Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mark Steyn Defends Conrad Black's Frivolous Lawsuits

From CFRB(a nice piece by Brian Lilley):

Steyn has spent much of his career working for newspapers or magazines owned by Conrad Black, a man famous for launching, or threatening to launch, lawsuits over words he took issue with. That says Mr. Steyn is different, the columnist says he believes in limits on free speech based on facts and truth and opposes limits on free speech based on a difference of opinion.

"For example, if you say that I am wanted for killing 32 prostitutes in Amsterdam last year" says Steyn. "And it turns out that I am in fact not wanted for killing 32 prostitutes in Amsterdam. Then I think I should have the right to take you to court about that. But there we would be arguing about the facts of the matter, to use a quaint old expression."

Mark, my lad, the problem with this defense is that a regular court is "pay to play", and if you don't have the dough, you never get a chance to even make your argument. So for example, when Toronto Life ran a satirical story arguing that His Blackness should be condemned to Hell forever, there was no question that this could be anything other than an expression of opinion, Black's laughable assertion that the article questioned his observance of the Roman Catholic faith notwithstanding.

No, that suit was launched quite simply as a means by which a very rich man could bring a Toronto-based magazine to heel, to make them think twice in future of criticising his pronouncements or actions. The actual outcome was immaterial to Black, and indeed when Toronto Life issued an apology rather than face the hassle of going to court, his legal assault had already served its purpose.

And it is not like this is the only case of Conrad's employing such tactics. Google "Conrad Black" and "Libel Chill" and see how many results you get, or just read this.

So Mr. Steyn's outrage against the Canadian HRCs would ring a little less hollow if he was not so particular about which among the legal weapons used to silence opinion that he disapproved of.


Anonymous said...

Be careful of criticising Conrad Black, or His Lardship, as I call him.

Please have a look at this blog thread
on which I participated until yesterday.

Have a look also at Toronto Life's rules, which are rarely, if ever, observed.

I have tried in my posts to deal with His Lardship, and his wife, whom I call Morticia, with satire, humour and ridicule, because I believe that is the best way to render people like them impotent. And they have provided plenty of ammunition.

Some time ago, however, a stalker appeared in the blog and every criticism
of them that I expressed about His Lardship and Morticia immediately led to very vicious personal abuse, ultimately accusations that I was involved in paedophilia in India, and so on.

The creature leaf then posted my phone number in Helsinki and urged others to visit me and "cleanse" me, as in ethnic cleansing. After that, it used the Helsinki police web site to make a complaint about me, again claiming that I was a paedophile. The message to the police (mentioning a dossier that had been compiled on me) and the automated response from their server (in English) were likewise posted.

My appeals to Toronto Life led to sympathetic e-mail replies (I divulged my actual name and address to them), but nothing changed other that a few of the most offending posts were deleted.

Nothing more happened followed, despite my having made a formal notification of a crime to the Helsinki police and a report to the RCMP Internet 101 team.

Yesterday I sent a post explaining why I no longer wanted to post on the site and that post was deleted, and I have received no reply to my e-mail.

I seems it is not advisable to criticise His Lardship and Morticia too loudly. The events on the TL blog show how savagely his supporters are prepared to fight.

I do not know who is behind the stalker or why Toronto Life does not observe its own posting rules.

The sooner His Lardship is where he belongs, behind bars, the better!

But I feat Canada may well be as soft on cyberterrorism as it seems to be on white-collar crime.

Ti-Guy said...

Did the Black entourage pass around lack of integrity among each other the way others pass around STD's? Or is the brain- and soul-rot manifestations of actual syphilis?

Anonymous said...

So, 'BCL', am I to assume that if I were to write a syndicated but witty and, er, purely satirical, you understand, essay on the subject of your well-known proclivities involving small children, white powder and the family pet, it will all be taken in the very best of all possible humours?

Or would you be just a teensy-weensy bit miffed?

bigcitylib said...

Already been done, David. Google "The Rat" and BigCityLib and find where I have been accused of being a child pornographer. Dude, I am NOT sensitive.

Anonymous said...

"well-known proclivities involving small children, white powder and the family pet, "

so you have met BCL and his lead wanker-spanker ti-guy ???

Ti-Guy said...

It's no wonder KKKate and KKKathy and Mike Brock and Stephen Taylor think they're geniuses; look who makes up their their fan-base?

Anonymous said...

Wow that's kind of hard, like the guy in new york that killed people just for use cheap viagra, he waited for victims around the corner on nights of course, that was in the 70s, but it's scary because people it's more crazy than before.

Anonymous said...

I think you're right because it's like a behaving in a silly and thoughtless way when you should be serious... I just couldn't understood that exactitude.