Brass balls: Not as effective as actually calling people

graydon.jpgAlmost two months ago we ran the headline “Graydon Carter: Sometimes being right isn’t as important as being first” about how Vanity Fair ran the Deep Throat story without fact-checking it against the only two people who ostensibly knew Deep Throat’s identity, Woodward and Bernstein. Carter got credit for having “<a href="brass balls” for going with the story anyway. But after a British court ruled in favor of Roman Polanski over Vanity Fair and parent Cond&#233 Nast, it seems that Graydon’s balls may be losing their lustre.

Variety reports that Carter is now on the defensive* for running the offending anecdote (about Polanski hitting on a hot Swedish model days after Sharon Tate’s brutal murder) solely on the 33-year old recollection of Lewis Lapham — without attempting to verify the story by calling the hot model, Beatte Telle (or verifying whether she was, in fact, Swedish, which she is, in fact, not – she’s Norwegian). Oops.

VF’s Roman Polanski defamation defense was two pronged: first, that the event actually happened (per Lapham) and second, that in any case Polanski’s reputation was already so besmirched it couldn’t be dragged any lower (aka “Sometimes being right isn’t as important as being last”). The British court ruled that the those arguments held as much water as a fugitive from the U.S. living in France bringing suit in Britain and testifying via closed-circuit TV so he wouldn’t get extradited. Oh, wait.

Turnabout is Fair play: Polanski trial has Carter on defense [Variety]

*Variety doesn’t actually say who Graydon is on the defensive against, except perhaps the possibility of another Polanski suit; in the meantime, we’re just going to assume that someone other than Variety has arched an eyebrow over the matter. Not verifying this kind of stuff is pretty arch-worthy. Still, Variety, turnabout is fair play on you, too. Okay, now someone turn it around on us! This is a fun game.