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February 15, 2017 07:44 AM UTC

First Amendment attorney says Sentinel could have a viable case against State Senator

  • by: Jason Salzman

(Uh oh, Ray Scott… – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Ray Scott (R).

The publisher of the Grand Junction Sentinel is serious about suing State Sen. Ray Scott over his public claim that the Grand Junction Sentinel is “fake news.”

But, he told Denver writer Corey Hutchins, “we’re going to have some cooling-off period before I file anything.”

Hutchins, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review’s United States Project: This particular publisher, it should be noted, is no stranger to a courtroom. Before taking the helm of the Sentinel in 2009, Seaton was a commercial litigator. “This is what I used to do,” he told me. “I practiced law in Kansas City for 13 years, so I’m accustomed to resolving business damage in the judicial system. So I don’t view this really as any different.”

The publisher says he has already seen people on Facebook pledge to cancel newspaper subscriptions after the lawmaker’s comments.

“What I consider actionable is the attack on the Sentinel as fake news,” Seaton says. “I can take the criticism that we’re too far right, or we’re too far left, or our reporter was sloppy, or our editorial misunderstands the issue, that I can handle. What I can’t abide is an attack on the essence of what we do.”

Hutchins quotes Denver First Amendment attorney Steve Zansberg, as saying that “Scott could be liable under libel law if he made statements that are provably false and made “with the requisite knowledge of their falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.”

Does this mean Donald Trump is in line to be sued by CNN and others, who the President has attacked as fake news outlets? I hope so.


26 thoughts on “First Amendment attorney says Sentinel could have a viable case against State Senator

  1. Jason "Fake News" Salzman:

    A lawyer who owns a newspaper "is serious about" suing someone.

    Another lawyer says someone could be liable if someone else could prove something.

    This is not "Fake News", it is not news.

    Does this mean Jason Salzman is still not able to land a job as a journalist because does not recognize what news is?

    I hope so.

    1. You pathetic piece of right wing shit. You are not worthy to lick the soles of Jasons' shoes. You are a seriously worthless troll and nothing more. You are the perfect expression of useless.

      Some day you may take a look in the mirror and come to the realization that the gift of life and freedom was wasted on you. Maybe you will realize how truly ugly are your heart and mind and ask for forgiveness for the evil you are spreading in the world. I hope so.

  2. "requisite knowledge" assumes the guy is not a complete moran and has an IQ somewhere above room temperature. As with AC, I highly doubt both conditions.

    And for AC to try to impugn Jason is the highest insult he's thrown around here. Why CPols continues to let him shit on their blog daily and hourly – and all the rest of us commenters here – is beyond me.  Use some discretion, Jason, and kick his worthless ass out of here.

      1. whoever does should. If the proprietors prefer a Trump-like discussion forum over a Progressive one, then they should state that clearly.  

        Though I will say the cowardice of having a “political” blog that mostly criticizes the politics of Republicans but leaves Democrats tetherless is a failure in itself and is one reason D’s get their asses kicked so often.

          1. Trollies gonna troll, Zap. And it does bring on the clicks, so Pols tolerates it. If /when it gets to the point that the trollies are taking over, and/ or all discussion is centered around whatever new outrage the trollies post, then we have a problem, and Pols are certainly wise enough to intervene.

            Until then, they let us police our own posts.

            I find that I have very little patience for responding to the usual troller provocations; hence, I blank them out, mostly. I already have a full-time job, and responding to every piece of regurgitated Breitbart/Drudge/Fox pap would be another fulltime job.

            But good on Duke for defending Jason S against AC's nonsense. Jason is certainly one of the last real investigative journalists standing, and deserves mad respect for that.

      2. Voyageur and Bane defending the Establishment:

        When they say they aren't being defensive about it, they are being defensive about it. For me, if Bernie vets think they can do better, show us what you've got. About the time of Dean's 50 state strategy, we were the crazy, too-far-left, too "ain't from around here" insurgent Democrats the old boys thought were going to ruin just everything.

        Me, I want to see all that new blood: Indivisible, Revolution, whatever.

        What's troublesome is just how conservative established players become about embracing new energy. Boldness, being willing to take risks and fail fades. They are forever protecting whatever it is they think they have left to protect. We play "rope-a-dope," thinking we'll win by decision, not realizing we're just getting pummeled. To win over the crowd, Democrats have to come out of the corner punching.

        If it pays your bills and buys your kid new sneakers, that's fine. 

        If it's a front where you pretend to be for the Middle Class and for Progressive and Liberal solutions, and where you pretend to be an unforgiving Democrat,  then please cut the bullshit.

        If you sleep well at night knowing you’re doing everything you can for the cause, then God help us all……………

        1. Yes, Duke, but some of us are better at that art than others.  Frankly, you suck at making an ass of yourself.  As MJ will attest, I am a master of the craft.

    1. Is attention finite?  CORA does need reform, but libeling the media simply because they aren't complete slaves to your party deserves some attention, too.   

    2. I am sorry, nate_, but I disagree. It is a very big deal because it is yet another instance where the truth is devalued by the liar it is exposing.

      The only fake news involving the Daily Sentinel I can ever recall was the decades old decision to print Gary Harmons' opinion as fact. That circumstance was entrenched long before Jay Seaton ever hit town.

  3. It seems like a bad idea. A newspaper would probably be considered a public figure, so there would have to be some evidence of actual malice. Not an impossible reach, but pretty hard to prove. 

    In the meantime in order to show damages they'd have to open up the paper's circulation figures and newspapers hate that. 

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