Donald Trump uses Twitter to create new legal concept – CNET
Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.
The Twitterification of politics continues apace.
It doesn’t necessarily make the election campaign more terrific, but it does allow it to remain in the playground, where everyone calls everyone else a twit.
In his latest Twitter barrage over the weekend, Donald Trump called former Defense Secretary Robert Gates “dopey.”
Yes, Gates had suggested that Trump was “beyond repair.”
Trump also called New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd “a neurotic dope.”
She had exuded the temerity of suggesting that the Republican presidential candidate believes violence adds “a frisson of excitement” to his rallies.
It’s hard to imagine Trump using the word “frisson,” but he does insist he has the best words.
His most exciting Twitter wrath was, however, reserved for the Times itself.
Trump tweeted on Saturday: “My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting.”
For now, I’m not aware that irresponsible intent is a known legal concept when it comes to libel.
Who is to judge responsible behavior? Many are saying that Trump himself isn’t an apogee of responsibility in some of his statements. I don’t know.
I had understood that the 1964 Supreme Court case of New York Times vs. Sullivan was rather influential in suggesting that for a libel suit to succeed, it had to prove that an allegedly libelous statement was made “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”
But perhaps Trump wants to sue the Times for simply existing in an intentionally irresponsible manner. Or for its irresponsible intent in employing alleged neurotic dopes.
It’s not clear which specific action by the Times has incurred the candidate’s wrath. The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for elucidation.
It could be that the paper accused him of “clinging to the ‘Birther’ lie for years.” Or it could be that a Times editorial on Friday excoriated him for such alleged lying and of delegitimizing his candidacy.
I fear that once President Trump comes to power, there may be very few media entities that remain.
The forces of responsibility will obliterate most of them.