Fights with the Media


A newspaper once held the front page, “Local priest arrested for child pornography”.  Except for publishing the wrong priest’s picture, it was a great scoop.  The editor apologised immediately and was forgiven (save for judgement day when he will probably get it in the neck). 
 When you get your fifteen minutes of fame, will the newspaper editor apologise to you immediately?  Answer: probably not.

Your attempts to explain catapult your picture (the correct one) with defamatory comment onto the front page.
 Even your spouse finds the criticism a little harsh, which shows you just how bad it is.
 You see your lawyer.  He is outraged and advises you to burn down the newspaper office and run the editor out of town on a rail.  But you insist on using the law.  Disappointed, he writes a letter to the newspaper and a lawyer responds offering you the chance to put forward your side of the story.  You are reminded of your attempts to explain so far.  You threaten and then commence legal proceedings for defamation, but after 6 months or a year, a grudging apology is made, which you accept to get on with your life.  A victory of sorts.  Newspapers rely on most people giving up.
 As an alternative, often there is usually a media industry body which will deal with complaints against their members.  Often, there is mediation and if that does not work a hearing.  There may not be any financial penalty, but usually the decision is published on their website and it is cheap. 
 A worldwide alternative is to let it pass and six months later you probably will feel a little better.

Extract from "The Art of War, Peace & Palaver: The Contentious Guide to Legal Disputes" 


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