Clinton Assistant Sidney Blumenthal and his wife seek compensation for a story written by Internet Journalist Matt Drudge slandering the couple. The story was based on Blumenthal abusing his wife. The couple filed a complaint requesting $30,000,001 in damages and included AOL in the suit for being the online service publishing Drudge’s story. April 22, 1998 AOL was dismissed from the case. The case has been sedentary since April of 1999 and a verdict for Drudge v. Blumenthal was never decided.
I found this case to be quite interesting. Especially because the allegations made in Drudge’s article based on the Blumenthals were never revealed as being true. I feel Blumenthal’s only justification for his lawsuit was the information he dispersed that also was never explained by Blumenthal. The amount Blumenthal asked for was also outrageous. The punishment he set forth did not fit the crime and there for he lost his case against AOL.
The dismissal of AOL’s case was suitable for this case. I believe Drudge was exercising his right of freedom of speech and if the information was accurate it was not slandering the couple. Drudge also wrote an article on the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal and published it on his website, the Drudge Report. It was one of his signature issues. It wouldn’t have been fair to rule in favor of Clinton had this issue gone to the courts because his article was factual.
The internet should take no blame for this occurrence. The issue was personal for Blumenthal and between the Blumenthals and Drudge. However I found it interesting that AOL did break a law when publishing Drudge’s work. They failed to abide section 230 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This law “bars claims against “interactive computer services” (such as AOL) for “information provided by another content provider” (such as Drudge),” according to the techlawjournal website. I still agree with the ruling for Blumenthal v AOL and had the Blumenthal v Drudge case continued I would rule in favor of Drudge.