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Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College coverage — One of our finest hours

Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College coverage — One of our finest hours

Reminds me of our coverage of the Scott Brown 2010 win — everyone in the world was shocked, except for Legal Insurrection readers who were following our on-the-ground reporting.

The Gibson’s Bakery massive verdict against Oberlin College has sparked incredible reader excitement, and brought many new readers to Legal Insurrection.

I’ve spent the last week trying to absorb what is happening. The reactions to the compensatory and punitive damage verdicts remind me of only a few times in Legal Insurrection’s almost 11-year history.

There was the Republican recapture of the House in 2010 and Trump victory of 2016 that captured reader lightning in a bottle. But those were more national phenomena, and Legal Insurrection was not at the center of it.

Certainly the excitement also reminds me of Scott Walker’s Recall victory in June 2012, when we lit fireworks and music for the first time. It was Oh what a night:

What a night last night was….

Almost 20,000 people viewed the live feed during the 4 hours it was live.

I hope everyone enjoyed the fireworks display and music. We had fireworks firing off and exploding over the blog posts and music playing in the background, including John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Lee Greenwood singing God Bless The USA, and Kate Smith singing God Bless America.

We were more involved in covering the Recall fight, with exhaustive coverage of Wisconsin’s long, strange trip, but we were not at the center of it.

Perhaps our coverage of the Zimmerman trial comes closer, where Andrew Branca’s live trial coverage became the go-to place, earning us attention, new readers, and much praise, including from Don West. But again, the Zimmerman case was the focus of national media attention, to a fault.

In thinking through all the possibilities, I’d say the Gibson’s Bakery case came closest to Scott Brown’s January 2010 victory over Martha Coakely in the Massachusetts Senate primary. At that time, this was a solo blog on Google Blogger. Simpler times. We wouldn’t get a second author until the following November.

It was just me pounding the keyboard alone among the blogosphere trying to get attention to what was happening, that I was seeing things on the ground in Massachusetts that told me Brown was surging. On December 9, 2009, I told people to Watch Massachusetts Senate Race.

In late December 2009, we turned the website “All Scott Brown all the time.” Legal Insurrection readers saw things unfold long before the mainstream media and political world caught on.

By the time the polls revealed in January that Brown was behind only by single digits, we were the go-to place, and the readership was ecstatic. When he won, I called it What A Day:

Yesterday was an amazing day, and not just because Scott Brown won (although that helped).

Yesterday was the first “live” blogging event here. 21,432 people participated in the live event, generating 5,402 reader comments. There were almost 70,000 visits to the site, which used to be a pretty good month.

The energy was tremendous…. When we signed off just after 11 p.m., we still had almost 900 people on the feed. Here are some of the reactions to Brown’s win earlier in the night….

The Brown victory was special because we were there first. We were covering a race everyone else had written off. We were sounding the siren, and Legal Insurrection readers were far ahead of the rest of the country in seeing what was happening. It was, in many ways, our finest hour.

The Gibson’s Bakery verdict may be another of our finest hours. It wasn’t me alone, and this is a more complicated place than it used to be.

But again, we were ahead of the curve, following the case starting with the initial protests, and then through the pretrial proceedings when most of the media had moved on. Our trial coverage, with Daniel McGraw inside the courtroom, reminded me of our Scott Brown coverage — on the ground reporting far outpacing the national media.

Once again, Legal Insurrection readers were far ahead of the rest of the world. When the $11 million compensatory verdict broke, the rest of the media expressed shock. But we knew that at least a big verdict was a strong possibility, we understood what the jury heard, and we knew something was happening there, even if what it was wasn’t exactly clear.

Even after the compensatory verdict, the national media didn’t pay a lot of attention. But we did, and you did. Reader interest and new readership grew, particularly after my Wall Street Journal Op-Ed.

When the punitive verdict came down we were the place to go, and we’ve been linked to hundreds of times. Our Punitive Damage Verdict post has been shared tens of thousands of times on social media, and we are widely linked and credited by other outlets finally getting to the story.

The victory of the ordinary men and women of Gibson’s Bakery over the smug, dismissive, arrogant higher ed bureaucrats and their social justice warrior troops is a large part of the reader reaction. It was the deplorables prevailing, once again, and I don’t mean that politically.

It will be months, maybe years, before we know if the verdicts hold up, and if the Gibsons get paid. Regardless, I’ll still view our Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College coverage as one of our finest hours, maybe our finest.

