Normally I’m one who defends established newspapers as an oasis of reason in an internet rumor mill.
But I cancelled my LA Times subscription promptly after reading their headline “Contrite, defiant Sterling only fuels further outrage” the day after Sterling tried to explain himself to Anderson Cooper.
I talked to a few of my law school friends, and outside the press frenzy about this, the consensus is pretty clear – Sterling had not given into a blackmail attempt. The field day everyone is having with this, gleeful at the thought of publicly humiliating the Jew and taking his property, reveals really deep anti-Semitic roots in this town.
So, if we still do live in a nation of laws and courts, and not “the court of public opinion” (i.e. lynch mobs), we think the Sterlings have a real case against the Los Angeles times for False Image. If not Defamation of Character. I’d like to dissect this a bit, and probe some deeper questions about exactly what’s been going on in this city.
We can call out False Light on the LA Times for a number of reasons, and we can start with their characterization of the Anderson Cooper interview. Anderson Cooper was more than fair with a man who came forward to represent himself. The highlights were that he was set up by this woman, she goaded him to say things he wouldn’t ordinarily say, and she broke his trust. This is the consensus of people who actually listened to that phone conversation.
What are the first three things the LA Times puts up? “Donald Sterling attacked Lakers great Magic Johnson, suggested that African Americans have not done enough to help their community and blamed the media for creating the turmoil.” An hour long interview, and these three questions were almost ancillary.
People could say that Sterling did not come off well. But given the town press’s prejudice towards him, he could have just masturbated for an hour and it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference. They have their attitude towards him and they cherry-picked the facts that fit.
A lie is defined as a “misrepresentation of fact.” So in pure terms, we have a demonstrated fraud here, and it could be easily argued as False Light. Of course I’m just posting this one article, but I think this article is quite representative of all the articles they’ve posted about him. Other articles have painted him as suffering from dementia, actually wanting to lose his team, old man bigot product of a bygone era, I’d go on but it makes me sick just to think about how they’re painting him.
And the worst part is, in a nation of laws, not one opinion piece suggesting that maybe the accused has rights, and society should respect that. No. It’s just “you’re either with us or you’re a bigot.”
With this in mind, Is it any wonder that Mark Cuban came out and proudly declared himself a bigot?
On a tangent, good on you, Mr. Cuban. I have a feeling the rest of the owners will close ranks behind Sterling, on the grounds of refusing to let an owner lose a team over blackmail. If they are the sole voice of reason in this lynch mob, it makes a damning statement about capitalist democracy, that the only people who can run it responsibly are the capitalists.
But let’s take this further.
The charges can deepen into Defamation of Character, if there was no sexual relationship between Sterling and Stiviano. For this I go by Sterling’s remarks in the Anderson Cooper interview, that he just thought some young woman cared about him and it’s hard to say no to that. The theory is equally plausible that she came into his life with malicious intent and blackmailed the family with misleading recordings, and they had given her the house and cars to shut her up.
This is something for the Sterlings to ask themselves. If there was no sexual relationship between the two, it’s Defamation of both Donald and Shelly to say their marriage is falling apart because he’s cheating on her with a younger woman.
And what a damning statement it would be, if they reaffirmed their marriage by denying an actual affair. How much of a given was it, in this entire town, that he was paying for sex, if the reality is she was just a malicious gold-digger who took advantage of an old man’s trust? How many entities could be held liable for fanning that slander?
And here’s where I’d like to add some more probing questions.
What’s going on in the editorial boards of the newspapers? Why this lapse of basic rights of the accused? I understand Los Angeles has deep anti-semitic roots – it’s why Jews settled in Beverly Hills, because they weren’t allowed to buy homes in Pasadena. Does the editorial board of the LA Times have roots in this demon? Do we need to bug their hallways to find out what’s going on?
What do the columnists say? As I posted in a previous link, Michael Hiltzik actually defended Frank McCourt, saying his crimes aren’t the worst in baseball. And that’s one of the first lessons I learned in politics – whenever someone gets busted for sex or drugs, it’s always about a deeper. Was there some conspiracy to run him out of town so some older (whiter) money (Guggenheim Group) could take over?
And what is the deal with Magic Johnson, anyway? He stands to be the main beneficiary of the Clippers scandal, being first in line to buy them in a city that worships him. He was also the figurehead buyer of the Dodgers after the city kicked out Frank McCourt (for the record, the city made it worth his while to leave, they didn’t threaten sabotage and forced sale if he didn’t surrender the team. But let’s ignore that key fact for now).
Does he have sinister motives here? What’s his relationship with Stiviano? Did he put her up to it? What does Frank McCourt think about his sale of the the Dodgers? It sounds like he’s happy with what he got, he still gets to go to baseball games and he gets his parking lot profits for eternity. So he’s probably signed a non-disclosure agreement a mile long. But it would still be nice to bug both of their phone conversations and see what THEY say in private.
Does Johnson have any ties to the Player’s Association? What is the deal with them anyway? When Silver and others are talking about the urge to expropriate the team, and where it’s coming from, he says the players are demanding it. Really? This whole thing is because a few players are so upset over some fucked-up phone conversation, that they will uproot the whole league unless they expropriate the owner? I think people who speak for themselves would be a bit more rational. I suspect this “association” is in somebody’s back pocket.
And what about Adam Silver and Richard Parsons? As figureheads for the reaction, their stances are predictable. But Adam Silver, for all his stated “confidence”, sounded quite nervous at his last press conference. I imagine he’s nervous that he really doesn’t have the votes.
And what is Richard Parson’s history? The history of CEOs is generally that of incompetent self-serving figureheads. What’s his history in “preserving value”?
I have no idea about any of these people. That’s why I’m asking these questions here. On my own little corner of the internet. Because the media have prodded Sterling enough to be guilty of molestation.