Detroit News wins free speech lawsuit

Nov 2, 2017

Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A conservative radio host lost his fight against the Detroit News today. The Michigan Court of Appeals said associating The Political Cesspool host, James Edwards, with the Ku Klux Klan is protected opinion speech.

The newspaper’s columnist Bankole Thompson wrote an opinion piece where he said:

"Of particular note to some in the Jewish community is the unprecedented support the Trump campaign has received among white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and its leaders like James Edwards, David Duke and Thomas Robb, the national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Arkansas."

James said he has never been a leader or a member of the Klan. The paper later issued a clarification by removing “its” from the text. But James wasn’t satisfied. He sued the paper for defamation and other causes of action.

In its opinion, the court quoted Aesop saying, “A man is known by the company he keeps.” The court said because Edwards publicly associated with members of the Klan and publicly shared their beliefs, he couldn’t claim defamation for being associated with them.