[Featured Image: Allyn W. Gibson at trial][Photo credit Bob Perkoski for Legal Insurrection Foundation]

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Comments

Great to see decent, hard-working people rewarded. You, and the Gibsons. You are justified in your assessment. LI will continue to thrive & expand its influence. Of that, I have no doubt. All the best to you and the entire LI family of contributors.

Ya did good and the MSM missed it completely

    barbara in reply to Aggie9595. | June 15, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    “the MSM missed it completely” ON PURPOSE.

      Honu in reply to barbara. | June 16, 2019 at 10:09 am

      I wrote to the NYT after their biased reporting of the initial $11M award. The NYT sided with Oberlin and minimized the facts (shoplifting, admitted guilt of the students, defamation) and made it seem like an attack on free speech (the brilliant Oberlin defense strategy). The NYT reporting on the punitive damages verdict was a bit more objective, but still minimized key aspects of the case. It will not change – MSM = colleges = leftists.

        Silvertree in reply to Honu. | June 16, 2019 at 9:18 pm

        And here’s the incredible spin from The Atlantic:

        “On November 9, 2016, three black students at Oberlin College made a late-afternoon trip to Gibson’s Bakery, a small, family-owned business near campus that has been serving the community at its present location since 1905. Like countless undergraduates of all races, classes, genders, and generations, they hoped to leave with alcohol but weren’t yet of age to purchase it legally.

        A fake ID was produced and rejected.

        In the moments that followed, Allyn Gibson, the owner’s son, would try to keep the fake ID, pursue the male student who had used it as he fled to the back of the store, chase him into the street yelling “Shoplifter!,” and detain him, even as the other students, who were women, attempted to intervene on behalf of their friend. Soon, Oberlin police arrived and arrested the three undergraduates. A police report accused them of trying to shoplift two bottles of wine. Many classmates jumped to the conclusion that they’d been mistreated and launched protests almost immediately.

        …….

        Later, when the male student was charged with felony robbery rather than shoplifting, even as his fake ID suggested at the very least that his initial intent had been to make a purchase, many at Oberlin perceived a miscarriage of justice and wondered whether race had played a role in the charging decision. That, too, is easy to understand.”

        from a longer opinion piece (the author eventually sides with Gibson’s)

        Verdict Against Oberlin College and Public Shaming – The Atlantic
        https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/the-publicly-shamed-sue-oberlin-college-verdict/591379/

    RITaxpayer in reply to Aggie9595. | June 16, 2019 at 3:48 am

    Even when they finally DID report on it, they got the gist of the trial wrong.

danvillemom | June 15, 2019 at 8:55 pm

A faithful reader since the Scott Walker days….you are part of my morning reading material. Many thanks for all the excellent work that you and your team provide every day.

9thDistrictNeighbor | June 15, 2019 at 9:00 pm

I suppose fireworks and the happy dinosaur would be rubbing it in.

LukeHandCool | June 15, 2019 at 9:07 pm

Two things I knew:

1: I knew you’d be Tucker Carlson’s go-to guy on this. You should be the go-to guy for all the media outlets on this.

2: I knew my wife would say something admiringly about you when she saw you with Tucker. “Bill’s cool,” she said. Bill can do no wrong in her eyes. Oh, brother.

Coverage of this trial was outstanding!

You are really breaking out on the National Scene and I can’t be happier for you!

Being the only one who cared to cover it and having it possibly evolve into a landmark case in the defense of civility and free speech puts you on the map in a big way. You didn’t just cover it, you captured the what made the case so monumentally important and served as the only voice for truth. There is no other place to go for people who want to know what happened. The road leads straight to LI and only LI.

Now if we could parlay this win with a renewed sense of optimism in Nick Sandman’s fight against the media. He CAN win! Oberlin may have helped.

bob aka either orr | June 15, 2019 at 9:39 pm

Professor, kudos to you and to Dan McGraw. You two nailed it.

Regrettably, Scott turned out to be a toady for John Kerry and betrayed everyone who trusted him to represent the conservative interest.

He has since moved on to New Hampshire. I don’t miss him, at all. He was never here for those of us in Massachusetts who have NO representation in elected government.

    Massinsanity in reply to NotKennedy. | June 16, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    I think you are being unfair to Scott. He was one of the few conservative voices speaking out for the tax payers of MA when he was a state senator from Wrentham.

    He parlayed that position into a shocking upset, albeit of one of the great losers in the MA Democrat party history in Martha (don’t call me Marsha) Coakley. He then had to deal with the full weight of unhinged Warren supporters in government and the local and national media during is re-election fight against the liar from Oklahoma and I think it left him bruised and battered.

    In the end he was a bit of a disappointment but his victory over Coakley was pure delight for me and many others in 2010.

