The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Nice Reputation, Jesse

Posted on | July 30, 2014 | 30 Comments

Ace of Spades calls Jesse Ventura a “conspiracy-addled asshole” and he could have added “selfish,” “dishonest” and “vindictive” to that description without fear of being sued for defamation. The reaction to Ventura’s suing a Navy SEAL’s widow for $1.8 million is ironic: Ventura claimed that his reputation was harmed by Chris Kyle’s book; yet Ventura has inflicted more harm on his own reputation by suing than Kyle ever could have imagined inflicting on Ventura.

Having some direct experience with conspiracy-addled assholes who file lawsuits, and having been a journalist for more than 25 years before convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin had the unmitigated gall to claim I had “defamed” him, let me point out something that is being generally overlooked in the reaction to the verdict in Ventura v. Kyle.

Jesse Ventura’s opposition to the Iraq War, and his paranoid views about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, are a matter of public record, as Noah Rothman says at Hot Air:

Ventura is a noted conspiracy theorist whose kneejerk impulse [is] to blame the American government for everything from the 9/11 attacks, to the raid on the Osama bin Laden compound, to the JFK assassination has netted him frequent appearances on networks like Russia Today.

One can describe Ventura thus, on the basis of information plainly in evidence, without having defamed him. And to voice negative judgments on Ventura’s character — to call him a “kook,” a “crackpot” or a “bully” — is merely to express one’s opinion formed on the basis of readily available information about Ventura, who is a public figure per the Supreme Court’s Sullivan standard.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

How, then, did Ventura prevail in court against Kyle? We can blame the judge and the jury and call the verdict a travesty, yet there is one element of Kyle’s case any newspaper editor would immediately spot as a vulnerability: He asserted private knowledge.

This is a line that no smart journalist would ever cross: To claim to know something bad about somebody, a private fact otherwise unknown, on the basis of information not publicly available.

Any reporter could publish a story about the conflict between Ventura and Kyle — the alleged barroom confrontation at the heart of this lawsuit — and write that Kyle says X, Y and Z happened, including Ventura’s denials that any such confrontation occurred, without fear that his reporting could be construed as libelous.

Kyle’s problem was that, if his altercation with Ventura actually occurred, it was not a matter of public record. Nobody called the cops; there was no police report filed. In fact, it appears that Kyle’s editors at Harper Collins recognized the potential liability involved in publishing that anecdote, so that Kyle’s book referred to Ventura as “scruff face.” It was only in subsequent media interviews that Kyle himself said that Ventura was the subject of the anecdote, and thus the truth or falsehood of Kyle’s version of events — his claim that Ventura said vile things, and that he knocked Ventura down — was central to the defamation lawsuit.

The statements that Kyle attributed to Ventura are certainly consistent with Ventura’s general hostility to the Bush administration and its policies in Iraq. One can easily believe that if Kyle and Ventura got into a quarrel at a bar — and, it is important to note, Ventura does not deny that he was in that bar on the night in question — that Kyle would have taken a swing at Ventura, and it is plausible that the young man in his vigorous prime could have knocked down the older man with a single punch. However, to say that Kyle’s anecdote is credible is a different thing than saying it is provably true. And so it was arguably an unwise risk for Kyle to describe this alleged event as a fact — to assert private knowledge.

All that being said, I do not believe this case was correctly decided. In a defamation case, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant knowingly or recklessly published a falsehood. Based on what has been reported of the trial, Ventura and his witnesses cast doubt on Kyle’s story, but did not disprove it, as witnesses for the defense testified that Kyle told the truth.

If lawyers for Kyle’s estate appeal the case, I feel they have a good chance to overturn the verdict. Meanwhile, we are just days away from the next hearing in the Maryland case of Kimberlin v. Walker, et al., in which the Perjuring Pro Se Pipsqueak is suing me and four co-defendants for $1 million. The prayers and continued financial support of readers are most earnestly solicited.



30 Responses to “Nice Reputation, Jesse”

  1. Nice Reputation, Jesse | That Mr. G Guy's Blog
    July 30th, 2014 @ 8:46 am

    […] Nice Reputation, Jesse. […]

  2. The Jesse Ventura Defamation Case | Batshit Crazy News
    July 30th, 2014 @ 8:52 am

    […] Wombat and TOM comment on this lawsuit […]

  3. Mike G.
    July 30th, 2014 @ 8:59 am

    The nicest thing that could be said of Jesse Ventura as a civilian is he’s a big piece of dog excrement and I apologize in advance to dog excrement everywhere.

    However, I do applaud Ventura for his military service.

  4. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    July 30th, 2014 @ 9:25 am

    So how was Jesse damaged? Beyond the damage he does to his reputation all the time?

  5. M. Thompson
    July 30th, 2014 @ 9:51 am

    He was no great shakes as Governor, anyhow.

  6. Escher's House
    July 30th, 2014 @ 10:46 am

    Kyle’s estate will certainly appeal. There is too much money on the table.

  7. JeffS
    July 30th, 2014 @ 11:17 am

    Ace is far too kind to Jesse.

  8. Matt_SE
    July 30th, 2014 @ 11:59 am

    “…to assert private knowledge…”
    Uh oh.
    Is Harry Reid’s [alleged] pederasty private, or public knowledge at this point?

  9. Matt_SE
    July 30th, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

    I like your offhanded praise at the end! It softens the blow somehow.

  10. Mike G.
    July 30th, 2014 @ 1:04 pm
  11. Mike G.
    July 30th, 2014 @ 1:23 pm

    Nor as a wrestler.

