Power Line asserts the “actual malice” standard to defend itself against a threatened defamation suit against just about everyone from the Democratic National Committee. (Via Insty.)

They’re right about the legal standard, and the fact that the DNC lawyer making the threat has to know that the DNC and Howard Dean can’t overcome that standard. The focus here is on actual malice because, as Power Line acknowledges, the story — while “truthy” — seems to be flat-out false.

Well, at by the time the story got to Power Line, it was a story about a newsworthy story, and the actual malice defense should protect the blog from that. But that’s a parlous place to be and, unlike Glenn Reynolds and others, I think this is not a “silencing bloggers” issue so much as a plain-vanilla overplaying-your-hand-on-a-defamation-threat issue. Both are reprehensible, and going after bloggers on alleged defamation, as has been shown time and time again, can be like trying to get mercury back into a broken thermometer. But still.

By Ron Coleman

LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION blog author Ron Coleman is a member of Dhillon Law Group in their New York City and Montclair, New Jersey offices. He is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and Princeton University.

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