NPR and Defamation

Politico reports that a U. S. District Court in Texas has ruled that a defamation suit filed against a group of defendants including National Public Radio can proceed to discovery. Judge Amos Mazzant found the $57 million suit filed by Ed Butowsky makes plausible claims that the network may be liable for defamation for a series of online stories about Butowsky’s role in publicizing assertions that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered as part of a broader political plot.

NPR argued that the reports by media correspondent David Folkenflik accurately described a prior lawsuit filed against Fox News and Butowsky for defamation, accusing Fox of fabricating quotations in a story about Rich’s murder. The judge did not agree.

“The statements made by Folkenflik were made as verifiable statements of fact,” the judge wrote. “The statements at issue were not merely expressing a subjective view. Looking at the context of the verifiable facts, nothing shows the statements expressed Folkenflik’s opinion or merely offer Folkenflik’s personal perspective on disputed facts.”

Butowsky has several other defamation suits pending against other news outfits, including CNN, Vox, and The New York Times.

Adam Lanza and the NRA

While I was getting dressed this morning, I heard the newsreader on NPR mention that among the items listed on the search warrant for the Lanza house was an “NRA certificate.”

Oh, horrors! The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter had a certificate from the NRA.

Gimme a break.

The NRA teaches courses in firearm safety, and Connecticut recognizes them as adequate training in safe gun handling for an applicant for a concealed carry permit. While Adam Lanza was only 20 when he committed his infamous crime, he might have taken such a course if he intended to apply when he turned 21. Or maybe he did some rifle shooting at summer camp when he was a kid and achieved some Junior Marksmanship rating. There are numerous reasons why someone might have an “NRA certificate.”

I have one. It says “Life Member.” Neither Adam Lanza nor his mother were members of the NRA.

Ryan 1, MSM/Obama 0

I was favorably impressed by Paul Ryan’s convention speech. It was quite effective, so effective that Team Obama and the MSM began counterattacking immediately. They’ve picked the wrong point of attack.

While listening to WETA-FM this morning (a classic music station, my iPod goes from Bach to Wagner), I heard the NPR newsreader at the 7:30 break mention that Rep. Ryan had blamed the President for the plant closing even though the plant had closed while George Bush was in office.

Wrong. The plant closed in June, 2009, as part of the GM restructuring. NPR isn’t the only MSM outlet spreading the Obama campaign’s false claim. Twitchy has a good collection of Democrat and MSM tweets and the conservative pushback.

They’ve lost control of the narrative. They’re panicking.

Is it November yet?

UPDATE–The ad almost writes itself. “We had good jobs until Obama and Government Motors shut down the plant here in Janesville …”


UPDATE 3–Prof. Jacobson fact checks the fact checker. It isn’t pretty.

UPDATE 4–After checking my iPod, I find that it goes from Albinoni to Zappa. Yes, Frank Zappa was a serious composer who did some interesting work with Pierre Boulez.

UPDATE 5–Stacy McCain:

They are a disgrace to the profession to which they claim to belong. Truth matters. Truth is precious and powerful. Liars are a dime a dozen.

Don’t Know Much About Science

Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein were on NPR’s Morning Edition promoting their new book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks. Their thesis is that the problems in government, and especially the Congress, are caused by the Republicans.

One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier – ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

Karl over at Hot Air has been debunking the political side of Mann and Ornstein’s argument. I’d like to have a go at the science.

Most of the “green” technology/jobs legislation/spending has been pushed by the Democrats. Their ecological dreams are now running smack into the wall of the Laws of Thermodynamics–There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch! Photovoltaic arrays are made up of semiconductors that are doped with heavy metals such as arsenic and cadmium. The hazardous waste left behind by Solyndra is just financial. Large wind farms not only kill huge numbers of birds, they may remove enough energy from the environment to cause local climate change. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels provide superior energy density to electric batteries, and burning gasoline or diesel fuel in the vehicle being moved has fewer losses than burning coal in a power plant hundreds of miles away, transmitting the energy, charging a battery, and then turning the motor to move the vehicle.

The science behind all that is settled. It’s the sort of stuff that had made it into the undergraduate curriculum by the time I was studying engineering in the ’60s. Wishful thinking by a former VP who made a D in Natural Science won’t change these principles.

All this doesn’t mean that the Republicans aren’t part of the problem. They are just as apt to try to legislate without regard to the Laws of Nature. But Mann and Ornstein are off base when they lay the problem mostly at the Republican’s feet

Qui Custodiet Ipsos Custodes

On the way to work this morning, I heard an NPR news report that the “good government” group Common Cause was complaining to the IRS about American Legislative Exchange Council’s tax-exempt status. The report and the top- and bottom-of the-hour newscasts tied ALEC to stand-your-ground laws and to the Zimmerman case. I shrugged and put it down to sloppy advocacy masquerading as a news report.

Breitbart reports that Peter Overby, the reporter on the piece, is a former employee of Common Cause. Oh, and the tax expert quoted in the report is with a firm that recently represented Common Cause.


In the interest of full disclosure: I did some contract work for NPR about 30 years ago.