  12. Ghost
    July 30th, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

    Because he claims to love America but fear her government, claiming that he said that the seals deserved to lose a few does great damage to his reputation. Blaming the government for conspiracy theories is a hell of a lot different than blaming America, unless you’re all now claiming that Obama and his policies are an accurate reflection of you and your ideals. I know the neoconservatives like to conflate distrust of government with hating America, but they are demonstrably not the same thing. I don’t buy into the truther theories, but given what we know about the government killing it’s own, from poisoning alcohol during prohibition to wholesale slaughter of families in Waco, it’s hardly “crazy” anymore to question the official story of anything.

  13. Finrod Felagund
    July 30th, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

    Nor as an actor. His two best roles were as Captain Freedom in The Running Man and one of the Cryocons in Demolition Man.

  14. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    July 30th, 2014 @ 2:54 pm

    I am not a neo conservative and you are a troll pretending to be a Jesse “The Victim” Ventura fan. Or maybe you are Jesse “The Victim” Ventura himself!

  15. Ghost
    July 30th, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

    For Christ’s sake, lady, I’m ghost. We’ve been over this before. Hell, I didn’t even really defend Ventura except to say that it can no longer be considered crazy to question the official story of anything.

    But if you really want to believe that government was pure and wholesome and incorruptible before ’08, you go right ahead with that fantasy.
    (See, we can both make up BS about each other. Hey! How do we know you’re not really Bill S?)

  16. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    July 30th, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

    Truther theories are toxic BS (hey, just like Bill Schmalfeldt’s initials). I have no tolerance for Jesse and Rosie’s crap. We know who did 9/11. It was Al Qaeda.

    Do I trust the government, hell no. Do I think the Bush Administration or some nefarious cabal in some federal agency orchestrated 9/11? Absolutely not. There is no evidence of that and to keep re-posing the question (by you, Ventura, O’Donnell as a legitimate possibility) is at this point bad faith.

    Do I think there was gross negligence on the part of the FBI, CIA, and other agencies in allowing 9/11 to happen, yes there was. It goes back to Clinton letting Bin Laden go when we had the chance to stop him.

    You have only been posting on this discus account for about two weeks. So yeah, I am skeptical of your bonofides.

  17. RichFader
    July 30th, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

    Jesse Ventura. Proof positive that although the WWE’s bouts may be scripted, the brain damage is very, very real.

  18. Jesse Ventura, You Can Crawl Back Under Your Rock Now… | Regular Right Guy
    July 30th, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

    […] Stacy McCain explains Chris Kyle’s mistake—and, yes, he did make one—here, and if you don’t already know what a four-alarm @$$hole Jesse […]

  19. Ghost
    July 30th, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

    You really love demonstrating your illiteracy, don’t you? I say, “I don’t buy into the truther theories,” just that, if you know a single damn thing about history, that it’s not crazy that the government would stage an attack, even kill its own people to go to war. Wilson did it in WW1, sending a passenger ship filled with weapons into German controlled waters. Johnson did it in Vietnam. I don’t think 9/11 was an inside job. I just don’t think it’s crazy if someone else does. But according to you, not thinking someone is crazy is the same as subscribing to their beliefs.

    And in your infinite wisdom, my posting comments that are thread specific, polite, and articulate makes me a troll? Methinks thou doth project too much. “Help! Help! An opinion not in lockstep with my own! Troll! Troll!” Are you sure you’re not a democrat? Because you handle disagreeing views with all the tact of an Anthony Wiener.

    Let that be a lesson to the rest of you lurkers. Try and join the conversation and you’ll be denounced by the resident shrieking banshee.

  20. Wombat_socho
    July 30th, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

    In all fairness, the lawless Chicago style of government perpetrated by the current administration makes a lot of conspiracy theorists suddenly look a lot more reasonable. So both of you just calm down and stop getting personal with each other, before I have to get the hammer out.

  21. Meekrob
    July 30th, 2014 @ 10:48 pm

    He was the drizzling shits as a wrestler. Good promo, though.

  22. Meekrob
    July 30th, 2014 @ 10:49 pm

    Any description of Jesse that doesn’t include the word “scumbag” is incomplete.

  23. Conservative Phantom
    July 30th, 2014 @ 11:31 pm

    I could go with “douchebag” or “scumbag.”
    I think either is applicable. “Craven pussy” works, too.

  24. Conservative Phantom
    July 30th, 2014 @ 11:32 pm

    He was almost a non-entity in “Predator” before he got waxed.

  25. Conservative Phantom
    July 30th, 2014 @ 11:40 pm

    He is something similar to the semi-solid material left over after sewage has been treated…industrial strength diarrhea.

  26. Chance Boudreaux
    July 31st, 2014 @ 12:56 am

    Just when I thought I couldn’t think less of Jesse…

  27. JeffS
    July 31st, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

    Actually, that’s his greatest moment in acting. Getting waxed, I mean. Rather like Robert Redford’s death scene in “The Winter Soldier”.

    Too bad life doesn’t always imitate art.

  28. JeffS
    July 31st, 2014 @ 2:04 pm

    All three. In tandem.

    “Jesse Ventura is a craven douchebag scumbag pussy.”

    Yeah, that works. And it’s not even private knowledge!

  29. Jesse Ventura Summons the Streisand Effect | WeaponsMan
    July 31st, 2014 @ 8:03 pm

    […] significant newspaper, Robert S. McCain had to learn about libel and defamation law. He explains that that Kyle did something a journalist would (or should) not […]

  30. Delaney Coffer
    July 31st, 2014 @ 8:09 pm

    Sally Jesse Ventura deserves to have his teeth beaten out with a tire iron. What a subhuman piece of garbage.