Ron Paul campaign sues John Does over anti-Huntsman video

by Walter Olson on January 19, 2012

“Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s campaign committee sued the unidentified makers of a video attacking ex-Republican rival Jon Huntsman claiming it falsely implies it was made or endorsed by the Texas congressman.” [Bloomberg] Paul Alan Levy contends that Rep. Paul, a longtime civil liberties advocate, should know better than to advance arguments that would if accepted narrow the legal protections afforded to anonymous political speech.

{ 4 comments }

1 Hugo S. Cunningham 01.19.12 at 7:38 pm

My sympathies are with the Ron Paul campaign. Anonymous speech is not the same as false-flag speech, aka “black propaganda.” Paul should have the right to know if dirty-tricksters from another campaign are painting his followers as nasty racists.

2 anonymous 01.19.12 at 9:29 pm

I’m a little confused here. How is it “anonymous speech” for me to impersonate someone else and speak in their name without their permission? That’s not in any way “anonymous”. Anonymous would be more like “This ad was created and ran by the anonymous committee for anonymous people who anonymously dislike Hunstman.”

What value is there to protecting my ability to be able to run ad campaigns that say “supported by Overlawyered.com” that you have no connection to? Should Ford also be able to make ad campaigns with GM labels and logos that reflect poorly on GM? Should I be able to “speak anonymously” by impersonating the President and making speeches? He is a candidate after all. We need to protect my rights to speak anonymously by claiming to speak on his behalf.

I’m pretty darned sure that “pretending to represent someone without their consent” is not somehow and implied right of the first amendment.

3 gitarcarver 01.20.12 at 9:32 am

I think it should be remembered that the Ron Paul campaign sent out a rather nasty tweet concerning Huntsman the day before the video in question was released. Paul initially denied he had sent it but later his campaign did admit they did in fact send it.

The Paul camp has a history of trying to defend every negative thing they do or every negative thing that is said against them in a way that can best be described as paranoid.

Personally I find it interesting that while no one seems to have taken credit for the video, Ron Paul supporters have wasted no time in slamming Huntsman for actually making the ad in question despite the fact there is no evidence to support their claim.

It almost seems as if Paul and his supporters are saying “it is wrong to cast us in a negative light, but we can do it to you without repercussions.”

As for “sympathy for the Paul campaign,” given their history of less than desirable tactics, I don’t have sympathy for the campaign in particular, but I do have sympathy for the process that allows lies and disinformation to be racing around the world while truth is somehow still putting on its pants.

As to the point made by anonymous, while I agree in principle, how many times have we seen groups or proposed bills named something that are totally against what one would believe if one looked at the name?

I guess the real question is whether a group that supports or says they support a particular candidate or cause make a video or statement that is actually against the values of the supported group or candidate?

Does a group that proclaims support for a group or candidate have to agree with that group or candidate on everything?

4 Ron Miller 01.20.12 at 9:59 am

Lawsuits suck. They are awful tools destroying society. Unless you have the slightest grievance yourself . In that case, let’s race to the courthouse steps.

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