Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 24, 2004
POLITICS: Kerry Crack-Up

CrushKerry.com - not an impartial source, obviously - claims that the decision to threaten legal action against the Swift Boaters came from Kerry himself against the better judgment of his advisors. Here's what's interesting about Kerry wanting to use the courts to squelch criticism: remember the FOX lawsuit against Al Franken, which was widely reported to have been instigated by Bill O'Reilly? Remember the hue and cry on the left at O'Reilly over this?

*Matt Yglesias: "If this sort of thing is going to be typical of rightwing tactical thinking in the near future, then Bush is definitely going down in 2004."

*Kevin Drum endorsed attempts to shame the lawyers who filed the suit.

*Jack Balkin called it "A Fair and Balanced Attempt at Censorship" and added:

The most troubling aspect of the lawsuit politically is its attempt to harass a political opponent through the use of intellectual property laws. . . . We can only hope that Fox receives the bad publicity it deserves for filing this lawsuit; first, for being on the wrong side of this free speech controversy, and second, for trying to suppress people who disagree with its coverage of the news. It is particularly upsetting for a news organization to try to use the courts to suppress the speech of its political critics.

(See also Oliver Willis and Mark Kleiman)

Now, it turns out that the Democrats' presidential candidate is the same sort of glass-jawed bully that O'Reilly is. Oh, the irony.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:43 PM | Politics 2004 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

There really isn't any comparison between John Kerry filing suit against the Not So Swift Boaters and the Fox suit. There are very specific statutory and regulatory provisions prohibiting coordination between 527 committees and political campaigns or parties and allowing for a complaint to be brought to the Federal Election Commission. By contrast, the Fox lawsuit against Al Franken attempted enjoin in federal court the publication of a book - which ran head long into both the First Amendment as well as an obvious Fair Use defense to the purported Copyright violation.

As if that were not enough, the Bush campaign previously filed a similar complaint claiming that certain Democratic 527 committees were coordinating with the Kerry campaign and the DNC. Kerry's complaint will likely flounder in the FEC the same way that Bush's did. That said, the Kerry complaint is really not similar at all to the Fox lawsuit against Al Franken's book.

Posted by: Nick at August 25, 2004 10:42 PM
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