Yes, Professor, your reporting, analysis, and emotional support for the Gibsons was magnificent, and it contributed to the astonishing, dare I say, “miraculous” verdict which these good people received.

But I must CHIDE YOU, gently, and I DARE ASK YOU TO OPEN YOUR EYES, AND UNSTOP YOUR EARS, AND MAKE YOUR HEART RECEPTIVE TO A FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH: This verdict, this victory, this “message” was due, overwhelmingly, to intervention of a Supreme Being; the powers of Heaven; and the Lord’s grace.

Please set aside your (considerable) legal training; your breadth of experience; your powers of mind and speech and GIVE GLORY TO GOD–who led the Gibsons and their defenders through enormous peril and UNENDING OPPOSITION, to win justice, and not only a return of their honor, but also FAIR DAMAGES FOR UNCONSCIONABLE, AND VISCOUS LIES AND DECEITS. That same Deity who found in this noble family faith and virtue worthy of His care and tender mercy WILL PRESERVE THEIR WIN. IT WILL HAPPEN. Yes, we must wait, but we wait with FAITH, SEEING WITH OUR HEARTS AND OUR SOULS THOSE FURTHER VINDICATIONS WHICH WILL BE MADE. Heed Isaiah 41:9-13.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.
Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.
For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”

God guided Judge Miraldi in his rulings; he guided Lee Plakas and his OUTSTANDING TEAM throughout the dispute; GOD SPOKE TO THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE JURORS and led them to render a VERDICT SUPPORTED BY THE LAW AS APPLIED TO THE ADMISSIBLE FACTS. The jury was not “inflamed”; it did not “go rogue”–it fulfilled its sacred duty in a state whose motto remains: “With God all things are possible.”

And that same God will remain (unseen BUT NOT UNKNOWN) to the many believers beyond Ohio, even beyond the USA, who will continue their prayers and fasts and petitions that a PROPER VERDICT WILL BE SUSTAINED THROUGH EVERY LEVEL OF APPEAL.

Plaintiffs sought conciliation at every turn; they were willing to accept SO LITTLE; and their DECENCY AND GOOD WILL WERE THROWN BACK IN THEIR FACES. Please, PLEASE, after being a stalwart supporter for so long, DO NOT BEGIN TO DOUBT EITHER THE JUSTICE OF THE VERDICT or the Plaintiffs’ continued future success. Please ask your supporters to pray in their own way, and as they see fit, that PLAINTIFFS “KEEP THE WIN”. Please ignore the braying a$$es of the ENEMEDIA. Disregard the vain sophistries of Oberlins’ so-called “leaders”. VISUALIZE VICTORY…and in the Lord’s due time, the Gibsons’ shall reap their proper reward for lives lived in honesty and service and FAITH.

    alaskabob in reply to counsel4pay. | June 15, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    These days we are battling principalities and powers that promise to overwhelm us. Considering how radical the departure the Left is experiencing, it wouldn’t too much of a stretch to wonder if a vail of darkness has enveloped them.

      Silvertree in reply to alaskabob. | June 16, 2019 at 1:03 am

      All is not lost, Alaska Bob…. just found this marvelous parody video of Oberlin students spoofing Oberlin students. Think I will take my ball and go home now, happy.????

      ????????????❤️????????????

      ????????????????????????????

      Watch guys and gals, while you can!

      Oberlin choir responds to the Christina Sommers controversy
      https://youtu.be/fxCSy7tpUME

        Silvertree in reply to Silvertree. | June 16, 2019 at 10:55 am

        No, looks like it isn’t Oberlin students singing. How I wish it were. Yes, I knew it wasn’t the college choir as posted, but thought maybe it was some little bunch of students getting together. Looks like no, not at all, it’s only others parodying them.

    Silvertree in reply to counsel4pay. | June 16, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    It’s a very important point that those of us who are praying people should not now become complacent in our prayers. It may be that the toughest battles are only now beginning.

    otto b. alaw in reply to counsel4pay. | June 16, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    I dare ask you to lose your caps lock key. It’s so tiresome and detracts from your message. The reader will determine the important parts, if any.
    Your randomness is hard to follow and your preachiness falls on deaf ears after a few sentences of sermonizing causing a reader to move on.
    Look up the definition of brevity.

Although I read your blog every day, I was mezmerized by your coverage of this case. You were spot on in your analysis of the legal issues, and you predicted the strategy of Oberlin almost perfectly. You gave a real human face to the suffering meted out by the college.

You deserve recognition for a job well done. I hope the rest of the media recognize this.

