Long story short: Competitive Enterprise Institute “scholar” Rand Simberg wrote an article attacking [Prof. Michael] 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...
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...
And now Mark Steyn is in quite the pickle himself, divorced from the legal firm that was defending him and the magazine after he excoriated the former judge in the case for being a stupido. Tactically, that isn't considered the brightest chess move to try in the halls of justice. Steyn is now representing himself, like a character in a wacky sitcom racing from the defense table to the witness chair as he cross-examines himself, and estranged from National Review, where he is considered a star attraction, such is the condition to which conservatism has fallen.I dunno about "a wacky sitcom," but a relevant scenario did appear in the first season of acclaimed TV drama The Good Wife. An episode called "Infamy" dealt with, among other plot points, an obnoxious right wing TV host named Duke Roscoe--think Rush Limbaugh crossed with Glenn Beck and/or Bill O'Reilly. This being a CBS show, the right winger is a caricature/stereotypical ultra-conservative who, on a TV show that attracts a large and loyal following of like-minded nutjobs, calls people out for being "commies" and "limo leftists." A truly heinous character, he accuses a young mother whose baby had been kidnapped of murdering her infant. And he does so over and over again, with absolutely no evidence and going solely on his gut feeling, to the point where the distraught mom cannot take it any more, and kills herself. Whereupon her husband sues the blowhard and it comes to trial. But don't imagine that just because the judge in the case is a real lefty, and that Rush, er, Duke points out their obvious political differences (thereby implying that the judge will be biased), that that's going to matter a whit. Not when the lefty judge is adamant about the First Amendment being so crucial to American freedom. For, even when the jury rules against him, the leftist judge immediately overturns its decision on the grounds that First Amendment rights are inviolable.
To return to reality (as opposed to reality TV, which as we know is anything but real): considering that Steyn is already butting heads with the judiciary, which, oddly enough, seems not nearly as adamant about the First Amendment guarantees being the bedrock of American freedom as the TV judge, I'm thinking that real life court battle could turn out a whole lot differently. I'm hoping that it doesn't, but it could. Also, unlike a typical law show episode, which is wrapped up within an hour, the real life drama is likely to drag on for months if not years.
As well, it behooves us to note that the TV situation is far more extreme in every way than the real life one, not the least because the TV character is such a lout while the real life guy is a true gentleman. (I know; I've met him.) In fact, were you to write up the Steyn-Mann hockey stick court case as a Good Wife script, it would likely be rejected for lacking dramatic spice. With no suicides or accusations re the mother wanting a late term abortion--false info which the Duke character brings to air with no consequences whatsoever, not even being forced to apologize--and with a defendant who's as gentlemanly as they come, I'm afraid the real life version just wouldn't cut it.
I'll give Wolcott this--but only this--though: that line about They Call the Wind Maria is pretty freaking funny.