Saturday, August 23, 2003

So I guess Al Franken won, just like that, unless Fox stupidly pursues the case:

"There are hard cases and there are easy cases," U.S. District Judge Denny Chin told Fox's lawyers Friday. "This is an easy case in my view and wholly without merit, both factually and legally."...

At a hearing Friday, Dory Hanswirth argued that consumers would see a photo of Fox TV pundit Bill O'Reilly on Franken's book cover and be confused. "It's a deadly serious cover, and it's using Fox News to sell itself," she said.

Chin appeared skeptical of her argument, interrupting her to say, "The president and vice president are also on the cover, are they not? Is someone going to think they're also affiliated with Fox?"...

After the ruling, Franken thanked Fox, saying the lawsuit's publicity had boosted sales. "I'd like to thank Fox's lawyers for filing one of the stupidest briefs I've ever seen in my life," he told The Associated Press.

I never did understand the legal point of the anti-Franken trash-talk in Fox's brief. The only explanation that made any sense was that O’Reilly is Fox News’s cash cow, so it actually seems worth it to Murdoch to have his lawyers waste their time preparing briefs that are utterly useless in court, just to keep the blowhard happy.

Or does it just not matter anymore to these movement conservatives if they win their legal cases? If you listen to the Tavis Smiley Show audio link I posted last night, you can hear Ayesha Ali of Americans United for Separation of Church and State wondering about the strategy of the lawyers defending Roy Moore’s Ten Commandments monument. She says they made no effort to use legal arguments that might have won his case -- presumably because Moore would rather lose defending theocracy than win by arguing that the monument doesn’t represent theocracy.

These guys aren’t even trying to win. They’re grandstanding -- playing to a sympathetic segment of the public the way lefty radicals did back when they used to say things like “Not guilty under the terms of your fascist, imperialistic laws, Your Honor,” and sometimes made a circus of their own trials. Judge Moore is doing it because he is, in fact, a right-wing radical; Fox is playing to a peanut gallery of right-wing radicals who want the status quo destroyed, or pissed on, while they watch on TV.

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