    Tom Servo in reply to rochf. | June 16, 2019 at 9:25 am

    And the continuing analysis and explanation is especially important now that Oberlin and their media allies have now decided to portray this as a “runaway jury” that is trying to penalize “free speech”.

    LI has carefully documented how nothing could be further from the truth.

DouglasJBender | June 15, 2019 at 10:30 pm

Full payment should be rendered pronto, within, say, two months. If they want to challenge that, let them, and see if they can win it back.

I have to agree, watching the development of this saga from the demonstrations to the verdicts was great. I remember when the motions by Oberlin’s attorneys were swatted down by the courts and thought how I rejoiced that the good guys were winning. Thanks for all you did to bring this important trial to our attention.

I smell a well-deserved LI Pulitzer

    RandomCrank in reply to rekorb. | June 16, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    A Pulitzer? Let’s just say this: Don’t hold your breath. Not that you’re wrong, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before they ever even think about doing it.

      MajorWood in reply to RandomCrank. | June 17, 2019 at 11:26 am

      I thought that they only gave Pulitzers for made-up stuff. At least that seemed to be a trend for awhile. I know that Nobel Prizes haven’t been the same since a certain someone got one. Ironic that someone else has done way more for peace in the last 3 years and has only gotten flak for it.

The Friendly Grizzly | June 15, 2019 at 11:03 pm

My only fear is that LI will be one SO well-known that these things end up happening:

1) The comment system becomes so overwhelmed that a plug-in like Disqus or WordPress is brought in, and we get flooded with trolls and those who can’t express themselves without resorting to gutter language.

2) It becomes highly valued to the point some mass consumption outfit like Salem or Clear Channel makes a huge offer. LI gets sold, and the content becomes as flat and fluffy as PJ Media, or post-death Breitbart.

    One of my guilty pleasures on weekends is to find youtube offerings like this on “Who Started the Moon Landing Hoax?”:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SnUaeMuyB0

    and go straight to the nutty comments where the crazies always take over the threads. Pure entertainment. The scary part is that the crazies’ view is close to the majority opinion of Americans. They actually believe the moon landing was an elaborate hoax and that NASA murdered people. The Trump-Russia hoax works because we are surrounded by crazy people.

    Sad to say but comment sections are only useful at the beginning. I don’t know about LI cashing out at some point but once readership explodes, commenting sections become unmanageable. Breitbart is still a daily “must” for me but I stopped commenting on any site using disqus, WordPress or other comment managers. 10,000+ comments and most by bots? What is the point? That’s just the way it is.

    Once the mob gets in the door, it’s utter insanity because we are surrounded by crazy people. But I doubt LI will sell-out. This is the LI Foundation not the Clinton Foundation.

    I really don’t place any importance in being a commenter anyway. It’s kind of a bad habit. But I’ll still be here. I’ll just stop commenting once I know the authors themselves don’t read my comments.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Pasadena Phil. | June 16, 2019 at 9:21 am

      Breitbart’s layout, along with the blinky-flashies, overlays, popups and other annoyances have made it unreadable.

      I am one who believes the moon landing happened. I just didn’t care about it. I still don’t. It was bread and circuses. My contemporaries and former schoolmates were being maimed and killed 10,000 miles away, and for what i still don’t know. But, I was expected to be in awe and wonderment about planting a flag on the moon.

        You need to get an ad blocker and manage your cookies.

        The moon landing in 1969 was one of the very biggest moments in my life. There has to be bold adventure in life to make it worthwhile. I see no point for humanity to be one big ant farm. There has to be a big purpose to life other than just being nice to each other.

        My fear back then was being drafted to fight in a stupid war we weren’t trying to win. Luckily, Nixon cancelled the draft after Congress voted to lose the war. Lots of our soldiers died for nothing more than a big lie. We entered WWII disarmed and won it in 3 1/2 years because we would accept nothing less than unconditional surrender. Today, we send troops on endless missions where nothing is accomplished until we get booted out. If the cause isn’t worth winning a war, then don’t start one. Go all out, end it fast, or stay home.

        Those are server ads and not the site’s. As Phil said, use an adblocker such as Adblock Plus. Then you will see only the ads that benefit the site. You will find them quite manageable.

      Valerie in reply to Pasadena Phil. | June 16, 2019 at 11:46 am

      The Trump-Russia hoax was plausible, because it is exactly what the Democrats did. The Clinton Campaign conspired with the Brits to use dirt they said was from Russia to spy on the Trump Campaign, influence the election and then gin up a Special Counsel investigation as “insurance.”

