Rachel Maddow Wins Dismissal of OAN Defamation Lawsuit

The merits of the rest of the case aside, I am just amused that Racheal M. used a defense that she did not mean the word “literally” in the literal sense.

OAN is going to appeal the decision. It isn’t over yet.

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It sounds like a case of using the courts to bully someone into silence.

That figurative use of “literally” is part of out language

2 : in effect : virtually —used in an exaggerated way to emphasize a statement or description that is not literally true or possible
//will literally turn the world upside down to combat cruelty or injustice— Norman Cousins

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One term that describes what you suggest is " slap suit"

Would it be correct then to say that “literally” is an auto-antonym/contranym?

Sure. And it is not the only one - in Englishand other languages.

Cool. :sunglasses:

I’m off to find new ways that I can form ambiguous statements just for fun. Not that I would use them in any serious context.

The word “apology” almost treads into this territory. As it can refer to a justification or an acknowledgement of an offense.

So then Maddow meant the opposite when she said OAN was literally paid Russian propaganda??

I mean context matters when using words, no???

On the bright side, only five of Maddow’s six viewers took her comment seriously.

Defamation lawsuits are always tough, since often the terms ascribed are not clearly defined enough so that wiggle room is always allowed. That’s why terms like “so and so is a racist” is rarely going to rise to defamation, since the term racist is rather vague and unprovable.

Isn’t this similar to the lawsuit Michael Mann launched against the National Review, which called him the “Jerry Sandusky of climate science”? And the National Review’s defense is basically"oh well, you know, that’s just a bit of editorial hyperbole."

Both sides play this game, both in public discourse and in the courts.

What is important is determining the troubling things she published and their import

Well, it is because we know it can’t be taken in a literal sense, i.e., Michael Mann is not Jerry Sandusky, but to claim that the word “literal” did not mean literal but it’s exact opposite doesn’t even make SENSE contextually.

She said they were literally paid Russian propaganda, that’s not contextually meant to be taken as exaggerated hyperbole, and any other definition of literal would hardly make sense, i.e., it would imply the opposite.

2 : in effect : virtually —used in an exaggerated way to emphasize a statement or description that is not literally true or possible
//will literally turn the world upside down to combat cruelty or injustice— Norman Cousins

Welcome to the vagaries of human language. Metaphor is indeed a thing.

Yes, well aware of that but she wasn’t using a metaphor.

I thought that there was no such thing as group libel.

Of course they do, though the courts would likely interpret a difference between claiming someone is a known descriptive term (spy, pedophile, etc) and claiming someone is another person (which implies an alter ego).

In any case, both are hard sells with the courts unless claiming facts that can easily shown to be false. I remember it was national news (though I was one and heard about it later) when Carol Burnett won a libel suit over defamation against the National Enquirer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnett_v._National_Enquirer,_Inc.

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