Rappoport: 'Dear Dr. Robert Malone, I urge you to drop your lawsuit against Dr. Peter Breggin and Ginger Breggin'; We’re seeing a budding trend. Defamation suits...
by Paul Alexander
I find a well written substack on this Malone-Breggin lawsuit
‘This piece isn’t about who said what. I’m ignoring that. So readers can put away the popcorn.
We’re seeing a budding trend. Defamation suits. They tend to put a chill on writers, who will ask themselves, “Am I going to get sued for writing THIS?”
Here’s something to keep in mind. The reputation of the plaintiff is ultimately going to be determined by those who, OVER MANY YEARS, read what he writes and listen to what he says. Not by the outcome of his suit.
And what his readers think of him depends on what he writes and says. Every day, month after month, year after year.
If someone calls me an egregious jackass and bunch of other names, and also claims I’m trying to undermine the rule of law and climate change and Joe Biden and highway safety, and also claims I’m an agent of Putin and Satan…and I sue for defamation…
How does that really help me? What does that do for me?
Again, my reputation as a writer depends on what I write every day and what readers think of it.
Newsflash: I’m not overly concerned about my reputation.
I may decide to write something about the person who is attacking me—and he may respond—and we may go back and forth—but so what?
I think Dr. Malone should step back, take a deep breath, and drop his suit. It’s not going to do anything for him.
I understand he is asking for $25 million in damages. I don’t recommend that, either. Putting a dollar figure on what he claims is the injury he’s suffered? And now he’s spending a great deal of time with lawyers and the court justifying that claim? I don’t think so. That will be exhausting.
Suppose Malone wakes up one morning and for no particular reason feels great. He doesn’t care about Peter Breggin. It’s a beautiful day and he just wants to take a walk and look at the trees. But he’s still suing for damages, and for injury. So he has to be injured. I don’t think that’s a good situation. Just saying.
I was once in that perplexing box. I was suing Moses. He had led my (presumed) ancestors around the desert for 40 years looking for the Promised Land. I claimed that was indicative of some sort of hostile intent, because anyone should have been able to find the Promised Land in, at most, five years.
My lawyers were serving papers on Moses. And then, poof, I won a few bucks on the Jets. And a few more on the Dolphins. I took my winnings and laid them down on the Bengals. And I won again. Hot streak.
So there I was, on my back porch, smoking a cigar and sipping sherry and watching my pet alligators thrash around in my moat, and life was good.
I thought about Moses and said what the hell. I called my lawyers and dropped the suit. A week later, Moses called and told me he was probably wrong for telling people I was a traitorous Jew. And we went on with our lives.
Back to the money. My thought is this. If you’re suing someone and you’re asking for a dollar figure you know is going to bankrupt the person you’re suing if you win, you really need to be sure you’re doing the right thing. You really need to think.
For instance, I would be asking myself, “Why don’t I just sue for one dollar?” Because, after all, I just want to prove I’m right. That’s all. Or, “Why don’t I just sue for my lawyers’ fees?” Why am I going for the throat? Because I’ve really lost $25 million, somehow; or because I want revenge and I want to put my accuser out of his house and on the street? And if it’s the latter, did he really do something to me that justifies the amount of pain I’m trying to visit on him? Or am I going off the deep end here and playing with fire?
A writer can always defend himself on the page and stand on his words. And leave things there.
And move on. Because, in the long run, a writer’s work and his effects on readers amounts to much more than what he sees as someone’s attacks against him. I’m talking about the long view, the reality of a writer’s career and life.
Losing perspective isn’t healthy.
Litigiousness can be an itch that comes on suddenly, and you feel you must scratch it. If I were on the verge of suing someone for defamation, I’d think about that, too. For instance, is it possible I’m rolling up all the insults people have leveled against me over the years and I’m trying to kick all their asses at once with this one claim I’m about to file?
Not long ago, I experienced a great itch. Nobody I consulted could cure it. Then I had an idea. I called my lawyer, Gloria Torquemada, and told her to prepare papers against God.
We were going sue Him for standing by and doing nothing while untold numbers people were suffering. For thousands of years.
God’s lawyer, Marty Klein, dropped by my office and talked to me. He said, “Do you really believe winning this suit is going to change anything? Get back to your work. You’re a writer, so write. You can attack God on the page every day if you want to. Trust me, He doesn’t mind. He’s a big boy. He can handle it.”
That was another suit I dropped before it came to trial.
I’m sure there are people who believe Malone’s suit against Breggin is going to bring important issues to the surface and allow us to see them and gain vital insights. I doubt that. I strongly doubt that. I think it’s going to be a mess.
And of course, the mainstream press will delight in covering the mess. They’ll use it to defame and ridicule all sorts of people who stand against official narratives of all kinds. The press owns Popcorn Inc. They manufacture tons of the stuff and sell it to an audience who just wants entertainment. If the press didn’t own that popcorn company, THEY’D be bankrupt and out on the street without a pot to piss in.
If I were about to file a defamation claim, I’d keep that in mind, too.
Can a writer’s career be destroyed by someone’s verbal attacks against him? Hmm. I don’t think so. Sometimes those attacks actually increase the writer’s audience.
And if his audience is so fragile and deserts him because of those attacks, it wasn’t such a valuable audience to begin with. It was following him for superficial reasons.
A writer keeps writing REGARDLESS of what other people think and say, DESPITE what other people think and say. It’s one of the convictions that makes him a writer. He endures. He outlasts criticism.
CODA: I did once file a defamation claim. I went through with it. Gloria, my lawyer, and I leveled a suit against the New York Times for being the New York Times. The judge was ready to dismiss it, on the grounds that it was a nuisance and I also had no standing, but in chambers we convinced him that the depositions were going to be interesting, because we were going to force the Times to define itself.
During those depositions, which lasted some 200 hours, we wound up Times employees in an alarming series of contradictions and admissions. We turned them upside down and inside out. Finally, realizing their plight, they offered to settle.
We won the damages we sought. A nickel.
In the aftermath, I glued that nickel to my right butt cheek. It’s there, every day, as I write. It CLINKS, whenever I sit down. It’s a comfort in times of trouble.
Now that was a good defamation suit. It was righteous. It went after actual bad people.
Dear Dr. Malone, take a deep breath, step back, and relax. Lighten up a little. Think it over. Is this really the right path you’re treading?
I don’t think so. I think it’s the wrong path.
Again, a lawsuit doesn’t make your case. And by case, I mean your position on an issue which, from what I understand, Dr. Breggin criticized. It doesn’t matter what the issue is. Whatever it is, you should stand on your work and your description of that work. That’s the core. That’s you saying, “These things are true, and I’ll explain why.”
Then come hell or high water, you assert and defend your position.
And if you feel someone, anyone is attacking you unfairly, say so.
And keep standing in the stream. With your work.
That’s how it really goes.
Always has, always will.
-- Jon Rappoport’