Thursday, February 3, 2011

No Story Is So Bad That You Can't Make It Worse

City Paper Illustration by Brooke Hatfield
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has his feelings hurt.

Three months ago, an obscure tabloid, the Washington City Paper, ran a length story describing Snyder  as an avaricious doofus hell-bent on over charging fans while destroying the competitive capabilities of a once-proud franchise.

We live in the Washington, DC area and are big sports fans -- but we never saw or heard about the story when it ran the week before Thanksgiving.

Rather than letting the matter go, Snyder opted to pursue a tactic similar to one he uses with running his football team -- tinker with things and make them worse.

Snyder has elected to sue the newspaper's owners claiming that City Paper got at least four facts wrong in its 60+ alphabetized entries about the Snyder's many past fumbles.  Snyder also seems to think that an illustration of him in the article with devil's horns and a beard in somehow anti-Semitic.

In correspondence with the paper's owners in November, Snyder's attorneys made clear that he has more financial resources than they do -- hinting that he can ruin them if they try to defend the article. City Paper seems to be intent on defending their actions.

Snyder's actions are monumentally dumb. With one bungled play he has ensured that millions of new readers will see the lengthy list of allegations against him -- the vast majority of which are not in dispute.

As a result of the law suit, Snyder has caused many news organizations with greater visibility and circulation than the City Paper to inform their readers about the initial allegations.  Today's Washington Post contains a devastating skewering of Snyder by in-house humorist Gene Weingarten.

There are times when a public figure is badly treated in the press and that person will  be well-advised to fight back.  This is clearly not such a case.  If he has an ounce of sense, Snyder will drop the lawsuit immediately.  The record (neatly summarized by the City Paper article) suggests that he does not.



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