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Mark Steyn Slaps Back At The Anti-SLAPP Phase Of His Lawsuit With Michael Mann

Friday, January 24, 2014

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HH: I begin this Thursday as I do whenever we are lucky with Mark Steyn. Everything Steyn is available at www.steynonline.com, including a column which I want to begin with, Trial And Error. Mark Steyn, welcome, always a pleasure to talk to you.

MS: Hey, good to be with you, and I’m glad I’m being followed by Ted Cruz. It’s an all-Canadian show today.

HH: It is.

MS: So I’m thrilled to hear that. Bob Gates has an aunt in Saskatoon, I hear, too…

HH: That’s what I was going to ask. I didn’t see the Canadian connection there. Mark, this is very serious. How can people help you protect the 1st Amendment, because while the intricacies of this buffoonish trial are too impossible to explain, from my perspective as a Con Law professor, it’s outrageous what is going on.

MS: Yeah, I mean, I’m being sued by Michael Mann, the creator of the global warming hockey stick, which purports to demonstrate that temperatures today are warmer than they’ve ever been since the year 900. I believe that is not the case. A lot of people believe that’s not the case, including a lot of scientists, including the National Research Council, and all kinds of other people. But he’s succeeded in persuading a judge in the D.C. superior court to let this thing go to trial. And the New York Times is calling it the Scopes Monkey Trial of the 21st Century, which we might yet prove.

HH: Don’t hire, I don’t know who William Jennings Bryan is, though. Don’t hire whoever that might be. Now…but this is truly astonishing, because I don’t know what it costs to defend against hair-brained lawsuits in the District of Columbia, but it cannot be cheap. Is there a Steyn Defense Fund somewhere?

MS: Well, no, we, I think we’re going to, I think we’re going to have to set that up. My friend, Ezra Levant, who is my great comrade in the free speech battles in Canada, he was complaining to me he had a bit of a legal setback in a Toronto court the other day. And it had cost him $7,500 dollars. And I was sympathetic up to a point, because apparently, the lawyers have blown, just in the year that this thing has just been rumbling through a procedural fiasco at the D.C. superior court, the lawyers apparently have managed to burn through half a million bucks. So the scale of a fiasco this side of the border is an entirely different scale from my friend, Ezra’s seven and a half grand that he’s out of pocket up in Toronto.

HH: Oh, seven and a half grand…

MS: So we may have to…

HH: That’s not even an engagement. That’s a phone call in America. That’s not a trial. So anyway, people have to help you, because this does matter. I can’t believe he did not grant your motion to dismiss and vacate. I really can’t.

MS: No, I mean, I think this whole thing is actually quite improper. I see it in free speech terms, because we have here, by the way, this is the anti-SLAPP phase of the case. You’re a lawyer, so you know what that means.

HH: Yes.

MS: SLAPP is…

HH: Strategic litigation against plaintiffs.

MS: Yeah, and against public participation.

HH: Yeah.

MS: And it understands that when you sue someone, if you sue your enemies, you don’t have to win the case. You can just be sitting there, and you can take them out of the game for two, three years, while they go away and be quiet.

HH: Yeah.

MS: So these laws were passed in order to expeditiously kick the case out and toss them out super quickly. We’re now in, I think it’s the fifteenth month of the anti-SLAPP phase of the case. So that in itself tells you it’s just become another part of the sclerotic legal system, court system, in which these things grind on. As I always say, the process is the punishment. The 1st Amendment isn’t any use if it takes you half a decade and a bazillion dollars before some judge tells you okay, you have the legal right to print the thing. If it takes half a decade and a bazillion dollars, the 1st Amendment ain’t worth anything.

HH: Mark Steyn, I think you ought to get the 527 going that can support you, and then turn its excess funding to the election of candidates that Mark Steyn approves of, including your own Senate campaign. I don’t know if you can run with this cloud over you, though.

MS: Oh, come on. It’s not like I’ve backed up traffic on the bridge to Vermont or anything.

