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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 20, 2009 2 Mar-Cheshvan 5770

To Sue or Not

By Thomas Sowell




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | To sue or not to sue? That is the question.

After racist statements were made up out of thin air and then attributed to Rush Limbaugh, these were the options he had.

It is easy for me to understand that these are not simple choices because I have faced those options as well. Recently there have been a number of columns made up by others and put on the Internet with my name on them. The things said in those bogus columns have nothing in common with anything that I have said, in my columns, in my books or anywhere else.

Years ago, CBS reporter Lem Tucker said in a broadcast on October 13, 1981 that my views "seem to place him in the school that believes that maybe most blacks are genetically inferior to white people."

Anyone interested in the facts could have discovered that I had argued directly against this idea in a number of writings, including a feature article in the New York Times Magazine on March 27, 1977.

An attorney I did not know, but who had read my writings and knew that what was insinuated in that broadcast was totally false, offered to represent me in a lawsuit against CBS. That was when I faced the kind of dilemma that Rush Limbaugh faces now.


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When someone is considered to be a "public figure"— and Rush Limbaugh is certainly that— the Supreme Court has narrowed the grounds on which that public figure can sue for libel, to the point where even the most blatant lie can often go unpunished.

Worse yet, there may be millions of people who never heard the original lie but who will hear it repeated in the media as a result of news stories about the lawsuit. And when those who committed character assassination are let off the hook on a technicality, they can claim "vindication," as if what they said was true.

The question facing any public figure who has been the target of character assassination in the media is: Is it worth investing a large amount of time in a process that can make you worse off by spreading the very lie that you are suing to stop?

The down side of not suing is that it allows the lie to continue to be repeated in the media, with later repetitions being justified in terms of "just reporting" what someone else said.

No one can resolve this dilemma for someone else. My decision in 1981 was that I had too many other things to do for me to go into the exhausting and time-consuming process of suing CBS, with such dicey odds in the courts.

Every situation is different, so whether Rush Limbaugh should sue is a question that only he can answer.

The question for the media to answer is: Are lies to go unchallenged when they are lies against someone you disagree with? Worse yet, are they to be excused, rationalized or even repeated?

Already there are people on television saying that, although Rush didn't actually say the things that have been attributed to him, he has said other things that they choose to call "racist."

If those other things really are racist, why don't they quote them, instead of something that was made up out of whole cloth?

The Rush Limbaugh show has, after all, been broadcast for many years, three hours a day. There are thousands of hours of those broadcasts that people can go back through to look for things to quote.

If critics can't find anything racist in all that material, why should an outright lie about what the man said be given a pass?

As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts.

Ultimately, this is not about Rush Limbaugh or anybody else who is smeared with impunity. It is about the whole climate in which issues are discussed.

Without a range of opposing opinions being available to the public, the basic concept of a self-governing democracy is a mockery. If views that some people don't like can be silenced or discredited by character assassination, the whole country loses.

The courts should not be the only line of defense. Common decency should be the first line of defense, so that people who smear others will pay a price in the outrage that their lies should provoke, even among decent people who do not agree with the target of their smears.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Thomas Sowell's column by clicking here.

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