Climate scientist Michael Mann’s lawsuit against National Review has reached a new phase, and the small-but-influential publication is in real danger of being put out of business.
Now, the lawsuit may well be dismissed down the road. But the longer it continues, the more likely it becomes that Mann will eventually prevail, either by forcing an expensive settlement or by prevailing in court and winning a substantial penalty from the defendants.
It’s doubtful that National Review could survive either outcome. Small magazines often lose money and only rarely manage to break even. They certainly don’t have substantial legal budgets, let alone cash to cover an expensive payout. Indeed, in 2005, Buckley said the magazine had lost $25 million over 50 years.
We have been paying attention to this case for a while now because Kimberlin’s lawsuits compare so favorably to his. Mann is suing over a single sentence in one article that merely compared him to a pedophile, whereas Kimberlin is suing over hundreds of statements made in blog posts that actually called him a pedophile. Like Mark Steyn, the writer who made the pedophile comparison, defendants in Kimberlin’s suits have also tried to “shrug off” the litigation by fighting it in their “blog courts” and doubling-down on their defamation. And in both cases, defendants have managed to chase away their legal counsel.
Last year, we noted that Breitbart News is in very serious trouble of losing a huge judgment to Shirley Sherrod, which in turn may easily result in the dissolution of Saint Andrew’s empire. This seems to be a trend in right wing media, where writers are rewarded for their awfulness rather than their accuracy. National Review used to be famous as the magazine where William F. Buckley purged the John Birchers from the conservative movement, but now the lunatics are in charge of the asylum and doing their best to burn it down.