Roy Moore’s wife uses Facebook to track reporter activity, but a lawyer has some advice about suing: Don’t

November 15, 2017

Kill the messengers. Or, at least, make sure they don't cross the state borderline.

That seems to be the message from Kayla Moore, wife of Senate candidate Roy Moore, who is the new dictionary definition of a favorite media adjective, "embattled."

"In the past month our hometown, county, and state have been invaded by the Washington Post and liberal media," she wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. 

"We have had numerous reports of phone calls, cell phone calls, Messages, emails, even to the point of them showing up at peoples houses. Reports coming in are that they are wanting anyone who knows us or has known us in the last 40 years to tell them anything about us, it's called a witch hunt. We are filing suit. For our evidence we have a new link for you to sign off on if you have been harassed by these people." She then posted a link to a form that lets residents report any contacts with reporters.

What is disturbing Moore's spouse could also serve as a journalism school primer on basic reporting.

"We are getting reports from all over the nation that the Washington Post is calling and harassing anyone that has had any contact with me, my husband, and other family members," Moore wrote in another Facebook post. "They are going through court records, documents, anything they can find. This is an all-out assault which is why we are Suing (sic) them."

And if that isn't enough, there was this:

"This is what I have been forwarded from over 1000 people since yesterday, it may or may not be a true reporter-could he (sic) a fake:"

"'Hi, my name is Ellie Silverman and I'm a reporter for The Washington Post. We're writing a story about Kayla Moore and I was hoping to get in touch with people who know her well. I saw you commented on a post on her Facebook page and was wondering if you're a close friend of hers. If so, I'd love to talk to you and hear more about what Kayla is like and her relationship with friends and family. Could you give me a call?'"

Facebook

The threats of suits by the Moores against various media outlets is no surprise, all the more so given Moore's political situation. Even his firewall at Fox News has cracks, with Sean Hannity on Tuesday night opining that he wanted Moore to resolve "inconsistencies" in his response to sex harassment allegations or exit the race.

George Freeman, former longtime chief attorney at The New York Times, told Poynter:

"This sounds like it’s from Trump’s go-to-the-mat playbook, but any decent lawyer will strongly advise Moore not to go forward with a lawsuit."

 "After all, threats are easy to make: Weinstein threatened the Times with a libel suit in the first week (as Trump had threatened the Times during the campaign when incidents of his sexual [improprieties] were reported) but there was no follow-through on either — other than that Weinstein’s lawyer resigned," said Freeman, who now runs the New York-based Media Law Resource Center. 

"Moore would be most unwise to start a lawsuit, which would keep his inappropriate behavior in the headlines for years and, even worse, he hardly would want wide-ranging discovery about every incident he had with young girls, especially since mandatory subpoenas might well bring out other women who, without subpoenas, might prefer to remain quiet."