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Samizdata quote of the day – unfortunately the high-status fraudster won

A Washington, D.C. jury has found that conservative writers Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg defamed climate scientist Michael Mann.

The jury deliberated for close to a full day before reaching its decision.

At issue were two blog posts, one by Steyn and one by Simberg, comparing the investigation into alleged academic misconduct by Mann, then a Penn State professor, to Penn State’s handling of Jerry Sandusky, the school’s former head of athletics who raped and molested children.

“If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won’t it cover up?” Steyn wrote in his post, which quoted Simberg’s.

Andrew Lawton

33 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – unfortunately the high-status fraudster won

  • Clovis Sangrail

    It was a bad day for the truth and for Mark Steyn yesterday.

    I thought (as did better-informed [than me] commentators) that Steyn’s case was very strong but apparently it was not enough to overcome DC jury sympathies which the plaintiff’s lawyer triggered in his closing argument by saying that the right verdict would mean that

    no one will dare engage in “climate denialism”–just as Donald Trump’s “election denialism” needs to be suppressed.

    For those interested, Judith Currie’s expert commentary on the fraud claim about Mann’s hockey stick [which was not admitted in evidence] is available here.

  • DiscoveredJoys

    I agree that it was a poor result…

    “The jury awarded Mann $1 in compensatory damages from each plaintiff. It also awarded $1,000 in punitive damages from Simberg and $1 million from Steyn.”

    With only $1 in damages the higher punitive damages might be reduced on appeal. I hope.

  • John

    I’m confused by the desultory $1 compensatory damages which clearly indicates the opinion, even of a DC jury, that Mann is full of shit.

    The $1m punitive damages, which I have read may not stand on appeal, are simply to bankrupt a seriously ill man although it shows a distinct lack of style when the E Jean Carroll jurists managed to come up with over $80m for denying something which never happened.

  • Kirk

    I’m waiting for America’s Lenin to appear, and ask the infamous question about these things: “What is to be done?”

    I don’t think that the leftish and oligarchs in this country really grasp just how far they’re pushing the “common folk” towards radicalization. Or, where that ends; once everyone sees that there is no justice to be had from the Justice Department or any local law enforcement…?

    What the idjit class fails to grasp is that this whole thing we call civilization is dependent on what scriptwriters and authors call “willing suspension of disbelief”. The average person has to believe in the essential fairness of the system; once they’re convinced that there isn’t any, well… Yeah. It’ll start with people not bothering to call 911 for law “enforcement”, and it will end with the lot of them (the idjit class…) dangling from lamp posts, nation-wide. You can feel the first tremors starting, as we speak. When some 60-year-old matron of the bourgeoisie says to you “Well, we just should have shot him and hid the body, ‘stead of callin’ the cops…”, and you’re pretty sure she’s sincere? That’s what we call “a sign”. I’m hearing more and more of that from some very surprising people. The general public is losing their belief in the system, and when that reaches a critical mass? Bad things are going to ensue, for a lot of people. If, by chance, any readers here are present in the United States as illegal aliens, unpapered people? My advice is, get out while you still can. Your status is about to become a death sentence. As well as those minions of the idjit class, the petty criminals and vagrants… I see vast work camps being built, and a lot of people being put into them to either fix themselves, or die. People in general are losing patience, tolerance, and compassion. When enough reach the conclusion and act on that, followed by a mass realization, à la Timisoara, that they’re far from alone in these changed attitudes and conclusions?

    I don’t think the world is going to be quite prepared for what follows. I know I won’t be, and I also know I don’t want to be here when this happens, but that’s where the idjit class is pushing things.

    Ah, well… It’ll be a lesson for the ages, one that will be remembered for a few short generations, and then forgotten again when we start doing the same stupid things and listen to the new idjit class that will undoubtedly arise. Wash, rinse, repeat… That’s the mantra of civilizational history, I fear.

  • Steven R

    Did any really expect a different outcome?

  • Orde Solomons

    I fear you’re right Kirk. And not just for the US either.

  • staghounds

    “Did any really expect a different outcome?”

    There was a different outcome, a thousand times different outcome. The interesting thing about this case is the difference between verdicts. Steyn and Simberg said the same things and were tried in the same plaintiff’s case. In fact Steyn quoted Simberg’s most extreme comments in his statements at issue. The compensatory damages were the same and derisory. Simberg’s punutives were also trivial.

