Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

June 27, 2017

Parts Of Ted Rall's Defamation Suit Against LA Times Dismissed By Judge Last Week

There are couple of articles out there picking up on movement last week in the legal action Ted Rall filed against the LA Times a year ago March. Here's the Times itself. Here's Courthouse News Service.

The dispute is over Rall's no longer being carried by the Times following a 2015 opinion column in which he described a jaywalking arrest. The LAPD provided a tape of that arrest they -- and subsequently the Times -- felt ran contrary to Rall's claims, and thus made him not someone they wanted to keep using. Rall presented what he claimed was a cleaned-up version of the tape that supported his original story. He then raised money from friends/fans for legal action and drummed up a modicum of verbal support from peers. My memory is that the cartoonist also suggested the Times and the LAPD were working against him because of anti-LAPD opinion work and cartooning in the recent past.

Another motion will be heard this week, and one imagines future movement in the case will be dictated by these rulings and in part from Rall's decision whether or not to press the point -- both legally and/or in the court of public opinion by suggesting the legal strategy being used against him is a corrupt one.

I read and listened to a lot of this stuff early on and I found Rall's arguments about the tape only sporadically on point, and then only in an Internet-argument way. What I mean by that is that if the process being claimed were vetted and found indisputable, the potential for another point of view on some specific points might be possible -- possible -- but not all of them and not to the degree to provide positive support for the original claim and certainly not enough to discount a hiring body reasonably wanting to look elsewhere. I also read a few years of Rall's pertinent cartoons and police malfeasance didn't seem an overwhelming crusade on the cartoonist's part, at least not enough to justify the hints at conspiracy. Cops get it worse in Andy Capp. I realize that's just dormitory-hallway-at-3AM arguing, though, and the legal standards are being worked through now, whichever way they fall.
posted 8:55 am PST | Permalink

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