This is what you could call a slow news week. It’s kind of the exact opposite of the week that inspired me to start writing these missives. Back then, the Supreme Court was handing down rulings and the Zimmerman trial was getting off to a disastrous start for the defense. It all seems so long ago.
The latter days of the summer are always slow in law as partners and judges go on vacation and students await the return to school. The bar exam provides some light entertainment and OCI generally provides a gem or two, but otherwise it’s a slow period.
And that’s when people can get tripped up by satire masquerading as news.
Here’s a short round-up of a few key stories from the week including how satire fooled a lot of the ATL-verse and some high profile cases that had milestone moments…
1. Take a second before you react and DERP.
When the news lets up, it’s nice to let your hair down and enjoy a couple of laughs. That’s what we thought too when we read the most recent Borowitz Report from the New Yorker. It was a fun, satirical take on the recent remarks by Pope Francis regarding gay priests. Andy Borowitz juxtaposed the more tolerant viewpoint of the new pontiff with the Inquisition-era views of the Catholic Justice Scalia.
It was the quote of the day on Wednesday.
But it mocks Scalia so…
In flood the cavalcade of angry comments. Indeed the very first comment from Chip says:
So you posted this thinking it was real without doing an iota of research?
Did you even click on the link?
Career Alternatives Part 79: ATL “journalist:”
And JohnAppleseed wrote:
As noted, it is not a Scalia quote, but rather a satirical and inflammatory quote written by a comedian. It is irresponsible for you to post the quote in the manner you did and you know it. Your only excuse for absolute journalistic failure is that you didn’t realize the original quote was fake.
Given that the original post was all of 91 words — of which 25 constituted a disclaimer (originally marked “P.S.” and later edited to “N.B.” because we approve of archaic Latin phrases when the commonly used English ones confuse lawyers) explaining that the quote was drawn from “a satirical column,” the commenters who took part in the backlash against this quote can enjoy free tuition at:
2. Likewise, know your source.
Yesterday the fake news hits kept on coming, when the Rock City Times, a newspaper we’ve covered before, published an article entitled, Law Students Required to Retake Bar Exam After Test Are Lost By Arkansas Bar Association.
Without knowing the source, Facebook and Twitter accounts of legal eagles started posting this as fact and several tipsters sent it in. The article notes:
Today, the Arkansas Bar Association (ABA) revealed that the Bar Exam tests from the Little Rock area are missing following Wednesday’s exam. The Bar Association will require exiting law students to retake the MBE portion of the exam which has been rescheduled for August 7th.
And this is where everyone should have known the story was fake. It’s not that we’d put it past bar examiners to lose a bunch of exams — they can’t even figure out what a number 2 pencil is after all — but the idea that they could (a) figure out they lost the exams and (b) schedule a time to retake the test the day after the exam? THAT you just can’t take seriously.
3. Lots of people are going to jail.
It wasn’t so much that there was no legal news, as that the legal news was so matter-of-fact as to become dull.
Bradley Manning got convicted of most of the counts in the case (though not the critical “aiding the enemy” count), which was… pretty much to be expected. Regarding Manning, Tamara thinks the left should stop lionizing him, which is odd since President Obama is pushing the prosecution while it’s people like Ron Paul defending Manning. But whatever, the point is he or she is going to jail for a long time as expected.
Ariel Castro got a chance to speak and decided that even though he’s pleaded guilty, he’ll partake of the crazy time like we expected of him.
As Jezebel explains:
Most incredulous and disturbing of all, however, were Castro’s claims that sex with his victims was always consensual (every bit of evidence suggests otherwise) and that he, Berry, Knight and DeJesus — the three women he literally kept in chains and beat until they had miscarriages — lived together in “harmony.”
Castro vehemently objected to being characterized by the courts, media and general public as a monster and reiterated time and time again that he “is not a violent person.” He also claimed that, despite his son’s accusations, he was never a wife-beater. That is, until he married his wife.
“I never had a record until I left my children’s mother,” he told courts.” … She is saying that I was a wife beater. That is wrong. It happened because I couldn’t get her to quiet down.”
Yikes. Still, pretty much what we expected.
And while not going to jail, Fabrice Tourre was found liable of misleading investors. Dealbreaker notes:
For the SEC, the verdict offers a rebuttal to critics who have accused the agency of seeking to make fairly junior employees, such as Mr. Tourre, scapegoats for Wall Street’s wider failings.
But of course it is exactly not that; it is just proof that the SEC is at least able to make scapegoats of those junior employees. It goes to competence but not intentions. And it’s a mixed blessing for the SEC, as its critics are already re-opening the question of “if it’s that easy to win against Fab Tourre, why aren’t you throwing all the bastards in jail?
Sure, I’ll be one of those critics. I know the SEC is hungry, but there’s more in life than low-hanging fruit.
Oh, and O.J. is getting paroled in a few years so this week counts as a better one than usual for him:
1. Recognizing Satire Part I
On Gay Priests, Pope Francis Asks, ‘Who Am I to Judge?’ [New York Times]
Scalia Offers To Help Pope Judge Gays [The New Yorker]
2. Recognizing Satire Part II
3. Ho-hum Courtroom Developments