    Don’t get me wrong, Steyn is an original thinker and often a good writer. But his performance at trial convinced the jury that he should be beaten down in a big, serious way.

    (I watched much of the trial. I’m not surprised at all by any of the results.)

  • Paul Marks

    This is not an isolated case – in case after case, in both civil and criminal law, leftist juries have made it very clear that they judge things on political grounds.

    Even in murder cases – leftist juries are prepared (indeed they are happy to) convict innocent people (people they know to be innocent) in order to further their political agenda.

    The left chooses places, such as New York City and the Washington D.C. area, where they know the jury will be on their side.

    Staghounds – Mark Steyn told the truth and the jury knew he was telling the truth, that is why they hate him (because they hate truth). They are establishment types – the sort of creatures who read the Washington Post.

    “I watched much of the trial” – please give a link to the film of the trial.

    I repeat – such juries are increasingly common.

    They find people guilty of murder – when no murder has taken place (for example the case of Mr Floyd – who died of the drugs he willingly consumed).

    They find people guilty of internet memes – such as “vote by text” (a meme joke invented by Hillary Clinton supporters – but only a conservative was sent to prison for telling the joke – mocking the intelligence of the supporters of the other candidate).

    They find people guilty of defamation in denying sexual assault – when they know (and giggle about) that the charges of sexual assault were obvious lies.

    Such juries serve a political ideology.

    Unless juries are politically balanced, the “Justice” system is at an end.

  • (I watched much of the trial. I’m not surprised at all by any of the results.)

    Would you expand on that? I’m interested why you are not surprised.

  • Paul Marks

    There is a philosophical background to such juries – and, for once, it is not Marxism.

    The American philosophy of “Pragmatism” has taught (for almost 150 years) that there is no such thing as objective truth or objective morality – that what matters is power. No surprise that this philosophy has long been allied with Progressive politics.

    I remember a Californian doctor who saved many patients from Covid – he was HATED.

    Yes HATED – because he “divided our community” (that is a direct quote from the people who opposed him in the election campaign – he ran for Congress), he did not follow the establishment narrative.

    He saved many lives, he was telling the truth and the establishment were lying – but that did not matter to the Progressive inhabitants of the area.

    As Pragmatists in philosophy and Progressives in politics – all that mattered to them was following the establishment narrative, unity-under-power, objective truth and objective morality did-not-exist to them.

    Or to this jury in the Washington D.C. area.

  • Paul Marks

    Perry – there is a transcript of the trial, with people reading out the lines.

    Many people have followed it on Twitter (or X) – Mark Steyn has linked to it.

    As for “watched” – perhaps Staghounds was in the D.C. area and went to the trial, it is possible.

    But it really does not matter – as such juries have behaved the same way in many other cases.

    The left specifically pick for Civil and Criminal (criminal such as the Meme case) trials locations where their own kind are common.

    If people are not allowed to successfully challenge would-be jury members on political grounds, the outcome of such Civil and Criminal trials is predetermined.

    After all they will award millions of Dollars to a lunatic woman in New York (knowing she was lying) to “stick it to Trump”.

    They will also send people to prison for “murder” when no murder has taken place.

    And they will send people (as long as they are conservatives) to prison for internet memes.

  • staghounds

    ““I watched much of the trial” – please give a link to the film of the trial.

    There isn’t one- it was live streamed.

    “They are establishment types – the sort of creatures who read the Washington Post.”

    Spend a lot of time with D. C. juries, do you?

    Mann’s lawyer, although not well focussed, did not overtry his case. He presented Mann, and Mann presented himself, as a reasonable person making reasonable claims. They didn’t think the damages were much, but there was something.

  • staghounds

    Simberg’s lawyer was more focussed. She also presented herself reasonably, and presented Simberg that way. He came across as a fairly mild, bookish academic who was trying to make points about climate change and the investigation into Mann.

    She had a comprehensible theories of the defence- Simberg told the truth (a complete defence, that failed) and that Mann suffered little or no damages. That was reflected in the verdict- a dollar’s worth of damages and ten dinners out worth of punitives. Simberg seemed like a man who would learn a lesson, and that’s what he got.

  • staghounds

    Steyn, on the other hand, was terrible. First, he represented himself. In almost every circumstance, that’s stupid. Being a lawyer is a different thing than being a party.

