David Barton Wants to Sue Me

For the fourth time, the Worldnetdaily has mentioned me in an article (not counting once when Joseph Farah quoted me but didn’t use my name). It’s the least they could do for all the attention I bring them. This time it’s an article about David Barton winning a $1 million settlement in a defamation suit. And he sounds like he wants to sue me and several others as well.

David Barton critics beware: There’s now a price to pay if you want to defame the popular historian, author and speaker with false and outlandish charges.

Barton won a $1 million defamation judgment in August against two left-leaning candidates for the Texas State Board of Education. The pair, Rebecca Bell-Metereau and Judy Jennings, charged in a 2010 campaign video that Barton, a consultant to the Board, was “known for speaking at white-supremacist rallies.”

That highly charged claim stems from two 1991 speeches Barton gave to groups linked to the racist and anti-Semitic “Christian Identity” movement. Barton, recognized as a strong friend of Israel, acknowledges speaking to the groups but said in court filings he did not know in advance about the racist ideology of his hosts…

Chris Rodda, author of “Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History,” invited Barton to sue her, too, after he went after Bell-Metereau, Jennings, and Smith.

“I’m feeling a bit left out here,” Rodda told her FreeThoughtBlogs.com readers in September 2011. “I’ve worked very hard to spread the word that Barton is a liar. … What else do I have to do to get him to sue ME?”

Rodda responded to news about Barton’s legal success with a lively statement for WND, proclaiming she found it “unfathomably ironic and completely outrageous” that “David Barton, a man who has made a career of lying about others,” has won a defamation lawsuit…

A favored target of the secular left for decades, Barton considered a lawsuit 20 years ago “on some very easy to disprove lies.” However, as a public figure, he needed to do more than show that truth was on his side. He also had to demonstrate economic harm to prevail in court. And that, he said, meant hiring an economist for $100,000 to document financial damage.

“We dropped pursuing anything at that time,” Barton recalled, “but over the last 20 years, it has continued to grow and snowball and one unrebutted, uncontested lie – because nothing happened – became bigger and greater, so people added more as they repeated themselves.”

Examples abound. Blogger Fred Clark labels Barton an “outrageous liar” in a 2013 Patheos post. A Crooks and Liars blogpost from 2012 calls Barton a “Liar and a Rat Fink.” Unnamed Barton critics launched their own Facebook page, “David Barton and WallBuilders Are Liars,” and atheist Ed Brayton vented on Nov. 28, “David Barton is simply one of the most shameless liars in this country.”

And that he is. I’ll gladly join Chris Rodda in double dog daring Barton to sue me. Please sue me. Please please please please please. It won’t end well for him. Unlike a couple others he has successfully sued, I’ve focused only on the fact — undeniable — that he shamelessly lies about the founding fathers and other subjects. And I would be more than happy to prove that in court. And to file an anti-SLAPP suit (Texas’ statute on this is particularly strong, by the way) and take some of that million dollars he just won. Bring it on, Mr. Barton. I’d love to see you in court.

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  • raven

    Google captures:

    More news for Did David Barton really win a libel lawsuit in Texas

    David Barton Wins Defamation Suit and $1 Million

    www. charismanews. com/…/46548-david-barton-wins-defamation-suit-an…

    58 mins ago – You are here: U.S. David Barton Wins Defamation Suit and $1 Million … million defamation lawsuit against two left-leaning candidates for the Texas State … In the lawsuit, Barton does not deny speaking to the groups, but he was …. “These conditions have made this upcoming Christmas season very hard, .

    David Barton Settles Defamation Claims Out of Court

    www. patheos. com/…/david-barton-settles-defamation-claims-out-of-cour…

    2 days ago – More accurately, he settled out of court, but he did get the apology he … Tale From Texas,” that created a false impression about David Barton.

    Getting two different stories from a Google search.

    1. Charismanews, a lunatic fringe site, claims that Barton “Wins Defamation Suit and $1 Million”. I don’t take Charismanews seriously or believe anything they say. I suppose they might accidently tell the truth occasionally. After all, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then.

    2. The patheos article by Warren Throckmorton says he settled out of court for an apology.

    I trust Warren Throckmorton more simply because…while I’m not sure who he is, I know he isn’t Charrismanews.

    Yo, Charismanews!!! Can you sue me for what I just said about you? If not, please, please tell me what I need to say to get sued by you!!!

  • raven

    David Barton Settles Defamation Claims Out of Court

    December 21, 2014 by Warren Throckmorton 30 Comments

    www. patheos. com/…/david-barton-settles-defamation-claims-out-of-cour…

    Late last night,WorldNetDaily posted an article claiming that David Barton won a million-dollar defamation suit. More accurately, he settled out of court, but he did get the apology he wanted. To my knowledge, this was first reported by Donna Garner in October.

    Garner posted the entire apology: continues

    Here is a quote from Warren Throckmorton. To read the whole entry, go to patheos. com.

    Seems there is a line forming, hoping to get sued by David Barton. I’m in line myself but probably at the back. I’d try harder but it probably wouldn’t help me jump ahead. Got some serious competition here.

  • DaveL

    I was wondering how Barton could possibly have won a $1 million judgement, as a public figure, for statements that don’t seem to actually be false.

  • Sastra

    As far as I can tell the only legitimate (or semi-legitimate) defense for Barton here is the one taken in England by the homeopaths who successfully? sued their critics for defamation under the assertion that the terms “quackery” and “quacks” involved conscious, deliberate fraud … and the homeopaths honesty believe homeopathy works.