      At one time, I did not believe that chestnut about how the Democrats accuse others of doing what they are already doing.

        DINORightMarie in reply to Valerie. | June 16, 2019 at 12:42 pm

        BINGO!

        This is what liars ALWAYS do…. Accuse their opponents/enemies of the EXACT THING THEY ARE GUILTY OF DOING!

        You actually can always know what the left has done by their accusations against the right and Republicans. Always. ALWAYS.

Ditto to counsel4pay. All praise and glory to God! Let’s not grow weary in pleading for God’s help in the battle that remains. Much, MUCH prayer has been committed to this not only for the Gibson family but in restoring Oberlin College and all higher education to their original mission: teaching Truth and equipping students to think critically for themselves and live productive lives that honor and glorify God. Sadly, it has moved so very far away from that honorable goal.

I like the fact that this legal blog is picking up allies and lawyers who emphasize legal issues in play. I suggest a few more attorneys and law students will find their way here and to the foundation.

LI put our corrupt MSM to shame. Jacobson deserves a Pulitzer Prize for his work.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to cucha. | June 16, 2019 at 9:24 am

    It is because he did the job the mainstream press wouldn’t do that he won’t get a Pulltzer.

LI deserves to pat itself on the back for its coverage of Gibson’s-Oberlin. Great work, and important work.

I’ve put a half a dozen people onto you since I first logged on about six months ago.

This is journalism. There is so little (I watch, e.g., Tim Pool regularly to get some, but not cable news).

Analysis without spin or narrative.

I remember Court TV. And the OJ Simpson trial. I was one of the few that said he would be found “not guilty”. They said I was silly, but I pointed out the Jury was deciding on what was presented and argued in court, not the media.

I wish there were more that would cover more trials like this, but I think the problem was Oberlin’s hubris – not even letting their insurance company in, and the “stupid jury” memo, while Gibsons just wanted an apology.

“Perhaps our coverage of the Zimmerman trial comes closer, where Andrew Branca’s live trial coverage became the go-to place, earning us attention, new readers, and much praise, including from Don West. But again, the Zimmerman case was the focus of national media attention, to a fault.”
******
My #1 by a slim margin is still LI and Andrew’s coverage of the Zimmerman trial. The trial received massive media and SJW blog coverage but that coverage was contaminated by universal misrepresentation of both the facts of the case and the applicable law. Andrew Branca and LI were likely the only source of the “facts” and law of what was a straight forward case of self defense.

    healthguyfsu in reply to SHV. | June 16, 2019 at 12:26 am

    I first came here because of the Zimmerman trial.

    This was the only place covering it objectively and dissecting all of the details rather than repeating useless tropes and generalizations. The media are repeating the same tired act with the Oberlin trial, but this time they weren’t even bothered enough to pretend like it existed until after the trial was over.

      “The media are repeating the same tired act with the Oberlin trial”
      *****
      Same pattern of behavior…Oberlin “Free Speech”; Zimmerman…Racism and evil “Stand Your Ground”
      Both false narratives that supported the SJW agenda of the day.

      murkyv in reply to healthguyfsu. | June 16, 2019 at 1:13 am

      I too came here during the Zimmerman trial

      It was amazing to watch the blow-by-blow coverage here, complete with video from the courtroom and then leave and see what the major media was saying.

      It was like there must have been 2 different trials going on, because their reporting was 180 degrees from what was happening in the trial covered here

I discovered LI because of Mr. Branca’s coverage. One of the best pieces of journalism in my memory. I donated for his rebuttal of the fake news movie. I will always support important messages such as that. I have not been here long enough to know any of the other historic cases covered. But this is up there with the Zimmerman trial. And it warrants a nother donation. Keep up the good work.

Great work L.I.!
I’m trying to stay positive in thinking that this verdict shows that maybe – just maybe – the worm is starting to turn on the crazy SJW bullies who think they can get away with whatever they want.
I know that this is a tiny victory for the good guys. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Because Cake…

Yum!

At War With HOA | June 16, 2019 at 2:02 am

Mr. Jacobson is great!

Great job LI.

“It was the deplorables prevailing…”

To the elite, normal people = deplorables.

Professor, you and LI must be on the leftist “hit list” as they fear the truth and sunlight more than anything.

I was trying to remember when I came to Legalinsurrection.com, but reading the comments here has jogged my memory. It was during the Zimmerman trial! I have linked to the website numerous times on comment boards around the internet during the Gibson trial, which coverage was exceptional and spot on. The only other site that has done coverage like that was Scott Johnson’s coverage of the Noor trial in Minneapolis at Powerline blog, another of my “go to” websites.

