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January 13, 2011 | By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs pointedly avoided attempts Thursday to engage the Obama administration in a debate on civil political discourse with potential presidential rival Sarah Palin. Speaking at his morning briefing, Gibbs ducked several questions about the president's response to Palin's comments in the wake of the Arizona shooting spree that left six dead and 19 wounded. Palin on Wednesday branded attempts by some to use the attack as a way of criticizing conservatives as "blood libel.
January 13, 2011 | By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
In saying her critics manufactured "a blood libel," Sarah Palin deployed a phrase linked to the false accusations made for centuries against Jews, often to malign them as child killers who coveted the blood of Christian children. Blood libel has been a central fable of anti-Semitism in which Jews have been accused of using the blood of gentile children for medicinal purposes or to mix in with matzo, the unleavened bread traditionally eaten at Passover. The spreading of the blood libel dates to the Middle Ages ?
January 13, 2011 | By James Oliphant, Washington Bureau
Sarah Palin put on full display Wednesday all that makes her a formidable yet divisive contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination ? inspiring to some, maddening to others, a powerhouse who commands the sort of media attention her putative GOP rivals can only envy. In an eight-minute video posted online, the former Alaska governor fiercely dismissed any notion that her firearms-infused political messages in 2010 ("Don't retreat, instead ? reload!") contributed to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.
January 12, 2011 | By James Oliphant, Los Angeles Times
Sarah Palin 's remarks Wednesday in which she accused critics who would tie her political tone to the Arizona shootings of committing a "blood libel" against her have prompted an instant and pronounced backlash from some in America's Jewish community. The term dates to the Middle Ages and refers to a prejudice that Jewish people used Christian blood in religious rituals. "Instead of dialing down the rhetoric at this difficult moment, Sarah Palin chose to accuse others trying to sort out the meaning of this tragedy of somehow engaging in a 'blood libel' against her and others," said David Harris, president of the National Democratic Jewish Council, in a statement.
November 25, 2010 | Associated Press
Former football coach Mike Leach sued ESPN Inc. and a public relations firm Wednesday, accusing them of libel and slander after he was fired by Texas Tech amid accusations that he mistreated a player suffering from a concussion. The suit filed in Texas district court claims the network's coverage of Leach's firing last year was "willful and negligent defamation" and that it failed to "retract false and damaging statements" it made from "misinformation" provided to ESPN by Craig James , the father of the Texas Tech player.
August 25, 2010
Pretending to have received a military honor is despicable, but not every despicable lie should be a crime. That's the sensible conclusion reached last week by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in striking down a law used against a California public official. In 2007, Xavier Alvarez, a new board member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Claremont, introduced himself this way: "I'm a retired Marine of 25 years. I retired in the year 2001. Back in 1987, I was awarded the congressional Medal of Honor.
July 24, 2010
It's called "libel tourism" — the practice of bringing a defamation lawsuit against an author or publisher in a country with less robust protections of free speech than those afforded Americans by the 1st Amendment and Supreme Court decisions. Many Americans may be surprised to learn that a leading destination for libel tourists is the United Kingdom. The United States can't prevent Britain or other countries from making it easier to win libel suits that might not succeed in this country, where even publications that include errors have received 1st Amendment protection.
May 10, 2010 | By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
In his Christmas Day 2009 column for the Korea Times, Michael Breen decided to lampoon such national newsmakers as President Lee Myung-bak and the pop idol Rain. Headlined "What People Got for Christmas," the English-language column also poked fun at global technology giant Samsung Electronics, referring to past bribery scandals as well as perceptions that its leaders are arrogant. The piece was meant as a satirical spoof, the columnist says, but Samsung wasn't laughing. Breen's column ran as local media reported that President Lee would soon pardon Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee on a 2008 conviction for tax evasion.
April 25, 2010 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
Ross Johnson says if he were "king"— rather than merely the state's lead campaign watchdog — he'd invoke the political death penalty for any candidates who libeled their opponents. Yank them off the campaign trail. Or, if they'd already reached office, boot them out. He'd make candidates subject to the same libel laws that apply to newspapers when they write about public officials. It's harder to libel a politician than an ordinary citizen. Basically, a public figure must prove that an article was false and was published with reckless disregard of the truth.
October 14, 2009 | Times Wire Reports
A court ruled against Josef Stalin's grandson in a libel suit over a newspaper article that said the Soviet dictator sent thousands of people to their deaths. A judge at a Moscow district court rejected Yevgeny Dzhugashvili's claim that Novaya Gazeta damaged Stalin's honor and dignity in an April article that referred to him as a "bloodthirsty cannibal." A ruling against the newspaper would have been regarded as an exoneration of Stalin and a blow to Russians who accuse the Kremlin of whitewashing history.
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