    Next, he’s not a lawyer. He is a clever man, but the process of preparing and trying a case requires more than cleverness. That showed most in his failure to focus on what was important, instead trying to get Mann and other witnesses to admit dishonesty or error, usually on trivial points of fact or previous statements.

    Those things combined with his ego to make for an awful presentation. He has always contended that the trial was about the correctness of the hockey stick, and it wasn’t. He did not address the weaknesses in the defendant’s case effectively.

  • staghounds

    Effectively. Steyn can be charming and erudite, even funny. But jeez, not here. His phony Anglo- Canadian “my Lord…” and “In any other Court…” I wanted to slap him. You’re in this court, with this law, with these citizens. And you live in New Hampshire!

    He also did not seem to want to assist the jury in finding the truth when answering questions.

    And worse, he came across as an ass who was more interested in calling Mann names than in defending his own case. Clearly the jury decided that he needed a big old lesson, and they gave him one.

  • bobby b

    “He has always contended that the trial was about the correctness of the hockey stick, and it wasn’t.”

    While he stands a decent shot at appeal over the sheer ratio of puni’s versus actual damages, yeah, I’d agree that Steyn made a poor choice to represent himself. (Was it a money issue?)

    He’s an acerbic, smart-alec, poshy (is that a word?) guy with a nasal voice, and his jurors . . . . weren’t. He wanted to try a case that the judge didn’t want to hear, and that the jurors wouldn’t have believed. But that wasn’t the case at issue.

    Train wreck. Worst part is, that smarmy lying putz Mann comes out smelling nice.

  • Fraser Orr

    I’m not a lawyer, nor do I really understand these things. But what disturbs me about this is the free speech implications. Even if I thought Steyn was a nasty slanderer and Mann a poor put upon soul, the idea that someone can suffer life destroying financial damages for something he said is really terrifying to me.

    As Clovis above quoted: no one will dare engage in “climate denialism”–just as Donald Trump’s “election denialism” needs to be suppressed. How dreadful, irrespective of whether you are for against these “denailisms” that the civil court should be used to prevent such views from being expressed is absolutely terrifying to me.

    It just seems part of the “new” censorship, privatized by civil suit or social media, it seems the right to free speech is dissolving before our very eyes.

  • John

    Mark Steyn was for many years the highest profile of Rush Limbaughs guest hosts. He also regularly featured on Tucker Carlsons Fox News show.

    He is clever, abrasive, stubborn and unashamedly right wing. Leftists hate and fear him. He is also invariably correct as evidenced by his authoring several extremely prescient books.

    Given the change to punish him the jurists probably morphed into little gollums “We hates him precious, hates him” and as I said previously I’m only surprised they didn’t go completely Doctor Evil and fine him one gazillion dollars. The miserly $1 compensatory damages should be the big story here.

    The jurists behaviour is of a type to that of the New York prosecutors and judges who when given a once in a lifetime chance to stick it to their sides mortal enemy became giddy, nearly orgasmic, at the opportunity to throw logic out of the window and impose verdicts, sentences and fines on Donald Trump with zero connection to reality and thankfully only slightly higher chance of standing on appeal. But they’ve had their moment in the sun, in the spotlight, in an election year.

  • I think Staghounds gives a good analysis of why this went the way it did. As the old saying goes: a man who represents himself in court is represented by a fool.

  • JohnK


    I really don’t think that Mark Steyn had the money to hire a lawyer to defend him, whereas Mann was bearing no legal costs at all (how?). So I don’t think he had the choice but to represent himself. As he has said before, the process is the punishment.

  • Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

    Mann admitted that he has not paid any legal fees, and “was not sure” that he has any obligation to pay legal fees. So his legal costs have been paid by sycophantic supporters of the ‘global warming’ narrative.

    Meanwhile Mark Steyn obstinately refused to accept any crowd funding or external support, and had to represent himself. I quite sure that had he set up a ‘Go Fund Me’ he would have received substantial assistance. I would have donated.

    The punitive damage award probably will not stand. SCOTUS has made it clear that punitives should not exceed a single digit multiple of the actual damages. So $9.00 would be maximally appropriate.

    And there is also the possiblity that Williams political ejaculation during closing, and the Judge’s failed re-charge to the jury warrants a mistrial ruling. Would Mann want to go again with the jury result of $1.00 as his expected future result? Don’t think so.
    But we will have to wait and see.