LI is my go to site for legal and political discussion by lawyers and a pretty informed group of laypersons and former law enforcement. LI is the only free site that I contribute to monthly. For some old Scotch-Irish guy, this says everything you need to know.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1139886390706130944.html

This is the threadreader version of the LI twitter thread about Gibson’s Bakery.

It is growing legs in the twitterverse, which is good in a way. The problem is that twitter considers threadreader links as spam…. unbelievable..

Well done!!!

Most excellent coverage of this. Exceeds the already high standards of Legal Insurection. More than deserving daily reading, LI is one of the handful of blogs to be trusted for accurate news and informative opinion. Well done!

I wandered here the first time to get a genuine copy of the “draconian” Arizona Immigration law, in an effort to fact-check the scathing and inept New York Times article (the “lawyer” who wrote the article was using a draft, not the version that passed).

It’s so nice to see competent reporting on stories where the law is important.

In addition to the excellent coverage, I also like coming here to discuss and speculate about how things are going to unfold. That is much easier to do when it is based on accurate reporting and facts. I think a number are amazed that it went this far, and are likely of the opinion that it did because Oberlin, in contrast, seems to have been acting and reacting to stuff which never happened. It is just so obvious that they took a false narrative and ran with it, to the the point of where they are so far down the road that they can no longer see that it was false from the start. That is truly sad. I am trying to relate this whole event to my mantra “never ascribe to malice that easily explained by stupidity.” Initially, some may have acted out of stupidity by not having the facts, but it is clear that it soon crossed over to malice. What worries me is that the malice has now persisted for so long and against so much accumulating evidence of the misguided nature of the malice that we simply have crossed into an area where “mental illness” is the only suitable explanation for these continuing events. I may have related that I once had to engage a lawyer in a family matter, and my takeaway message from him is that one in nineteen people are mentally ill, and that one person is responsible for 90% of the active litigation. Most reasonable people settle, the mentally ill don’t. Not only is Oberlin not able to see that they have lost, and will continue to lose, but they have even lost sight of having started something that was none of their business in the first place. It is entirely of their own doing. Perhaps their true defense is us just shaking our heads and walking away in frustration. When SNL started, we thought that Emily Litella was a brilliant sketch. I think, though, that today’s “woke” fans would be shaking their heads in agreement with her. Still waiting for someone at Oberlin to say, “Oh, that’s very different. Never mind.”

    rekorb in reply to MajorWood. | June 16, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    It’s almost as if the entire Oberlin elite administration has a combined learning disability from constantly hanging around and patting each other on the back and constantly reinforcing their false narrative

    Silvertree in reply to MajorWood. | June 16, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    We were wrong. We’re sorry.

    How much the world would change, could the president of Oberlin College utter those two simple phrases.

DINORightMarie | June 16, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Kudos, as always Professor! Impeccable coverage of a groundbreaking, essential case and ruling.

And, may I also applaud you and your team for the INCREDIBLE Twitter thread on this, the excerpts with the basic facts, key points from each day, over several days, exposing the deep wound this caused to the Gibsons, the malicious disregard the Oberlin administrators have toward all who don’t think like them, and the masterful way the Gibsons’ lawyer handled the case!!

Brilliant, as always, and on multiple platforms!! Bravo to you Professor, and to the entire LI team!

Massinsanity | June 16, 2019 at 1:25 pm

I don’t think I found LI until 2011 so I am disappointed to have missed your coverage of Scott Brown’s victory as I had a front row seat for that one here in MA.

When I read the headline I immediately thought of Branca’s coverage of the Zimmerman trial and several other contested shootings, your brilliant coverage of Scott Walker and the offenses committed in the recall effort and your ongoing exposure of the roots of BDS/the repulsive Linda Sarsour, etc.

All that said, in term of the depth and breadth of the coverage I do believe Oberlin vs. Gibson’s is your finest hour… to date.

Keep up the great work!

Daniel McGraw | June 16, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Thanks for all the nice comments on our coverage. As the person in the courtroom daily, this was tough to do, and part of the reason no one else was doing it. Secondly, we covered it as what it was/is, not “what we wished it was/is.” Media has a hard time doing that these days. Third, this was a case that was quite a bit of square pegs in round holes, and that is also tough for the media to do — both right and left leaning media. They all want instant gratification, stuff that feeds their reader/viewers beasts, and covering this wasn’t like that. Lastly, we had it right, and I’m most proud of that. If we had reported that Oberlin College was getting its ass kicked in court and the jury came back with a verdict of $100,000 for the Gibson’s, we’ve have had to hang our head in shame. But we reported consistently–for six straight weeks — that Oberlin College was getting its ass kicked daily, and the jury came back with $44 mill + verdicts. That’s what we are most proud of and I encourage y’all to support in any possible was such journalism that gives you what is (and even if you don’t like what is), not what people wish it is. That’s what journalism used to be, but what we did with this case.

