Sabra Woodworth: Language and Defamation

This is a spectacular defense of Don Staniford and his activist warnings against the dangers of slamon farming on the BC coast.

Sabra Woodworth dissects and demolishes the case Cermaq is attempting to make using both the scapel of logic and the rapier of precise distinctions of concepts and words.

A joy to read. She is not yet a massive blogger, but one good Post is better than tonnage without substance.

For example:

Mainstream has chosen to identify itself as the central target of those statements even though Mr. Staniford has not singled out the company specifically … To ignore or deny or exclude the defendant’s general meaning is to change the defendant’s meaning.  To argue that a general meaning is a specific meaning is to make nonsense of language.

She concludes:

The “worst of the worst” comparisons of the salmon feedlot industry with the tobacco industry, along with other likenesses (witness the denial strategies, the avoidance of scientific disclosure, the history of claims of no harm from lice or disease or escaped Atlantics) must be considered “fair comment” on the circumstances we face, and do not constitute injurious harm to any specific salmon farmer or salmon farming company.  The plaintiff’s construction of a “sting” has relied on excluding extensive literal evidence while insisting on misinterpreting or confusing figurative language meanings for literal meanings.

Let us hope the judge reads this letter.


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