    If “lying” and “liar” entail that the person so charged knows they are wrong, then Barton might be able to use the fuzzy, compartmentalized, pig-blind nature of ‘religious faith’ to show that he could ignore obvious evidence and contradict himself six ways from Sunday and STILL be blithely unaware he’s doing it.

    In other words, bypass truth altogether in order to focus on ‘sincerity.’

    Also a risky strategy for Barton, though — for other reasons.

  • caseloweraz

    So Barton won against charges that he was “known for speaking at white-supremacist rallies” by admitting that he spoke at the rallies and that the groups were racist but he didn’t know they were racist at the time?

    David Barton, despite a documented pattern of lying about history, is held by the Right to be exonerated by this judgment. Yet their accusing Michael Mann of scientific fraud is OK because that’s just exercising their right to free speech.

    Same old right wing ridiculosity…

  • John Pieret

    Sastra:

    In US defamation law, calling someone a “liar” or even a “fraud” is a matter of opinion, at least as long as you state the basis for that opinion. So, when Ed says Barton uses this or that phony quote or quote mines something out of context and says that shows he is a liar and/or a fraud, that is not actionable. On the other hand, if you say someone committed a criminal fraud (a statement of fact that brings someone into actual disrepute), you’d better have evidence of it or you will be in deep trouble in a defamation suit.

  • Sastra

    @John Pieret:

    Thanks.

    My recollection is that the laws in England aren’t quite that reasonable re charges of “quackery.”

  • kenfair

    It’s a bit hard to tell from the reports on the outcome of this case, but I don’t think Barton was actually paid $1 million. I think that’s the amount he was claiming as damages. It looks to me that what happened is that Barton sued, Jennings and Bell-Metereau tried to have the case thrown out under Texas’ anti-SLAPP statute, the trial court denied their motion, and the court of appeals refused to hear an interlocutory appeal of that denial on technical grounds. After that, it appears that the parties agreed to settle the case rather than proceed to trial. My guess (and this is only a guess) would be that Jennings and/or Bell-Metereau had a homeowner’s policy that covered defamation, and the insurer(s) decided to settle and pay Barton something rather than continue on.

  • John Pieret

    My recollection is that the laws in England aren’t quite that reasonable re charges of “quackery.”

    Speaking as an American lawyer who has never practiced in England, my understanding of English defamation law is that it is deeply unfair to lower and middle class people in particular. A major feature is that the loser has to pay the winner’s legal costs, including attorney’s fees. If you’re rich enough to risk a couple of hundred thousand in order to vindicate your name, all well and good, if not, too bad, you’re shit out of luck. The actual basis of defamation in England, I’m not that familiar with, but an appeals court overturned the “quackery” case. IIRC.

    kenfair:

    The apology issued by the defendants (see Raven’s link to Throckmorton above) placed the blame on their “political consultant” for not independently confirming the charge. I suspect that the consultant was the actual source of the insurance.

  • grumpyoldfart

    The cheating lying Barton scores a million dollars. He must love your fair and balanced legal system.

  • colnago80

    Re grumpyoldfart @ #10

    Throckmorton seems to think that Barton didn’t get buck one, only an apology.

  • http://ahcuah.wordpress.com/ ahcuah

    Throckmorton’s source (from what he says), seems to be Donna Garner, and this post: Good Guy Wins One Million Dollars. Near the end of her post, she includes what she claims to be the final judgment, which contains the following:

    Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that Plaintiffs have and recover of and from Judy A. Jennings and Rebecca E. Bell-Metereau, Defendants, Judgment for the sum of one million dollars and no cents ($1,000,000.00), which has been satisfied and discharged.

    That is in addition to the apology.

    I just don’t see why anybody would agree to such a thing.

    One more thing: Garner has a link to the court where you can find the docket. When you get there, under Judicial Records Search -> Civil Records, look for the name David Barton (search by Party). The docket shows the judgment on August 11. They’ve been awfully quiet for a long time on this.

    I would, however, like to see the judgment myself, or see reporting from someone not as partisan as Garner, though.

  • raven

    http: //tfnblog. wordpress .com/2009/02/02/jeffrey-dahmer-believed-in-evolution/

    (From an email circulated by Donna Garner. She added the part below.) The original author is kelly Coghlan.)

    Jeffrey Dahmer, one of America’s most infamous serial killers who cannibalized more than 17 boys before being captured, gave an [sic] last interview with Dateline NBC nine months before his death, and he said the following about why he acted as he did: “If a person doesn’t think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we died, you know, that was it, there was nothing….” (Dateline NBC, The Final Interview, Nov. 29, 1994).

    Donna Garner, referenced #12 ahcuah is a typical fundie xian kook and hater.

    She once quoted Jeffrey Dahmer in an email she circulated as an authority on evolution. And implied that accepting the theory of evolution leads to cannabalism. A truly repulsive human quoting another one.

    The truth is Jeffrey Dahmer was raised in a fundie xian household.

    I”m not going to say that being raised fundie xian leads to cannabalism though. But OTOH, I would be cautious about going to their houses for dinner. You might end up being the main course!!!

    I wouldn’t consider Donna Garner an authority on anything including cannabalism or serial killers. I don’t know what to believe now about any payment but it will come out sooner or later. It’s possible there was a payment and a confidentiality agreement. That the fundies are now breaking in ecstasy at winning a court case for once.

  • tfkreference

    Late to the party, but I’m guessing the British libel suit Sastra referred to was the British Chiropractic Association suing Simon Singh for describing chiropractic as “bogus.”