No, National Review is not doomed. So says a story on its site Wednesday by Publisher Jack Fowler, despite recent claims by Salon, Politico and The Week that the publication is going down since being slammed with a defamation lawsuit that does not look like it’s vanishing anytime soon.
Fowler disagrees, writing, ”By the likes of The Week, Salon, and Politico in quick succession, we are said to be in ‘deep trouble,’ likely ‘doomed,’ facing a ‘wipe out.’ This is in part a tale of lazy reporting and even headline cribbing. None of the writers of these articles ever called National Review. They didn’t ask what our chances in court were, or even bother to get basic facts about the case right.”
Penn State Professor Michael Mann has filed the lawsuit against National Review for a column by Mark Steyn that compared Mann to Jerry Sandusky. Steyn quoted conservative writer Rand Simberg, who called Mann “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data.” Simberg is also being sued. In July a judge dismissed a motion to throw the suit out. The case now enters the discovery phase.
So that’s all it takes? Quoting someone else? Which reader didn’t understand that Jerry Sandusky is a metaphor and not some hint that Mann is a child molester?
Fowler says this: “You’d think people who write about media and the law would know, instinctively, to consider this factor: libel insurance.” He also acknowledges that the publication has lost money over the past 58 years and that they’ve needed to raise money to help deal with the costly lawsuit.
He writes that the publications assuming their demise have a certain “glee” about it. He makes a great point about the asinine culture that journalism has become, saying, “It used to be that journalists at least felt a common interest in protecting one another’s First Amendment rights. No more.” (He makes a good point. For all you smug journalists out there who think you can’t be sued for a story you write, and who take pleasure in another journalist or outlets being sued, think again. More Washington journalists than you know have been through it.)
With that, Fowler invited the editors, writers and “other functionaries” at Salon, Politico and The Week to help them celebrate their 100th anniversary at New York’s Waldorf Astoria on Nov. 19, 2055.
If all goes well, Fowler will be in his mid-90s.