HH: That’s it. That brings me to Chris Christie and the key question. I stay neutral in the Republican presidential thing, and I hope they all do well. But there are a lot of Republicans who are actually happy that Christie is getting bled. And they called me yesterday and they said he shouldn’t have hugged Obama, and he shouldn’t have signed this bill or that bill. And they don’t realize this is a mugging by the media. And I asked Jake Tapper yesterday, it generated a lot of headlines, did Hillary get the same level of intensity over the death of four Americans that Chris Christie’s getting over the bridge, and he said of course not. I don’t think anyone should be cheering on the mob on our side against Christie, Mark Steyn. What’s your reaction?

MS: Well, I think, I mean, I’m not a Christie supporter for I don’t like him on the 2nd Amendment, and all kinds of other things, and that’s fine. But it doesn’t really matter. It’s the same thing as when they all jump on Sarah Palin over nothing. If you remember back in 2008, the media just sent everyone to Wasilla in Alaska to pour through everything that had happened in Sarah Palin’s life, and suddenly, they discover the day after the November election that as Tom Brokaw said to Charlie Rose, we don’t know anything about this Obama guy that we just elected.

HH: Yup.

MS: And it’s the same thing, and as it went for Sarah Palin and Obama in 2008, now it’s going for Christie and Hillary in 2014. And that’s just the way these guys play it. But you should always be, I mean, when the media go into one of these frenzies, what they’re basically telling you when, they’re telling you who they need to take out, which also tells you, to a certain degree, who they’re afraid of.

HH: Well now, but today, he got a federal subpoena today. This is two weeks after this.

MS: Right.

HH: There is no federal subpoena in the IRS case. There are no federal subpoenas in Benghazi or Fast and Furious.

MS: No.

HH: It’s astonishing, the double standard.

MS: No, no, I know. And I mean, I think actually that’s quite, I mean, just to put aside Benghazi, because I think you know, a lot of, just to be completely callous about it, I think there are a certain number of people who think like Hillary does, what difference does it make. It’s some lousy town on the other side of the planet. What’s it got to do with me? The fact that Chris Stevens actually took the Obama view of the Arab Spring, that he was one of them, he’s not a right wing loon like me, and he died for the Obama foreign policy, he died for Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy and they don’t care, tells you something about the kind of heartlessness of someone like Hillary Clinton. But I think to go back to one of the other things you mentioned, the IRS scandal, that’s actually going to affect the result, if nothing is done about this corrupt revenue agency, that is going to affect the results of the 2014 and the 2016 election. They basically neutralized a large part of the base of one party in a two-party system. The revenue agency. That’s real banana republic stuff, because if you can’t trust your tax collectors to impose the tax laws impartially, you are basically in banana republic land.

HH: And so against all that backdrop, are Republicans wise to be having any joy, even if they are Ted Cruz Republicans and they don’t like Chris Christie and the 2nd Amendment, shouldn’t they be looking beyond that and saying to themselves, this political system, media system, has got to be opposed? We have to defend Christie, in other words.

MS: Well, I think you’re right that the media system is a factor. And you have to figure out a workaround around it. And they think they can drag Hillary Clinton across the finish line. Hillary Clinton, everyone thought, you know, Hillary, by the way, they all thought, the media thought that what difference at this point does it make, they all thought that was one of the greatest lines ever, that that put Hillary right, that line just put Hillary up there with Lincoln and Churchill as one of the greatest orators of all time. And but the fact is, it was a foolish hostage to fortune, and the fact is she’s a candidate who doesn’t stand up well under any kind of genuine forensic type of interview. And the media have bet that they can protect her of any of that, and they can do what they did in 2008, and that Fort Lee is this season’s Wasilla. And yes, you have to say we’re not going to let you get away with it, and we’re going to figure out a way, and we’re not going to play nice guy and be like Mitt Romney and be like John McCain and be like Bob Dole, and be this season’s designated decent old gentlemanly loser. This time, we’re playing to win, and we have to be serious about that.

HH: You think Christie’s going to get off of the floor?

MS: Oh, I think Chris Christie is not, I don’t think he’s on the floor. I think he’s a fighter. I think in a sense, he’s a bit like his fellow hefty-sized executive Rob Ford in Toronto without, presumably, the crack habit. But I think he’s one of these people who, you know, you punch him, and he gets up again. And I think that’s, so I don’t accept that he’s on the floor. I mean, he’s being ensnared by Lilliputians, but he’s not on the floor.

HH: Mark Steyn, thank you for joining us. Make sure you get that legal defense fund set up soon so the audience can support it.

End of interview.

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