to worship and assigned the non-existent supernatural trait of infallibility.

    A University of Chicago Doctorate in economics is a Bob Jones Doctorate in Theology.

  3. 3
    mildlymagnificent

    It’s worth reading the whole of the Court’s remarks. If I were advising these “Defendants”, I’d be telling them that “you’ve been told”. The whole decision, and practically every paragraph, is warning them that they’d better settle now. Give up, give in and be nice to Dr Mann, or you’ll be done like a dinner in any formal proceedings.

  4. 4
    sheila

    Yay for Michael Mann! This must have taken LOTS of spoons.

  5. 5
    iknklast

    These folks keep sending me free books on climate science – books that deny climate change, of course. Why do they send me free books? Because I teach environmental science to college students, and they want to make sure I have all the relevant information. These are glossy books, books that look important, and the most recent one had a very long discussion of the fraud that had been perpetrated by climate scientists. They knew this because of the hacked e-mails which don’t really show fraud, but which they read fraud into.

    It’s too successful. More of my students have heard of the allegations, and find them convincing, then have been made aware that those allegations were investigated and the scientists cleared (6 times, I think). I finally had to ban using any think tank as a source for papers, no matter what the ideology of the think tank. (I’d already had to ban HuffPo because of the amount of pseudoscientific nonsense they spouted; I just banned all blogs).

    These deniers are lying, they probably know they are lying, but it’s effective, because it’s what people want to hear. There’s no problem, you don’t need to change anything, and if there is a problem, well, just trust God. He’ll fix it. I get tired of beating my head against brick walls, but it’s just got to be done, I guess.

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