  • Paul Marks

    Why do they lie so easily?

    And “they” clearly includes the ordinary establishment people, such as the jury, as well as the despicable political and corporate (Credit Money Corporate) leadership.

    They lie about inflation figures, they lie about historic temperature figures (blatantly changing them – as if people did not keep the original records and see what they are doing), they lied about Covid – smearing Early Treatments that could have saved many lives and pushing toxic “vaccines” that have injured and killed so many people.

    And, yes, they lie when serving on juries – finding the innocent guilty and finding the guilty innocent (and they know what they are doing – it is not an intellectual mistake).

    They lie so easily because of Pragmatist philosophy and Progressive politics.

    According to Pragmatist philosophy there is no objective truth, including no objective moral truth (no objective right and wrong) only the will-of-the-community (the sort of “community” that responded with hatred, yes hatred, to doctors saving lives during Covid – because the rebel medical doctors “divided the community”) – and this leads to Progressive politics, which holds that only thing matters – POWER.

    When facing such being on a jury it is pointless to appeal to their moral conscience – because they either have no moral conscience, or they have crushed so utterly that it buried so far that it can not be reached.

    I repeat this is not an isolated case – leftists on juries have behaved like this again-and-again-and-again.

    That is why leftists want trials (Civil and Criminal) to be held in the cities were so many of their kind live.

  • Paul Marks

    Perry – no it has nothing with Mr Steyn representing himself, we know that because juries of such people have behaved in the same way many times before, when the conservative on trial is NOT representing themselves.

    Staghounds – this is why the trial was held where it was, Washington D.C. (although the suburbs around it are just as bad). “Spent much time with D.C. juries have you?” – I can read election results and that the D.C< area is 90% Democrat, if you think that a conservative can get a fair trial from a jury made up of their enemies – then you are mistaken.

    The same reason that the trial of the man for the joke internet meme was held in New York City, a city he does not live in (he lived no where near the place).

    The left picks places where there are many of their kind – they do this because their kind (leftists) judge cases on political grounds.

    Although they do indulge in added measures – for example the leftist judges in New York City asked questions to would-be jury members, those questions (such as "do you think the 2020 election was fair?") were clearly designed to weed out Trump supporters.

    As for this trial – if Staghounds can show me that half the jury were conservatives, rejecting the C02 is evil theory – and so on, before the trial started – then he has a point.

    If the jury were Washington Post vermin before the trial started – then the verdict was inevitable.

    I would remind people, yet again, that leftist juries have sent people to prison for murder (knowing they will be abused and, most likely, killed in prison) KNOWING that no murder has taken place.

    And, no, the accused were not representing themselves.

  • Paul Marks

    The facts of this case are simple.

    Michael Mann is a lying fraudster – his “Hockey Stick” is a fraud, that was revealed by Climate Gate years ago.

    The jury knew this very well – but they hate truth and they hate justice, because they are establishment types. I can predict right now (“know much about D.C. juries do you?”) that the jury was made up of people who also supported the Covid lockdown, supported the smearing of Early Treatment, and supported the toxic “vaccines”, as well as supporting the C02 is evil theory – because all these things are the “will of the community” and to oppose anything is to “divide the community”.

    Ask any member of this jury (“know much about D.C. juries do you?” – or urban Minnesota juries, the sort of people who voted for Larry Ellison to be Attorney General of Minnesota) if Mr George Floyd was murdered and they will say “yes he was!” – even though they know (they know) that Mr Floyd died of the drugs he willingly consumed, there-was-no-murder.

    Similar juries (“know much about D.C. juries do you?”) have convicted people (knowing they will be sent prison for many years – to be tortured and abused) for January 6th 2021 offenses, who-were-not-even-there.

    There can be no reasoning with such juries. Not because they do not know the truth – but because they do know the truth, and hate truth, just as they hate justice.

  • Paul Marks

    The first step to defeating evil people is to understand that they are evil.

    Hiding behind stuff such as “Mr Steyn said the wrong thing” or “he should not have represented himself” makes defeat certain.

    This is not an isolated case – and such juries have behaved like this in many (many) cases, when the person did NOT represent themselves.

