October 15th, 2009 at 8:40 AM ^

I'm not a libel law expert, but for Limbaugh to win such a suit, I think he'd have to prove not only that the quotes in question were made up, and that they caused irreparable monetary harm, but also that the defendant knew the libel to be false in its spirit, ie, Limbaugh would have to affirmatively prove that a reasonable person couldn't believe him to have held such views.

Is this accurate? Lawyas?


October 15th, 2009 at 9:01 AM ^

I'm no lawyerin' type either, but it seems to me that if the "prove it is false" standard were applied to quotes, it would end up being nigh-impossible to prove, and any news story could run with any quote they felt like and never have to worry about a lawsuit as long as they weren't specific about when the quote was said.

"Needs is applying to buy an NFL team; however, NFL owners are opposing the move, based partly on his indication that he "finds (him)self uncontrollably sexually attracted to children of all ages, particularly those under the age of 12."

Prove you never said it.* See what I mean?

As for the "reasonable person" defense, well, I never saw the quotes in question; by the time I got to the articles, they'd been retracted. However, the implication is that they were pretty heavy racist stuff. But Rush has an audience in the tens of millions - if the quotes were bad enough that a "reasonable person" would be offended by them, you're basically claiming tens of millions of people aren't reasonable.

*This is the Internet, so I feel obliged to mention: I'm not trying to get personal, just proving a point.


October 15th, 2009 at 9:14 AM ^

More seriously, I think this is why libel suits are very rarely filed in the US, the burden of proof on the plaintiff is really high. Other nations have much more lenient standards and that's why you occasionally see libel suits filed elsewhere (or at least threatened, google "perle slate libel" for jack shafer's stories about Richard Perle venue shopping in an attempt to sue Sy Hersh). Because Limbaugh's a public figure, he would have to prove actual malice was intended. (He might actually have a case, but it's likely to be more of a pain than its worth).

And FYI accusations of sexual impropriety seem to have a greater standing in the law than implications about race. Expect to hear from my lawyer.

for more, see here

Scott Dreisbac…

October 15th, 2009 at 10:02 AM ^

FYI, you don't intend actual malice. In fact, actual malice really isn't malice at all. It is just the name given to the prong of defamation suits in which public figures must prove that those being accused, in publishing their information either a) knew that what they were publishing was false or b) showed reckless disregard in verifying whether it was true or false.


October 15th, 2009 at 10:31 AM ^

I believe sexual impropriety is considered defamatory per se, but it has to be actual misconduct.

I suppose at this point we're just into my opinion of what libel should be rather than what the law says, but it seems to me that if you can be held responsible for damages for negligence in other areas of the law (you failed to fix a broken sidewalk and somebody tripped) I don't see why you shouldn't be responsible for negligence in this realm, too.

STW P. Brabbs

October 15th, 2009 at 10:38 AM ^

Is this: the logic of "if millions of people do it it's not unreasonable" does not fly. Think about it for a while and I'm sure you'll come up with examples of massive groups of people doing unreasonable things - and unreasonable things that involve activity much less passive than cruisin' to work with Rush on the radio.


October 15th, 2009 at 2:11 PM ^

Well played, Tacopants. Perhaps we can get that clever brain inside a 9-ft invisible body to work: have you ever thought about forgoing your last infinity years of a football scholarship for the Hopwood Award? Good writing is hard to find.


October 15th, 2009 at 9:03 AM ^

Limbaugh is probably trying to get every bit of archived audio of his shows off of the internet. I don't believe that he can even deny this. He has made millions off of being a racist, but now he doesn't want to "pay the freight" or suffer the consequences of his own utterances. I think Sharp is an idiot, but I have to agree with him that Limbaugh has uttered plenty of statements on his show that demonstrate racial insensitivity at best.

Limbaugh is getting what he deserves. If it were my choice, I would not allow him to be affiliated with the NFL due to chronic substance abuse. That way, there would be no controversy and no damages. After all, Limbaugh is getting tons of publicity right now, which is pretty much equivalent to getting tons of free advertising for his radio show.

Gee, I wonder if Limbaugh knew how this would play out all along.....

name redacted

October 15th, 2009 at 1:53 PM ^

or his politics. pretty middle of the road. but its too clear the man, if not outright racist (which i won't claim to know), he at the very least believes in some of the most negative stereotypes about african americans. and i have read many arguements that stereotypes are more damaging than outright racism. Here is some Rush for your digestion:

"Regarding slavery: We didn't have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back; I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark" -- (Dave Zirin; The Nation 10/9/09)

"You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed." -- As quoted in 101 People who are REALLY Screwing Up America (2006) by Jack Huberman

"Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?" -- As quoted in "Limbaugh : A Color Man Who Has A Problem With Color?" by Jeff Cohen and Steve Rendall in FAIR and The Los Angeles Times (6 July 2000), and at "Bone Voyage" at (4 September 2007)

"Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it." -- As quoted in "Hey Rush, when it comes to sports ... shhh!" by Mike Freeman at CBS SportsLine (27 January 2007)

"The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies." -- As quoted in Flush Rush Quarterly (January 1993) and in "Limbaugh : A Color Man Who Has A Problem With Color?" by Jeff Cohen and Steve Rendall in FAIR and The Los Angeles Times (6 July 2000), and in "Off Sides" by Michael Tomasky in The American Prospect (16 July 2003)

"I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They're interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. I think there's a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn't deserve." -- As quoted in "Dittohead Blues" in the LA Weekly (9 October 2003)

"They're 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?" -- Of African-Americans, as quoted in "Limbaugh Brings Baggage with his ESPN Blabber" by Derrick Z. Jackson inThe Boston Globe (16 July 2003), and "Colorblind football fans know Rush is wrong" by Richard Roeper in Chicago Sun-Times (1 October 2003)

"Take that bone out of your nose and call me back (to an African American female caller)." -- Response to a black caller he was having a hard time understanding in the 1970s when he worked under the name "Jeff Christie" on a top-40 music program in Pittsburgh, as quoted in Newsday (8 October 1990) where he expresses some remorse at having said it; also in The Way Things Aren't : Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error (1995) by Steve Rendall, Jim Naureckas, and Jeff Cohen [ISBN 156584260X] , "Limbaugh : A Color Man Who Has A Problem With Color?" by Jeff Cohen and Steve Rendall in FAIR and The Los Angeles Times (6 July 2000), and "Bone Voyage" at (4 September 2007)