The attitude of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail - along with their counterparts at the Mail On Sunday and Mail Online - towards anyone who takes exception to being monstered, smeared or defamed by the outlets - often all three - is well known. The little people are told to “come and sue us if you think you’re hard enough”. Even the well-off get the run around.
What d'you f***ing mean I have to say sorry or else, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
The litany of litigation against the Mail is the stuff of legend: Nick Davies featured a brief inventory of names, along with confirmation that damages were paid in every case, in his go-to book on the workings of the press Flat Earth News, Zelo Street has covered the blatant libelling of author Jo Rowling and businessman Andy Miller, and for the folks at campaigning group Hacked Off, the Mail’s attitude is an ideal recruiting sergeant.
Why the Mail should behave in this manner was summarised by Davies succinctly: “because the penalty is no match for the rewards of the behaviour which is being penalised”. Well, that might be the case in the UK, but in the USA, despite the provisions of the First Amendment, deliberate defamation can result in eye-watering - and financially crippling - damages being levied, as witness the recent fall of Gawker.
And that is where the Mail may have come badly unstuck, after it published two characteristically nudge-and-wink headlined articles titled “Racy photos, and troubling questions about his wife's past that could derail Trump” and “Naked photoshoots, and troubling questions about visas that won't go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump's Slovenian wife”. “Troubling questions” is Mail speak for They Done It.
Lawyer Charles Harder - maybe harder than the Dacre doggies - has filed a complaint before the Circuit Court for Montgomery County in the US state of Maryland on behalf of Melania Trump over suggestions in the Mail’s articles that she was a high-end escort in New York during the 1990s. His statement tells “Defendants' actions are so egregious, malicious and harmful to Mrs Trump that her damages are estimated at $150m”.
That leaves the Mail open to having to pay rather more than The Two Dollars, causing the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker to experience involuntary bowel movements. Hence the grovelling “To the extent that anything in the Daily Mail's article was interpreted as stating or suggesting that Mrs. Trump worked as an 'escort' or in the 'sex business,' that she had a 'composite or presentation card for the sex business,' or that either of the modeling agencies referenced in the article were engaged in these businesses, it is hereby retracted, and the Daily Mail newspaper regrets any such misinterpretation”.
And the grovelling continues: “The Daily Mail newspaper and MailOnline/DailyMail.com have entirely separate editors and journalistic teams … In so far as MailOnline/DailyMail.com published the same article it wholeheartedly also retracts the above and also regrets any such misinterpretation”. So what is Ms Trump going to do about that?
Melania Trump is continuing her case against the Mail. Someone has decided to make an example of Dacre and his doggies; that is why the retraction was so swift. But they may find that “We didn’t mean it, honestly, so please don’t take us to the cleaners” isn’t going to pacify Trump’s lawyers - or the Montgomery County Circuit Court. The Mail could be in very big trouble. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving publisher.
A Trump v The Mail. You kinda want both to lose.
In general terms (nothing to do with this case) the massively wealthy sue for defamation because they can. They have money to burn, and can afford ludicrous legal fees over months and years. In such circumstances, wise defendants just close the cases down as quickly as possible, usually with a retraction and an apology. Such cases aren't really about truth - they're about who has the most money.
"wise defendants just close the cases down as quickly as possible, usually with a retraction and an apology"
Unusually the Mail tried to this time, but it didn't work.
@Andy C 2 September 2016 at 11:15
In my case, I hope DM loses. Will an apology suffice or will Melania continue with her claim? Will she get more than the McCanns did when they sued Fleet Street? Bring out the popcorn.
I'm so torn...
@Arnold The Mail's legal strategy is working perfectly well, just as it always does in defamation cases involving the super rich.....Trump's legal team won't allow Melania to be humiliated in a protracted court case in which, at the very least, the Mail could call witnesses as it offers mitigation, or even tries to justify some of its claims (think about Melania being cross-examined about her past!). Team Trump will be delighted to see the case closed down, while telling the world they have been "vindicated", despite no evidence whatsoever being tested. This won't go to court - the Mail doesn't want it to, and nor does Team Trump. Everything about the case - including the multi million dollar figures plucked out of thin air - is just PR BS. Don't be fooled by any of it.
Looks like the only fool is you.
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