  • JohnK


    The facts are that Michael Mann suffered no damage whatsoever as a result of this “defamation”. He was promoted to an Ivy League university, his research grants continued to roll in, his books continued to be published. He just can’t accept any criticism. He is therefore not a proper scientist.

    So since he suffered nothing, not even having to pay his legal costs, then the whole basis of the trial was moot. The judge should have stopped the proceedings. So I agree with you. Mark Steyn could have had the finest lawyers in the land, and he would still have lost before a DC jury, which is exactly why Mann chose to bring suit in DC. He was never going to file the case in Texas was he?

    The fix was in from the first day Mann filed his case in DC.

  • David Levi

    Hiding behind stuff such as “Mr Steyn said the wrong thing” or “he should not have represented himself” makes defeat certain.

    Doesn’t change the reality that Steyn said the wrong things and representing himself was a terrible idea. Not accepting THAT is what makes defeat certain. It’s not enough to fight the good fight, you have to fight smart in ways that’ll win on the battlefield you find yourself on.

  • I sneeze in threes

    As Mann won, are the defendants on the hook for Mann’s legal fees?

  • As Mann won, are the defendants on the hook for Mann’s legal fees?

    I don’t think it works that way in USA, does it?

  • Paul Marks

    It is Keith Ellison, not “Larry Ellison” (my mistake) that the leftists voted for as Attorney General of Minnesota – vote for because-of (not in spite of) his hatred of justice.

  • Paul Marks

    To recap…

    Michael Mann is a lying fraudster.

    The jury knew this – and found for him because they are fellow leftists who hate truth and hate justice, that is why the trial was held in a leftist area, where there would be many such beings for the jury.

    Juries in leftist areas often behave like this – in both Civil and Criminal trials (including murder trials), they knowingly side with lies. The agenda of power is what matters to them – as they are Pragmatists in philosophy and Progressives in politics – such juries will happily (for example) send innocent people to prison for murder knowing (and enjoying the knowledge) that such innocent people will be tortured and abused in prison.

    It is nothing, in principle, to do with Mr Steyn representing himself – although his standing up against the evil of the jury may indeed have made them hate him more than they would have hated someone who was submissive. They would still have found against him, as they hate truth and hate justice (the trial was deliberately held in an area where people hate truth and hate justice), but the damages might not have been so high.

    As Mr Steyn will never pay damages, be they one million Dollars or one Dollar, the level of the damages is not really relevant to him.

    Mr Steyn understands (even if some people on this comment thread do not) that peaceful coexistence, in the same society, with people with the world-view of the sort of people who make up the jury in leftist areas (people who actively hate truth – hate justice, people who are the products of the education system and the “mainstream” media) is not possible.

    To defeat evil people one must first grasp that they are evil – not cling to the false hope that one can reason with them, or appeal to their moral conscience.

  • Y. Knott

    “When some 60-year-old matron of the bourgeoisie says to you “Well, we just should have shot him and hid the body, ‘stead of callin’ the cops…”, and you’re pretty sure she’s sincere? and, When enough reach the conclusion and act on that, followed by a mass realization, à la Timisoara, that they’re far from alone in these changed attitudes and conclusions?”

    Around here, it’s called “Shoot, shovel, shut-up”; and yes, it’s a’ comin’. In my VERY-white-at-the-moment Great White North, our prime minister has told us peons (on television, and I saw and heard him do it) that “We Canadians must realize that we have no right to defend themselves with firearms”. This filled me with ‘maze, being old-fashioned in such matters whereby if I gotta’ defend myself, I’ll use whatever is to-hand; and if it’s a firearm, my assailant is gonna’ get shot. This under two general principles: 1) somebody stupid enough to assail me when I’ve got a gun, had it coming and is no loss to the human (?) race (?), and 2) it’s better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.

    But I was trying to figure-out where that vapid man got this awesomely idiotic statement; and only recently did the answer resolve itself in my head. I also saw said prime minister on television, telling us Canadians all about “The Great Reset” he was going to benefit (read, “inflict”) the country with; and I’ve come to realize that both of these have “WEF” stamped all over them, and he’s merely parroting the revealed wisdom of his intellectual masters, Klaus Schwab and Karl Marx. But we’re stuck with him, for at least two more years.

    Denninger put it well: “If you think it’s time, grab your rifle and head out the door. If you’re the only one out there, IT’S NOT TIME.”

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