Catching you up to speed.
Washington, D.C.: I’d suggest that Omaha spend that money building something worth protecting – and then protect it.
Dana Milbank: That’s a thought.
In fairness, Omaha has an excellent stockyard. I understand they plan to build a moat around it like they did to protect the Washington Monument from truck bombs. The question now is how all the cattle are going to get past the moat so they can be auctioned.
Says Slate’s Jesse Stanchak:
All the stories acknowledge that there’s something odd and unsettling, if not strictly unethical, about the way this panned out. The NYT is particularly defensive of its course of action, saying the payoff doesn’t violate the paper’s policy of not settling libel cases, since the veracity of the reporting wasn’t the issue. The WP acknowledges deep in the story that it somehow got to pay $10,000 less than the other news orgs because it hadn’t exhausted all its appealsâ€”though its unclear how or if the WP will continue to fight this. ABC’s employee was working at CNN at the time these stories were written, but it’s ABC and decidedly not CNN that’s picking up the tab. What’s not clear from any of the stories is exactly how this deal was brokered. The companies were never named as defendants in the suit and owe Lee no damages, but unlike the $895,000 paid by the government, which must go directly to covering legal fees and the like, the media’s money can go straight to Lee. Does that mean the media organizations essentially paid to make the contempt of court charges go away? Does this establish a going rate for doing so? All the papers use the story to make the case for a federal shield law, but how does paying to hush up the suit serve that cause?