Follow up: how to react to libel?

A few days ago, I argued that Sarah Palin was right to respond to the blood libel hurled at her and at the Right in general, that it was not the usual criticisms one could ignore or “rise above.”

At Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson agrees with me, but puts it much better and less heatedly than I:

Palin cannot just ignore the obvious libel against her.  That is the strategy pursued by the Bush administration in the face of false accusations that Bush “lied us into war.”  We saw how that strategy of silence worked.

There is not a shred of evidence to date that Loughner ever saw Palin’s electoral map, yet 56% of Democrats (and 35% of people overall) believe that the map was connected to the Tucson shooting.

This puts Palin in an impossible position, one faced by many people who are falsely accused.

If Palin does not defend herself vigorously, the silence is taken as acquiescence and an implicit admission of guilt.  If she does defend herself, she is criticized for making the issue about her and she further spreads the defamatory accusations (so-called “self-publication”).

(…)

Palin is correct to fight back forcefully against people for whom the truth about the Tucson shooting is just a set of inconvenient facts to be ignored for a false political narrative.

If Palin did not fight back, the slanderers and defamers surely would win.  The truth may not prevail here because of the strength of the Democratic message machine, but it is worth fighting for.

And if you’re not following Legal Insurrection, you really need to fix that oversight, now.

One Response to Follow up: how to react to libel?

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