Tuesday, November 11, 2014


As I said in the previous post, I don't really believe Rush Limbaugh will sue the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. I think he's just making a threat. But if he does, his people are invoking an odd precedent, from a court right-wingers despise. The Daily Caller tells us:
Limbaugh's team said that the DCCC's campaign against Limbaugh provides grounds for a defamation case, based on legal precedent.

"The DCCC may believe it to be immune from liability by quoting words, taken out of context. This is untrue," Glaser said. "There is significant on point precedent in the 9th Circuit for holding an organization responsible for falsifying meaning through selective quoting. In Price v. Stossel, the court held that, if a party accurately quotes 'a statement actually made by a public figure, but presents the statement in a misleading context, thereby changing the viewer's understanding of the speaker's words,' that constitutes defamation."
The Ninth Circuit? You mean the federal appeals court that's routinely referred to on the right as "the Ninth Circus"? By such right-wingers as, um, Rush Limbaugh? Four years ago, John Schwartz of The New York Times wrote this:
Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama and the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, called the circuit "an activist court that has handed down decisions striking 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance and finding Megan's Law to be unconstitutional."

It is a familiar refrain. Those cases and others have been part of a longstanding argument that the court is out of touch with the nation’s political and judicial mainstream. It has long been a favorite target of ridicule among Republicans: Rush Limbaugh refers to the court, headquartered in San Francisco, as the "Ninth Circus," and many bloggers call it the "nutty Ninth."
Now, what'sthe ruling Limbaugh's people are invoking? Oddly, it went against libertarian propagandist John Stossel, now a Fox employee and a longtime right-wing hero. And it wasn't the last word on the case, which was ultimately settled out of court:
After years of litigation, a dispute between ABC News and Frederick K. C. Price of Los Angeles religious org Crenshaw Christian Center has come to a close.

In 2007, then-correspondent John Stossel reported that Price had used money given to the nonprofit Center for luxury items, and played as support a clip of Price saying, "I live in a 25-room mansion, I have my own $6-million yacht, I have my own private jet and I have my own helicopter and I have seven luxury automobiles." In the context of the sermon from which the clip was taken, it was clear that Price was not referring to himself. The seg aired on both "20/20" and "Good Morning America."
Price is a minister who preaches the so-called prosperity gospel. He's become quite wealthy, though not as wealthy as the fictional person he describes in the sermon. I'm a bit surprised that Stossel did a critical piece of such preachers, given his usual uncritical respect for people who make lots of money, but he did this one, and got the facts wrong:
The Rev. Frederick K.C. Price may have two Bentleys, but a spokesman for his 22,000-member church says his Palos Verdes house doesn't boast 25 rooms and he definitely doesn't own a helicopter. A lawsuit Price filed Tuesday claims that ABC's "20/20" defamed him when it suggested otherwise, portraying him as a "hypocrite and thief" who financed an extravagant lifestyle with church funds....

In the clip, Price declares, "I live in a 25-room mansion, I have my own $6-million yacht, I have my own private jet and I have my own helicopter and I have seven luxury automobiles."

In the full sermon, according to an excerpt provided by a spokesman for Price, he prefaced that by saying, "I was pointing out that there is such a thing as bad success. I said bad success is...." The sermon, which the suit says aired on Disney's Lifetime network, was about the importance of being a good Christian, and Price was quoting a hypothetical person with great material wealth who failed to follow a righteous path.
I don't recommend that you watch the following clip in its entirety -- it's very biased in Price's favor -- but I've cued it up so you can watch the excerpt out of context and then in context. Whatever you think of Price, or wealthy prosperity-gospel preachers in general (and I'm certainly no fan), there's no question that he's describing an imagined sinner, not himself.

And yet the case was initially dismissed by a trial court judge, before being reinstated by the evil commie Ninth Circuit. The case wasn't a slam-dunk in court, even though it's obvious that Price isn't talking about himself.

By contrast, it's not at all obvious that Limbaugh accepts the notion that no means no, especially in a dating situation. In my previous post, I think I make that clear. But if this gets before one or more Republican justices, who knows?


UPDATE: Video start time fixed.


Victor said...

It's a sad time in our country when judges care more about their party than about justice and their country.

It's also a scary time...

Anonymous said...

"I'm a bit surprised that Stossel did a critical piece of such preachers, given his usual uncritical respect for people who make lots of money."

I don't see what the surprise is here, frankly — Price is black, and to a klanservative that trumps everything, even moneymaking.

Steve M. said...

I haven't watched the whole segment, but I believe Price was one of several preachers in the segment. I think white preachers were included as well.