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Wizbang To Be Sued?

Freelance journalist David Neiwert wants us silenced for having the temerity to question an academic research project. Neiwert is doing his darnedest to get Utah State professor David Hailey into trouble.

The study is a piece of research in progress. Hailey has never promoted the study publicly. What you see is a professor's research project intended for students and colleagues at Utah State to comment upon and contribute to.
I guess he forgot to mention this bit of self-promotion at Take Back The Media on September 16th (eight days after the original 60 Minutes II story). Funny, I could have sworn the report said it took 3 weeks to reach a conclusion. Also, the original report (PDF), makes no mention of the intended audience or that it is incomplete. Additional avenues for research are suggested, but there is no indication that the work is not complete.

Neiwert is also the one spreading the story that the university is going to sue Wizbang. I was not unaware of these claims, as Hailey called me out of the blue last week, but I choose not to publish them because Hailey does not speak for the university. My contact with university officials and local reporters who have interviewed university officials has satisfied me (for now) that we are not being targeted by the university for legal action. For loudly and publicly providing a forum for Hailey to issue threats of litigation on behalf of Utah State, wouldn't it be ironic if it is Neiwert who causes the most harm to Hailey reputation at the university.

Addendum: Thank you to all who have sent private notes of support, we'll let you know when (or if) public support is required.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Wizbang To Be Sued?:

» ISOU linked with Wizbang Not Being Sued...

» Say Anything linked with Wizbang To Be Sued?

» The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles linked with Is Wizabang's Kevin Aylward's Real Name Actually 'Sue'?

» The Jawa Report linked with Wizbang Should Be Sued!!

» Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam

» Classical Values linked with Some people just hate free speech!

Comments (26)

"In a virtual reality situa... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

"In a virtual reality situation, they're coming on campus and trying to lynch me," Hailey said over the phone.

Maybe it will just be a virtual reality situation type lawsuit, those almost never go to court.

I hate to be a double poste... (Below threshold)

I hate to be a double poster, but I just posted this minutes ago over at INDC Journal. It REALLY belongs here too.

"We are witnessing skirmishes, gathering into battles, and melding into a revolution against the elite who seek to rule us through their tight fisted control of information. And we are taking up arms (or pens, or keyboards) to join the fight.

Should we be labeled “jihadists”? Possibly. “Patriots”? Yes. “Libertarians”? Most definitely.

The lawyers they send to silence us will find their heads upon the pikes of the First Amendment. The Brokaws and the Rathers and their ilk should hope to find themselves so fortunate.

(Note to said lawyers and future judges: this is all figurative. And I hate to have to add this note, but based on past displays of ignorance, I feel I have no choice.)"

Posted by jmaster at October 5, 2004

The revolution will not be ... (Below threshold)
Remy Logan:

The revolution will not be televised. However, it is being blogged, every freaking day.

He's not the only one: Davi... (Below threshold)

He's not the only one: David Anderson is doing it too and you already know how pissed I am at both of them for denograting you and all the writers of Wizbang; they just don't let up and if I ever meet them in person, they will certainly have a mouthful that they will not be able to answer.

And yes, please, keep up with us, because as dirt poor as I am (on SSD not enough to keep a cat alive) I will donate to help any legal costs against those two, the university or Hailey. Thanks for being so open with us, I truly appreciate it.

You have the best blog on the internet and I don't like to see good people here at Wizbang being so ripped apart by these two men. You will have our support all the way, no doubt about it. Thanks for writing about it; I was getting concerned about you.

Much appreciation.

Ouch. The fact that Hailey ... (Below threshold)

Ouch. The fact that Hailey posted on a PUBLIC FORUM inviting others to look at it, goes directly against the "never promoted the study publicly" part.

AH, don't you hate the internet. Just when you think you've come up with a solid enough lie to cover your tracks, someone's always able to retrace those steps.

And by the way... they don't have a case against you. http://www.medialaw.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Public_Resources/Libel_FAQs/Libel_FAQs.htm

Lawyers love to give any potential case "merit." I suppose when its the taxpayers' dollars that USU is spending, legal advice is a-plenty.

But should by some small, foolish, haphazard chance USU lawyers choose to pursue this, my Pay Pal acct is open and ready to donate. Just say when!

INTERNET = PUBLICA... (Below threshold)


Any assertion to the contrary is wrong as far as the law is concerned.

When he put his 'research' online, he waived any expectation of privacy, and subjected himself to scrutiny as a public figure.

The legal standard for libel is VERY high and there are numerous laws in many states to stop what is called "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation" (SLAPP) which is a fancy way of saying "People threatening lawsuits to shut others up". In California we have ANTI-SLAPP laws to help defend against these threats. Nonprofits are also invaluable to help those of limited means stand up to litigious bullies.

