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So Gregg Walker of the Lakeland Times just threatened to sue me for libel

Kirk Bangstad

So Gregg Walker of the Lakeland Times just threatened to sue me for libel. Yes, you read that right. The owner of a newspaper just threatened to suppress my right to free speech. Oh the irony.

I’ve attached the letter below. It’s quite dramatic. In it, his lawyers correctly identified that I called Walker a “crook” in one of my recent posts. They also felt the need to define the term “crook” as “criminal,” using a law dictionary, then explained that since he had no criminal record, I was breaking the law by tarnishing his good name.

Since our mini-Trump in Minocqua decided to become a bully, I figured I might pick up a dictionary myself and see what I could find. The authoritative “Cambridge Dictionary” includes in its definition of crook “a person who is dishonest.” Dictionary.com, The Free Dictionary, and Collins Dictionary also include “dishonest” in their definitions of crook. So by calling a person a crook, one could simply be implying that he has been dishonest.

Is it reasonable to hold the opinion that Walker has been dishonest? Yes, and we don’t need to look earlier than an article on June 6 entitled “Health Department Policy is Irresponsible Panic Mongering,”

Here’s a doozy attacking our county health inspector, Linda Conlon: “[Our economy]…does not need to display the bright scarlet Conlon letter as a billboard for the North, or feel the chokehold of a bureaucrat’s hands around its neck.

Really Greg? Really? Does this little town need that kind of violent picture painted in its editorial pages? How dishonest is it to tell your readers that our county health officer, who is just trying to do her job, has a chokehold around our economy’s neck?

How about you stick to high school sports and stop hurting our community with your drivel?

And about your threat. I’m no lawyer, but no real judge is going to side with a newspaper publisher in a case trying to suppress free speech.

And I apologize for wasting your time, neighbors. I'm running to help make the Northwoods and Wisconsin a better place and having to deal with the local misogynist who owns a paper that no one reads is nothing more than a distraction.

Written by Kirk Bangstad on 06/15/20

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