For not the first time — and probably not the last — liberal journalist (and alleged tentacle porn aficionado) Kurt Eichenwald has been throwing a very public and very embarrassing temper tantrum on social media. For reasons known only to himself, he has decided to target Stoneman Douglas High School student Kyle Kashuv, resulting in speculation today that the 16-year-old has a valid defamation case against him.
The imbroglio began when Eichenwald decided to attack the pro-Second Amendment Kashuv on Twitter last Friday, calling the student a disappointment and his followers “infantile.”
Eichenwald has since deleted the tweet, claiming he did not know he was talking to a Parkland survivor — but not before conservatives, taking a page from the left’s playbook, called for a boycott of his former employer MSNBC’s advertisers.
Eichenwald continued his meltdown on Monday, writing a tediously long “manifesto” on Twitter explaining all the reasons why he was a victim of trolls.
The spat escalated on Tuesday when he sent conservative commentator Ben Shapiro a “positively deranged” email claiming that Kashuv had sent him a series of “deeply disturbing” direct messages on Twitter. Eichenwald told Shapiro that he had consulted a psychiatrist who told him the student was in “desperate need of psychiatric help.”
I just received this from @kurteichenwald. There are no words for how wild this email is. @VanityFair is apparently an odd place.I just received this from @kurteichenwald. There are no words for how wild this email is. @VanityFair is apparently an odd place. pic.twitter.com/Ik1bfjoKyl
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) April 3, 2018
Conservative reporter Benny Johnson was appalled:
The messages slandering a teenage school shooting survivor as mentally deranged & admitting to having @KyleKashuv psychoanalyzed *in secret* were sent with a Vanity Fair LOGO at the bottom of the email.
I'm trying to figure out how @VanityFair defends this behavior?
This is bad pic.twitter.com/t2AEjLi7gp
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 3, 2018
Johnson obtained the direct messages in question and posted them at The Daily Caller, confirming that they were indeed “disturbing” — but not on the part of Kashuv.
Later, in a post on the law blog Law and Crime, legal writer Colin Kalmbacher argued that Eichenwald’s comments regarding Kashuv’s alleged mental deficiencies were “scurrilous,” and that the student had “a valid defamation case against Eichenwald.”
Kyle Kashuv lives in Florida, so Florida would be the most likely jurisdiction. Under Florida law, the elements of a defamation claim are: (1) the defendant published a false statement; (2) about the plaintiff; (3) to a third party; and (4) the falsity of the statement caused injury to the plaintiff. This restatement of Florida’s defamation test comes by way of fairly recent precedent from the case Border Collie Rescue v. Ryan.
Incidentally, Vanity Fair denied that Eichenwald is currently a contributor.
Eichenwald has since removed claims that he is a contributor to Vanity Fair and MSNBC from his Twitter bio.
I call this masterpiece, 'Three Seasons of Eichenwald' pic.twitter.com/NkGX6PdvAo
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 3, 2018
Later on Tuesday, he accused Kashuv of “trolling” liberals on Twitter.
Needs to be disclosed. A conservative Parkland survivor is trolling people he considers liberals and, when they respond not knowing who he is, claims he is being abused. The conservative media then jumps on it and demands Ingraham boycott to end. He suckered me. Dont fall for it.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) April 3, 2018
Luckily, young Kashuv has remained amazingly upbeat throughout his unfortunate introduction to the loony left.
I'm in pain from laughing too much https://t.co/8e9z5nSGCm
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) April 3, 2018