    Enjoyed reading your great reporting, thanks!

    Yes thank you Daniel. I was not even aware of this whole incident until somehow I came across LI probably a day or two after the trial started. Then I went back to catch up and I was hooked. You and LI gave a real picture of not only what was going on but the backdrop (e. g. long history of Gibson’s), making it feel like we were right in the courtroom with you. It is a very sad commentary on American media when none of the “prestigious” – or formerly prestigious – publications like the NYT and WaPo either cannot or will not undertake honest forthright journalism like this.

I agree LI did an incredible job on its coverage and cut through the bias of other outlets and basically gave us the Jack Webb edition (“just the facts”).

The next stop will be watching Oberlin trying to appeal when there is no legal error to base it on.

Indeed. Don’t ‘rest on laurels’, as it were.

Even “The Hill” picked it up.

For a small group of bloggers, none of which ever went to Columbia Journalism School, no doubt, you guys make the finest investigative reporters in all of America at the moment. Congratulations.

DouglasJBender | June 16, 2019 at 3:27 pm

I hereby declare a new journalism prize, extremely prestigious: The Bender Prize for Excellence in Journalism. And I am proud to announce that Legal Insurrection, in particular William Jacobson and Dan McGraw, is the first recipient of this illustrious award. There will be no financial gifts, or valuable trophies, or even gift-cards to a nice restaurant, however. For now, your reward will just be the knowledge that if I had such resources, you would receive them. Congratulations.

Really good case, interesting details and an IMPORTANT win in these times… I started reading LI years ago – after Obummer was elected, I was shocked and dismayed at the many, many illegal ‘acts’ of his ‘administration’. I started blogging just to vent. But I wasn’t very good at it. I also found out how BAD the ‘mainstream’ media is – and many blogs – who spew propaganda, lies and disinformation. There’s a lot of junk out there being pushed as ‘truth’ that isn’t (as we allllll well know…)

Anyway, I looked around for sane, fact based Legal blogs/news sites – LI was a breath of fresh truthful air! And I am daily reader.

Thanks very much for your continuously interesting and important daily posts.

Cheers from loyal reader, Ex-Illinois girl living in Auckland…

RandomCrank | June 16, 2019 at 5:41 pm

I’m not nearly as conservative as many of this site’s commenters, but I find “progressive” arrogance and hypocrisy annoying and increasingly dangerous to everyone’s freedom — oddly enough, including their own, because what you do to others will eventually be done to you.

I am only an occasional reader of Legal Insurrection, so I was completely unaware of the level of interest that this site had taken in the case. In fact, I was unaware of the case at all until the jury rendered its compensatory damages verdict.

So, last night, I spent an hour or two reading through prior postings. Congrats to Mr. Jacobsen and his team. I am a former professional journalist from a time when there really were standards, and in journalism school studied the law of mass communications.

After reading this blog and other accounts, I concluded that Oberlin committed a textbook case of defamation. Not only that, but I am truly baffled that no one there was made to realize it. They could have sidestepped all of this so easily by apologizing and privately mitigating the damages they did.

Apart from the outrageous substance of what Oberlin did to that bakery, they deserve to pay the entire damages + legal fees strictly on the grounds of their stupidity. I can have a certain grudging respect for wrongdoing, but I grant no quarter to abject idiocy. Be wrong and we can deal with that. Be stupid about it, and God help you.

RandomCrank | June 16, 2019 at 5:49 pm

One other thing: I hope you are correct in predicting that Oberlin will have to pay all of the compensatory damages + at least two-thirds of the punitives + legal fees that will likely equal the rest of the punitives. I also hope you’re correct to suggest that it won’t be covered by insurance.

As a reporter, I made some mistakes. One of them was pretty serious, and when the target of my unfair story appeared in our newsroom, with no prompting from anyone I told them that I realized how wrong I’d been, and that if my editors would agree, I’d like to write a follow-up that would detail their side of the dispute, and that if the editors went along, it would be displayed just as prominently as the original.

I look back and cringe at the first article I wrote, but draw satisfaction from how I handled the aftermath. (And yes, the editors were happy to do it, and it was done.) Journalists WILL screw up, being human. The biggest question, in most cases, is what happens next.

