A couple of days back, a Free Republic poster named 'coffee260' repeated something he had heard on the XM Radio broadcast of Quinn & Rose: that DNC Chairman Howard Dean had allegedly
called Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius [D] early, around 5 am, one morning after the tornado had destroyed the town of Greensburg, Kansas and discussed with her what to say about the tornado and how to blame the war in Iraq and the Bush administration on a slow response to the aftermath...[SNIP]and that
she confessed to [Senator Sam Brownback, R] that she had been instructed by her party leadership, (more specifically, Howard Dean) on how to politicize the tornado's destruction of Greensburg and attack the White House and the Iraq war for a seemingly slow response. She reassured the Senator that her allegations didn't blame him or Pat Roberts, also a Kansas Senator, for the lack of immediate response.Because of this post, Free Republic (and XM Radio) have each received a cease-and-desist letter from the DNC's legal representation stating that
The statements quoted above are false and defamatory, are libelous and slanderous, and clearly threaten to interfere with the DNC's operations and ability to solicit support and raise funds by prejudicing the organization in the the eyes of Democratic Party supporters and the public. For these reasons, we demand that FreeRepublic.com (i) immediately cease and desist from further dissemination of the above-quoted statements or any statements similar in substance and (ii) immediately post a retraction of these statements in a location on its web page at least as prominent as that on which the original story appeared.
Please let us know by noon tomorrow (May 11, 2007) whether you intend to comply with these requests.Well. Does the DNC have a case? Powerline's Scott Johnson says 'no' and refers to the author of the letter, DNC' attorney Joseph Sandler as "a thug representing a bunch of reprobates and bullies" to boot, because
Under the First Amendment, as construed by the Supreme Court in New York Times v. Sullivan, citizens are protected from defamation claim by public figures so long as the statements in issue are lacking in "actual malice," i.e, knowledge of their falsehood or reckless disregard to whether they are false or not.As this situation becomes known, repeated and linked to, one wonders whether the DNC legal assistants will be in overdrive as it hands out cease-and-desist letters all around the blogosphere (at least to the conservative side).
I'm not a legal sort, but if I were a mover/shaker in the DNC, I'd fire this guy Sandler, as this move is bound to backfire on the organization which he represents. It's a shot in the foot, for sure and likely one borne of the enmity created by the exposure of the bogus Bush AWOL gambit which began its destruction when Free Republic denizens first put a magnifying glass to it.
Mindless anger makes one less likely to think things through, but, to paraphase whoever, when your ideological opponent shoots himself in the proverbial foot, simply stand back.
(Thanks to Instatpundit)
HELP GREENSBURG REBUILD: Green for Greensburg via the United Way
[For] defamation and discrimination by a former employee - claiming among other things that Dean discriminates against gays and violated the “D.C. Human Rights Act”