A tip of the boonie hat to Peter G, whose email led me here which in turn led me to this story about this ruling in the interesting libel suit proceeding in DC against the Southern Preposterous Lie Center. As McClatchy reports it:
Scholar's libel suit proceeds against Southern Poverty Law Center
Guenter Lewy's very interesting libel case against the Southern Poverty Law Center can proceed in the District of Columbia, a trial judge ruled Tuesday.
This one is worth watching.
Lewy is an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts. A survivor of German violence against Jews during World War II, Prof. Lewy has written numerous books and articles about the history of persecuted peoples. In 2005, the University of Utah Press published his book, "The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide."
As Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly noted: Prof. Lewy ultimately concludes in the book that the current, reliable evidence of genocide is unpersuasive or inconclusive.
The Southern Poverty Law Center subsequently issued a report, in which it stated that "Lewy is one of the most active members of a network of American scholars, influence peddlers and website operators, financed by hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from the government of Turkey, who promote the denial of the Armenian genocide."
Lewy sued, and the first decision for Judge Kollar-Kotelly was whether the Southern Poverty Law Center was sufficiently connected to Washington, D.C. for her court to have jurisdiction. On Tuesday, she said yes with respect to the organization. The libel suit can proceed.
The judge's ruling contains this paragraph detailing the damages SPLC and Holthouse, as the "senior editor" of the woe-fully misnamed "Intelligence Report" did to Lewy.
Lewy claims that the statements made in the Intelligence Report are defamatory because they falsely accuse him of corruption, fraud, and even commission of a crime under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, 22 U.S.C. §§ 611-21. See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 27-33. Lewy claims that the statements damaged his reputation as a scholar, diminished his opportunities for teaching and speaking, hurt his book sales, and caused him emotional trauma and suffering. Id. ¶ 27. Lewy seeks compensatory and punitive damages totaling $8 million.
Now eight million bucks is chump change to SPLC, which has hundreds of millions in the bank -- nothing "Poverty" about SPLC -- but the interesting thing is that this is the first time that SPLC may be in real danger of paying up for one of their multitude of lies. If successful, even if settled out of court, this will encourage the cannibals of the lawyer tribe to eat one of the richest and fattest of their own in a death of a thousand damage award entrees. Nothing encourages the legal sharks like blood in the water. The race to see who will get SPLC's palatial glass Taj Mahal in Montgomery will be fun to watch.
Couldn't happen to nicer anal sphincters.
The lawsuit focuses attention on SPLC's "Intelligence Report" and especially on its "senior editor" David Holthouse.
Holthouse is no stranger to publicity. A perusal of some of his recent stories indicates the "journalistic standards" he operates by.
For those of you with first-hand experience of Knob Creek, I draw your attention to Holthouse's 2006 conflationary racist tar baby epic on that event. It will give you a flavor of the "journalism" Holthouse practices.
I look forward to seeing this case go to trial, and await with anticipation all the others that will surely follow a Lewy success. We'll no doubt be hearing a lot more about David Holthouse.