November 15, 2022

DAILY CALLER: We Reject Steve Schmidt’s Attack On The First Amendment.

It is both sad and curious that many political operatives who claim to “protect democracy” so often do so with no respect or understanding for our cherished constitutional rights, especially those rights that underpin democracy itself. No truer example can be found than those who so casually disregard the First Amendment.

As some readers may know, The Daily Caller published an article on November 11 titled “Lincoln Project Co-Founder Steve Schmidt’s Ex-Wife Files For Restraining Order.” The next day we received a series of legal threats and demands from an attorney for Mr. Schmidt. As is our journalistic obligation, we immediately investigated his allegations of error, and indeed we did find that we made a few minor errors of no moment, but corrected them anyway. For example, we mistakenly said in the first version that Mrs. Schmidt was planning to divorce Mr. Schmidt, and Mr. Schmidt’s lawyer pointed out they were already divorced. Yes, it’s an error, yes we’re embarrassed, but these are exactly the kind of errors that the First Amendment has been read to give “breathing space” for freedom of expression, particularly in matters of public concern.

Unlike Mr. Schmidt, we do not intend to litigate this or any matter via Twitter. We do however wish to set the record straight that Mr. Schmidt has posted only one of several legal threats, each one changing his story a little bit. Moreover, we have reached out to his attorney and asked him to provide any material that can support his allegations of other errors so we can address them. He has refused to do this. We have even offered to allow Mr. Schmidt the opportunity to publish a statement or opinion piece – unedited by us – in which he can state his view. He has so far rejected this opportunity.

In our view, “litigation by Twitter” is little more than public relations. Mr. Schmidt complained that we referred to The Lincoln Project as “his” organization. While he might like everyone to forget that he was in fact a cofounder, we again as a courtesy, corrected the story to clarify that he left the organization after it was embroiled in a scandal involving homosexual harassment.

I’m sure he was delighted with that clarification.

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