I have written previously about the very distressing, by which I mean 'high-larious', legal woes of National Review which is being sued for letting contributor Mark Steyn defame climate scientist Michael Mann for comparing him to child molester Jerry Sandusky on the internet pages of NRO. Long story short: Competitive Enterprise Institute "scholar" Rand Simberg wrote an article attacking Mann's research and, trying to be topical, referenced the fact that he teaches at Penn State as the basis for an oh-so-clever PSU Michael Mann = Penn State football coach/kid rapist Jerry Sandusky analogy. Writing at NRO, former drama critic Mark Steyn whose climate science knowledge is limited to knowing all the lyrics to They Call The Wind Maria, LOL'd and repeated what Simberg wrote. When Mann protested, CEI backed down and deleted the offending lines but not the rest of the post. On the other hand National Review Editor Rich Lowry seemed to be under the impression that he was William F. Badass Jr. and told Mann and his attorneys to pound sand.
If Mann sues us, the materials we will need to mount a full defense will be extremely wide-ranging. So if he files a complaint, we will be doing more than fighting a nuisance lawsuit; we will be embarking on a journalistic project of great interest to us and our readers.
My advice to poor Michael is to go away and bother someone else. If he doesn’t have the good sense to do that, we look forward to teaching him a thing or two about the law and about how free debate works in a free country.
"Poor" Michael Mann didn't listen to Rich Lowry, and instead called his bluff and sued anyway forcing Lowry to beg for money from his readers because the treasure chest at National Review - which is a money losing wingnut welfare suckhole - couldn't cover the check Lowry's dumbass wrote:
As many of you know, National Review is not a non-profit — we are just not profitable. A lawsuit is not something we can fund with money we don’t have. Of course, we’ll do whatever we have to do to find ourselves victorious in court and Professor Mann thoroughly defeated, as he so richly deserves to be. Meanwhile, we have to hire attorneys, which ain’t cheap.
The bills are already mounting.
This is our fight, legally. But with the global-warming extremists going all-out to silence critics, it’s your fight too, morally. When we were sued, we heard from many of you who expressed a desire to help underwrite our legal defense. We deeply appreciated the outpouring of promised help.
Now we really need it.
Flush with reader cash the NRO team has so far gone 0 fer 2 with the judges and now their ship is beginning to sink and the crew is jumping overboard because Mark Steyn attacked Judge Natalia Combs Greene. According to Mother Jones :
Earlier this month, Steptoe & Johnson, the law firm representing National Review and its writer, Mark Steyn, withdrew as Steyn's counsel. According to two sources with inside knowledge, it also plans to drop National Review as a client.
The lawyers' withdrawal came shortly after Steyn—a prominent conservative pundit who regularly fills in as host of Rush Limbaugh's radio show—publicly attacked the former judge in the case, Natalia Combs Greene, accusing her of "stupidity" and "staggering" incompetence. Mann's attorney, John B. Williams, suspects this is no coincidence. "Any lawyer would be taken aback if their client said such things about the judge," he says. "That may well be why Steptoe withdrew."
Steyn's manager, Melissa Howes, acknowledged that his commentary "did not go over well."* But Steyn maintains it was his decision to part ways with his attorneys.
Yeah. the old "you can't break up with me, I already broke up with you, so there!" line.
So, how now, Mark Steyn?
"I spent the first months attempting to conceal my contempt for Judge Combs Greene's court," he [Steyn] said in an email to Mother Jones. "But really, it's not worth the effort." Wednesday's ruling affirms the thrust of Combs Greene's order, however. It also concludes that "a reasonable jury is likely to find the statement that Dr. Mann 'molested and tortured data' was false, and published with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard for whether it was false or not."
Steyn, meanwhile, appears to be paying a price for his brazenness. He still has no legal representation. ("My check from the Koch brothers seems to have been lost in the mail or intercepted by the NSA," he wrote. "So for the moment I am representing myself.") And since his Christmas Eve diatribe, the conservative pundit—who had been writing near-daily posts for National Review Online—hasn't written a single item. Neither he nor the magazine's publisher, Jack Fowler, would say why. But Steyn hinted at the reasons in a post on his website: "As readers may have deduced from my absence at National Review Online and my termination of our joint representation, there have been a few differences between me and the rest of the team."
In summary, and to use a topical reference: the NRO ship has run aground, the attorneys have bailed, and the cannibal rats of the Good Ship National Review have turned on each other. Keeping with Steyn's musical theater background, we think it kind of went like this:
Steyn. (to Lowry)
The maiden treats my suit with scorn,
Rejects my humble gift, my lady;
She says I am ignobly born,
And cuts my hopes adrift, my lady.
Oh, cruel one!
Oh, cruel one!
She spurns your suit? O-ho! O-ho!
I told you so, I told you so.
Shall we/they submit? Are we/they but slaves?
Love comes alike to high and low —
Britannia's sailors rule the waves,
And shall they stoop to insult? No! no!
...and then there was much fighting and clawing and screaming and tearing at each others throats.
As the kids like to say: pass the popcorn.
[Sinking ship via Jose Luis Mesa/Shutterstock.com]