The Corner

Law & the Courts

The Silver Lining of Having a Bad Reputation

At the end of his post on the Bezos’s bombing of the National Enquirer Kevin writes:

“Lucky for the National Enquirer that it doesn’t have a good name to lose.”

Coincidentally, I was just talking to a very prominent Washington lawyer about this very point. He argued that the National Enquirer’s extortion email might in fact be defensible in court, though not the court of public opinion. I can’t do his legal argument justice, but it seemed plausible enough.

Anyway, I pointed out that this can’t be the first time the Enquirer’s lawyers issued threats in writing like this. After all, if you normally went by the rule that you shouldn’t put this kind of thing in writing, you wouldn’t break the rule in a case like this.

And he said: Yeah, but that’s the great advantage the lawyers for the Enquirer have. When the public already thinks your client is an a**hole, you don’t have to sweat the public-relations stuff too much.

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Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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