How to lose a defamation lawsuit
In short, everything I've written about Kinsella has been true or fair comment. And a record-breaking $5-million figure shows a weird lack of self-knowledge, given how tattered his reputation is to begin with. But his suit isn't really a legal move, it's a political one: it's an attempt to harass me, and to scare off other reporters from asking questions, especially about Kinsella's role in Adscam -- a role that Justice John Gomery ruled was "highly inappropriate".
But forget about the details of the case for a moment. Because something startling happened today: Kinsella conceded the legal case, right there on his blog for the world to see (and for me to save to my hard drive, for he'll surely erase it.)
To state the obvious, a defamation lawsuit is where a plaintiff claims that his reputation has been damaged. The plaintiff sues for compensation for that lost reputation. The size of the lawsuit is commensurate with the size of the plaintiff's reputation to begin with, and the damage done to it by the words in question.
But here's what Kinsella wrote today about everything said about him lately -- my criticisms of him, his role in Adscam, his role in Catscam, his attempt to mau-mau TVO, his firing from the Canadian Jewish Congress, etc.:
So he wasn't hurt to the tune of $5-million? So it's been good for business? He actually hopes it continues?
How can someone file a $5-million lawsuit one week, claiming his reputation has been devastated by what was said about him, and that he needs $5-million to get back to where he was... and the very next week say that things have never been better -- precisely because of what has been said about him? And to actually say he hopes it continues!
Something tells me Kinsella didn't bounce that blog post off his lawyer before he wrote it. (And why he's publishing details of a privileged conversation with his lawyer to begin with, I don't know -- but now that he's waived that privilege, I'll have to ask him about it during discoveries.)
You don't need to be a psychologist to know what's going on.
Kinsella is so proud and so vain, after a disastrous month in the court of public opinion he felt it necessary to announce to the world that he's fine -- it's only a flesh wound! -- and that he's doing better than ever. Despite all the things being said about him (stinging things, but true and fair things), he wants people to think he's still the king of the world! He's still the ass-kicker of Canadian politics, to quote the title of one of his lovingly-written autobiographies.
I'm sure his business is coming along well -- I have no facts to the contary. And I'm sure that, when we get into document disclosure in his lawsuit, he'll be able to show his business is growing, despite his own mis-steps. It's just an odd thing to announce to the world, a week after saying he was damaged to the tune of $5 million.
Seriously: if I was a plaintiff in a defamation action, and I had just volunteered, in public, that I was completely unharmed (more than that -- that I hoped it would continue!), I can't imagine that my lawyer would proceed with the case.
What's going on here? A lot of words come to mind, but the main one is: erratic.
Just like his blunders on Catscam and TVOscam and CJCscam, it was an own-goal, an unforced error. He thought it was clever. But his judgment is erratic.
I'm trying to figure out which thought is making me smile more: the total self-destruction of Kinsella's case in his nuisance suit against me, or the prospect that he will remain as Michael Ignatieff's war room boss, with his increasingly bizarre, emotional judgment calls.