Hailey is an idiot on many levels. Like many academics he is protected by a cocoon of like-minded liberal colleagues, so he was probably quite surprised to feel so much heat so quickly.

Personally I can't wait until Newcomer destroys him. As I have already posted in the past, Hailey's paper has a lot more problems than what was pointed out by Wizbang, and any layperson can connect the logical dots to reveal what garbage Hailey's conclusions really are. If you work through his analysis he basically says "trust me, I'm an expert!" instead of showing his work like any good researcher would.

I'm not a fan of double pos... (Below threshold)
David Gillies:

I'm not a fan of double posting either, but I wouldn't be surprised if Neiwert squelches this comment that I left on his blog:


A general rule of thumb that I use when deciding whether something I write is intended for public consumption: WOULD I BE EMBARRASSED IF I POSTED IT ON THE FREAKING INTERNET? And yet, Hailey claims his 'study' wasn't ready for primetime.

My God, that must be the lamest defence ever. I have spent several years of my life in academia (in serious disciplines, too, not cod-Marxist flimflam like 'Critical Theory') and I can assure you that allowing 'drafts' to circulate outside your immediate group without peer review is a no-no.

I reserve judgment on whether Hailey is guilty of fraud, but he's certainly culpable of appalling sloppiness. And after a lengthy perusal of his project and its attendant apologetics, I am no clearer to understanding its epistemological significance. The closest I can get is that he is trying to convince us that because he can chop up, with an image-processing application, a set of glyphs from a typeface that may or may not have been available on a Texas Air National Guard typewriter in 1972, into a crude facsimile of the disputed memos, that they therefore could have been typed - in 1972. Set against that is that three minutes' typing in MS Word XP with all default settings gets us closer than Hailey has with hours of fiddling (I've tried it), and we are left with...what? Anguished shrieking about curtailed academic freedom.

I have twenty years' worth of experience in desktop publishing, text manipulation, software engineering and typography. About the best gloss that can be put on Hailey's work is that it is guilty of the fallacy of Hypothesis Contrary to Fact. I won't commit a further fallacy by ascribing malice where incompetence will suffice.

Did Professor Hailey's peop... (Below threshold)

Did Professor Hailey's people ever hear of Absence of Malice? Kevin, you're a journalist and you were investigating a story. They're just playing games with you thinking you're some guy in his pajamas who's going to quake in his slippers at the sound of the words, "We're going to sue you." If this bullshit lawsuit materializes I can recommend a great trial lawyer -- my brother. He's an ass-kicker from way back.

As a "newcomer" to the blog... (Below threshold)
Blind Sodus Bay:

As a "newcomer" to the blogosphere, I've followed links to see who's out there. When a link to Bill Burkett's recently launched blog went up I went there. At that time one of about ten comments that had been left was a post by Hailey touting his study. It is now not available for viewing. Hmmm

Sued? Free speech man. Hey ... (Below threshold)

Sued? Free speech man. Hey David Neiwert your a fucking wanker! How about trying to sue me for my opinion.

Indiana also has an anti SL... (Below threshold)
Allan Yackey:

Indiana also has an anti SLAPP law that provides recovery of attorney fees. If "liberal" California has one and "conservative" Indiana has one, it would look like a slam dunk for every state.

It is a wonderful law to stop these kind of threats cold.

The threat of this kind of lawsuit is normally the last gasp of someone who has lost on the facts, and lost on the appearance. If they face the prospect of paying attorney fees for the other side it usually stops them cold.

Here is a suggestion for everyone involved in writing or posting publicly. Check with your insurance agent for an "umbrella" insurance policy. This kind of policy is very inexpensive and provides payment for attorney fees to defend this kind of law suit.

If you have one of those you don't need to ask for help to hire the attorney.

Lessee...not a public work.... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Lessee...not a public work...

Mary mapes should knew about it and touted it.

The Boston Globe sure knew about it and touted it.

People all across the world on the Internet knew about it.

It was published on the professor's web site.

Yeah, that's it. It was a private, on-going piece of research.

How funny that Hailey claim... (Below threshold)

How funny that Hailey claims that it was just an exercise when I first heard about this because Mary Mapes claims USU Prof. vindicated the CBS memos. And gee whiz, when you look at all the reams of stuff about consistant damage to the "keys" and his list of military documents on which he did a physical comparison, one would have thought his conclusion that the memos were real trumped the "fake" conclusion. But I still go with the "real frauds" so typewriter or not, they were recently produced and not from 1973. See, I just happen to have a few old typewriters in the basement, and I could type up a memo, PhotoShop in a signature, print it on textured paper and then fax it to myself and have "key strokes". But this guy didn't even try to do that! Hokus pokus, look at this hand and CV while I bedazzel you with BS on this hand.
You go WhizBang. Counter sue them for $$$ and use it become the SunDance of bloggers---give voice to the people.