Oberlin appears not to have a shred of integrity. They made their bed, and left it in a mess. Let ’em lie in it. Sleep well, Oberlin, and good luck. You’ll need it.

    JLSpeidel in reply to RandomCrank. | June 17, 2019 at 10:29 am

    Far too many people are willing to admit their mistakes. Pride goes before the fall. Congrats on keeping your integrity!

      RandomCrank in reply to JLSpeidel. | June 18, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      Speaking of mistakes, I think you meant “far too few.” Ha ha, as I’ve gotten older my copy editing skills have also gone to hell.

You know, it’s gonna become scary to become the focus of LI reporting. So far, there are two heads on the spike: Fauxcahontas and Oberlin.

LI truly deserves to be the “go to” site for cases like this. Well done!

A job well done from the beginning to the end so far. As a retired lawyer, I appreciated the coverage of the legal issues. As a former journalist, I appreciated the coverage of the legal issues in language lay readers could understand. The writing was clear and concise, not dumbed down, and opinion was stated as such. The size of the damages award may have been a surprise, but any LI reader could have predicted the verdict itself.

Others have noted that calling someone as a “racist” today is similar to calling someone a “communist” 65 years ago. In some ways, that’s true, but post-2013 SJW logic makes the “racist” label worse. Based on the multi-day training sessions I have attended on White Privilege, Racism, etc. here’s the difference.

The essential component that many non-SJWs can’t grasp is that, for the SJW, a white person is racist *by default*. Anyone born white inherits systemic “skin-privilege” because our white supremacist society values white’s existence more than non-whites. This bias colors all aspects of everyday life.

If you called someone a “communist” in the 1950’s during the Red scare, you needed some shred of evidence, or implication, no matter how flimsy–maybe the target delivered Young Spartacist tracts, or liked folk music, or dated Jane Fonda. Anything might do. But with accusations of “racism” today – it’s not necessary for white people to DO anything. They are already racist simply by existing. This is the key to how deluded Oberlin was being. Both the admins and the students have been schooled and trained in this way of thinking.

To the au courant SJW well-versed in all things intersectional, a white person who has skin-privilege but does not acknowledge it is living in ignorance, despite any protestation to the contrary. The only appropriate path is for whites to 1) become aware of their racism, and, once they have done that 2) to put their finger on the scale to use that privilege as an “ally” or “accomplice” to help black and brown people.

The greatest crime is for a white not to acknowledge that they are ALREADY guilty of racism. Remember, for whites, racism is the default state.

All the Gibsons had to do to be unacceptably racist from the outset was 1) not recognizing how racist they truly are based on their skin-privilege, and 2) Not having a double standard for “shoplifters of color”. This is literally how they think.

Because the Gibsons (anyone who uses the normal definition of racism) didn’t acknowledge their privilege, and acknowledge the guilt, THEY WERE ALREADY GUILTY. The problem is, in the courtroom, this esoteric definition of racism conjured up by Social Justice simply didn’t apply. It didn’t apply for the Judge, the Jury, the Plaintiff, the witnesses for the Gibsons, or anyone else there who had any common sense.

Mark Michael | June 16, 2019 at 9:41 pm

My Dayton paper, the Dayton Daily News (DDN), ran an AP story on the Gibson vs. Oberlin verdict today, Sunday, June 16th, that was quite accurate and complete (imo). It didn’t tilt the story in Oberlin’s favor, altho at the end of the article, it did quote an Oberlin bureaucrat with their attempt to minimize the verdict. That was put in quotes. So I’d say at least at this late hour, the AP (and my local Dayton paper) reported the truth about the trial.

This is a case of elite, privileged people attacking the working man. Back in the day it would have been the stuff of the left’s dreams for a cause célèbre. Now it is the left perpetrating the assault.

It seems that their underlying philosophy is one of retribution. Or arbitrary punishment. In either event this cannot end well because not everyone has the patience or resources to pursue a legal resolution. And what happens when ones’ livelihood and family hang in the balance?

The adults on the left better step up and take back the nursery.

Dan Bongino on Fox and Friends just mentioned Bill Jacobson and Legal Insurrection during an interview with Gibson’s attorney Lee Platkas this morning.

Createcompassion | June 18, 2019 at 10:56 am

I’ve read most of your coverage in LI. Was it intentional to not mention that there was not one black person on the jury? Seems like a serious omission for folks claiming to be all over this story.

RandomCrank | June 18, 2019 at 4:47 pm

One more thing: THANK YOU, Legal Insurrection.

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