Posted on | February 21, 2013 | 16 Comments
My previous observation that no one could be sued for libel for merely describing the self-evident fact of Bill Schmalfeldt’s derangment drew a mildly critical e-mail from a lawyer friend:
Not to be a pedant, but the reason it’s not defamatory is that it’s a statement of opinion based on disclosed facts, and therefore not subject to defamation analysis.
Statements of opinion (except for those implying that they are based on hidden, false facts) can’t be defamatory.
Like if you called me a jerk. That can’t be defamation.
To this, I replied:
“Opinion”? Don’t try to fool me with all your high-falutin legalistic argle-bargle, sir!
I’m a professional journalist. I deal with facts, and the Neutral Objective Fact is, this guy is a certifiable nutjob.
Any journalist who says otherwise should turn in their press credentials, clean out their desk and find another line of work.
On at least one previous occasion, Bill Schmalfeldt suggested that certain lawyers he doesn’t like deserve “to have their knees broken with baseball bats.” (You could look it up.)
It it merely an opinion to say that Schmalfeldt’s nuttier than a fruitcake, loony as a goony bird, a few fries short of a Happy Meal?
No, I state as a fact that Bill Schmalfeldt is neurologically impaired, mentally defective and psychologically abnormal.
The kook is ranting about Lee Stranahan’s teeth, for God’s sake!
Your Honor, I rest my case.
However, aware that a federal judge has recently declared notorious lunatic Barrett Brown mentally competent to stand trial, I wish to reserve my right to the “satire” defense, which Schmalfeldt himself used to defend his statements about anal rape.
Yeah, they banned Bill from Daily Kos for that. And anybody who’s too crazy for Daily Kos will have a hard time proving libel merely because I state the obvious truth that he is bonkers, unhinged, off his rocker, daffy, mad as a March hare and not in his right mind.