Greetings and welcome back to In Summation – The Final Word. In this episode, Paul explores one of the select carve outs to the 1st Amendment's guarantee to free speech. With several very high profile cases on this topic in the last few years, it felt worthwhile for Paul to go through what defamation is, how it works, and why this particular brand of speech can be regulated.
To really explore this topic, we examine one of the most heartbreaking series of events in recent memory. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza went on a horrific and destructive killing spree at an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut. He ultimately killed 26 people, and ruined the lives of hundreds more. The country mourned the senseless loss of life and the event was front and center on national media for weeks.
But then, a whisper of dissent began. A voice started to challenge the narrative. One person began to loudly assert that what we all thought we knew about the Newton Elementary School shooting was wrong. He started claiming that the whole event was a staged government production intended to spur support for gun control regulation. He said no one actually died and the people interviewed were actually “crisis actors.”
That man was Alex Jones. Jones launched a years-long assault through his growing media empire against the people who lost their children, and his supporters heard him and took some of the most offensive actions you can imagine. The parents of murdered children were harassed, followed, doxxed, threatened, and basically made to relive the worst moments of their life in despicable ways. Finally, the parents of 6 year old Jesse Lewis had had enough. Neil Heslin and Scarlet Lewis filed a defamation suit against Jones in what would set off a cascade of defamation lawsuits and would cripple Jones' “InfoWars” radio and internet show. Listen to how it all unfolded here.