Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I'm amused to see that the fallback argument of the right in the Donald Sterling case is that we should be more concerned about the violation of Sterling's privacy than about his remarks and his conduct. Yes, it seems likely that Sterling was taped in violation of California's two-party consent law. If that leads to a criminal punishment comparable to whatever's happened in similar situations, fine. (I imagine there aren't a lot of folks doing hard time in San Quentin on a taping-my-scumbag-significant-other rap.)

But, um, aren't right-wingers the folks who made James O'Keefe a hero? And Linda Tripp a heroine? And don't they love lawbreaking when it serves a higher law? One right-wing commentator compared Cliven Bundy to King, Gandhi, Jefferson, FDR, Washington, Thoreau, Paul Revere, and the guys who died at the Alamo. Donald Sterling's remarks were abhorrent, as even right-wing commntators piously note when they talk about the story -- but I guess that doesn't mean V. Stiviano is Gandhi. Have I got that correct, righties?

So there's this:

And at NBA commissioner Adam Silver's press conference yesterday there was Jovan Lien, a producer for Megyn Kelly's show on Fox News. Lien echoed remarks made by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban:
"Should someone lose their team for remarks shared in private?" she asked. "Is this a slippery slope?"

"Whether or not these remarks were initially shared in private, they are now public," Silver explained. "And they represent his views."
And, ultimately, there was Megyn Kelly herself, on her show last night.

A couple of highlights:
MEGYN KELLY: The question tonight: No one is defending the remarks. Nobody is defending the remarks. The question is whether the deprivation of his property rights, in terms of his ownership rights of a sports team, you know, his financial livelihood, and the swift condemnation by every corner, basically taking away his livelihood, is a slippery slope, as Mark Cuban suggested.
His livelihood? Donald Sterling is one of the thousand richest men in the world, with a net worth of $1.9 billion. If he's forced to sell the Clippers, he's selling a team he bought for $12 million in 1981 and that's now valued at $575 billion million, with some speculating that its price tag could be $1 billion. His livelihood? Seriously, Megyn?
KELLY: ... is this the future of America, where private conversations between two people who are supposedly in a relationship wind up going public and then somebody who makes clearly inappropriate remarks, to put it charitably, has everything taken away from him?
Everything! Everything is being taken away from Sterling! With no compensation! (Apart from, y'know, that billion or so.)

Kelly addresses this question to sports agent Steve Olenick, who replies.
STEVE OLENICK: Megyn, I think you're spot-on. I think this potentially becomes the norm. I mean, look at this. If this happens to Mr. Sterling, this potentially could happen to anybody.
Anybody! This could happen to any ordinary schlubby American couple, because TMZ would be equally interested in our arguments!

Donald Sterling is a public figure. People like Sterling have had their dirty laundry aired in public for as long as there's been mass media. You want to deal with the legal ramifications on this? Fine. You want to put real teeth in the taping law, or in its enforcement, so people genuinely fear the consequences of doing something like this? Sure, let's have that conversation. But as long as we don't severely punish the making and publishing of tapes like this, information about the rich and famous that we weren't supposed to know will get out, as it always has. And the court of public opinion doesn't have the same rules of evidence as courts of law -- which is fine.


UPDATE: Oh, this is rich -- a blooger blogger is upset about privacy at The American Spectator, which still exists only because it's dining out on its reputation as the media epicenter of Clinton-era panty-sniffing. So, Emmett Tyrrell, do we get a do-over on the '90s now, with you guys declaring Clinton a privacy martyr? (Via Clark Stooksbury.)


UPDATE: I wonder how far the right would be willing to go on privacy. How about that Texas family law judge whose brutal beating of his daughter was secretly videotaped by the daughter, then posted online? The video went viral, and the judge was suspended for a time, then lost his judgeship in an election last month. Should we have fretted about that sadist's right to privacy, according to conservatives? Wait, never mind -- I think I know the answer.


Victor said...

"...a blooger..."

Now THAT'S a typo worth keeping!

It's like a combo of blogger and booger!

Steve M. said...

Argh -- fixed now.

Victor said...

What these Conservative numbnuts forget, is that Donald Sterling is not in a one-team league.

His action affect the other 29 franchises and their owners - and the stability and further growth of the sport.

Advertisers and sponsors have already run away from the Clippers.

What if they ran away from the league?

And what if people around the country boycott not only Clippers games when they come to town, but their own teams, because their owners didn't punish Sterling enough.

I know Conservatives never take responsibility for the consequences of their actions - but it would be nice if they even thought of ANY possible consequences, beyond just making cheap political points!!!

Victor said...

That one was A KEEPER!!!!

Philo Vaihinger said...

I find it interesting they are all so emphatic that "nobody is defending his remarks."

Not so long ago that is exactly what would have been happening.

repsac3 said...

I was reading the twitter stream of a free speech law blooger--Ken White, from Popehat--who was saying Stiviano stood a good chance of being convicted were she to be brought to trial...but that given the circumstances, the fine would probably be set at $1.00...making it a case unworthy of pursuing.

Peter Janovsky said...

Sorry -- another typo, Steve: "$12 million in 1981 and that's now valued at $575 billion"

I know Blake Griffin and Chris Paul add excitement and value, but I don't think quite that much.

Steve M. said...

Oh crap. I have to read these damn things more carefully. Fixed now.

Ten Bears said...

Screw the typos, out west here it used to be if you beat a woman, beat a woman child, even if you were a judge you'd be taken out and hanged... if you weren't dragged out back of the barn and shot. Even if you're white.

Rightfully so.

gocart mozart said...

and what about John Edwards' privacy, what about that. Its come to the point that you can't even cheat on your dying wife without those liberals at the National Enquire violating your God giving privacy. I want my country back!

Unknown said...

The thing I find most fascinating about the right-wing reaction to all of this how much of a compulsion it is with them.

It's not like this was Rand Paul or Paul Ryan or Chris Christie making these remarks. They actually had the option of ignoring this.

But they just couldn't do it.

First some of them tried to say he was a Democrat, so - you know, stupid.

But now, even people who didn't originally leap to the "He's a DEMONCRAT!1!" defense are denying that they're defending him when they are doing exactly that.

A white guy - even worse, a rich one - is in danger of having something happen to him that he doesn't want to have happen. And they just can't let that be. They can't do it.

Roger said...

Remember, Bill O'Reilly kept his job after his "private" sexual abuse of an FNC employee became widely known.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Why would anyone on the right think being like Gandhi is a good thing?

Very odd.

Remember what Churchill called him?