You could use Christopher L... (Below threshold)

You could use Christopher Lloyd's character from "Taxi" as your lawyer and wind up owning most of Utah. Or to put it another way, don't lose any sleep.

Back to the future: In the... (Below threshold)

Back to the future: In the version of Hailey's PDF which seems to have been posted yesterday, the word DRAFT has been added, prominently, to the top of the first page.

don't be fooled by the prof... (Below threshold)
Jimmy Dean:

don't be fooled by the professors excuses. MAPES is the one who cited his work and brought him into the public spotlight. If the professor wants to sue someone then it should be MAPES.

While I agree with many of ... (Below threshold)

While I agree with many of the comments here and applaud wizbang's perseverence at outing this story, I think wizbang erred in one regard - ascribing motive to Hailey's actions. It would have been enough to report the facts as they speak for themselves. Ascribing motive took a series of assumptions that may or may not be true.

That said, I find this comment hilarious, "It's also worth noting, of course, that Hailey's critics have focused on line reproductions, which are secondary to his argument, and ignored the heart of his thesis..." Sound familiar??? That classic line is followed by discussion of the "damage" on certain letters, which has also been debunked. And I further note that Neiwert's comments are based on the updated versions of the study that came out AFTER wizbang broke the story - NOT on the original study wizbang reviewed.

I advise a little more caution in your choice of words, wizbang, but keep up the good work!

dear kevini want t... (Below threshold)
jay blotcher:

dear kevin

i want to contact you about a possible linking, but this is not the place for it.

could you provide me with an e-mail address, so we can converse?


Jay Blotcher
Press Agent for John Avlon
[email protected]

For more about John Avlon, his views and his book, please visit:

Apparently folks here aren'... (Below threshold)
Ivor the Engine Driver:

Apparently folks here aren't reading at a level high enough to comprehend Niewert's posts. Perhaps you should stick with "My Pet Goat."

To quote John Kerry: "Bring... (Below threshold)
Chris W.:

To quote John Kerry: "Bring it on."

FWIW, Hailey's HTML version... (Below threshold)

FWIW, Hailey's HTML version does not at this time reflect the changes in yesterday's PDF version.

Among other changes in the PDF version is the dropping of the phrase "perr reviewed" from "50 peer reviewed publications".

Quote:Apparently f... (Below threshold)


Apparently folks here aren't reading at a level high enough to comprehend Niewert's posts. Perhaps you should stick with "My Pet Goat."

Yep, I read it in it's entirety. It's a smear campaign meant to spin the bad Prof. Hailey's silly forgery of a forgery and scare off any further examination of this event.

Remember, there are several versions of the Prof's work. In the original, it was not published as a work in progress. Further, Hailey promoted his work to others, on the Internet, as proof that the documents could be real, infact - he stated that is was his opinion that it was real. Mapes even sited it as proof.

Ivor, Niewert, like Hailey,... (Below threshold)

Ivor, Niewert, like Hailey, made several statements in his comments that demonstrate ignorance about the subject - he obviously hasn't been following the fake memo issue that closely. Either that, or he has trouble comprehending the issue.

don't know if anyone has no... (Below threshold)

don't know if anyone has noticed, but the good professor has removed all the "supporting evidence" from his web folder (so much so that it broke his web format of the "report").

hopefully you got the whole folder archived. i've got some of it as well and if you need any witnesses to the contents of what was there before, let me know.


Another version of Hailey's... (Below threshold)

Another version of Hailey's PDF posted today has the following preface:


Initially, this was just a small work, examining just a single component
of the Bush Memos. Because of recent interest in the work, however, I
have been asked to push the project thorough to completion seeing if this
information might be useful for tracking down the origin of the Bush
memos. That said, this report will continuously evolve until the project
is completed.


You guys are dense if you t... (Below threshold)

You guys are dense if you think Hailey doesn't have a case. I'm not in any sense affiliated with him or the University, but just watching you all trying to talk yourselves down from your bad behavior, and back into your state of self-deception is very funny. I can't wait to see you all subject to suit for violating the rights of others to be left alone. Like you all have anything at all in common with "libertarians". HAH. That's so funny!

You all think you have a right to wrongly attack others, defame their character and get away with it because - someone mentions some random provision of libel law that probably doesn't apply to you. That's funny too!

As if retraction makes a difference. You have the equivalent of a printing press. Once you put such ideas out into the ether, the damage is done.

Satire is wonderful. The above link isn't mine, but if it makes you all go nutts and waste all of your time and energy for the rest of your lives - chasing your tails - that's great! HAH!

Woof! Woof!






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