1. Prior Restraint – The Constitution of the United States of America offers protections against prior restraint and for good reason. No one should be prevented from saying/writing/publishing what they want to however as soon it is sid/written/published others are well within their rights to object and file suit against what is said/written/published if they wish. This is why O.J. Simpson had a right to write If I Did It and Rupert Murdoch had a right to publish it, despite objections by the Browns and the Goldmans. As soon as it was ready the public had a right to object to it which they did. That is how Democracy works --- there is the right to have your say and the right to object to what is said. I hope no one wants to mess with those concepts!
2.How True is True? – Imagine this, what if Misha had come to Jane and said “I was abducted by aliens.” Should Jane have refused to publish her book? Publishers publish books that strain credibility all the time --- alien abductions, the Loch Ness monster, channeling Elvis, living with wolves… Just because it strains credulity doesn’t mean the publisher has a right to deny the person who wrote it the right to publish. I hope I won’t shock anyone by saying this but publishers publish book to make money! Shocking, I know but there you have it. If a book is successful both the publisher and the writer make money. And the publisher generally makes a whole lot more than the writer. The average author of a paperback bestseller that sells for $5.95 makes 85 cents on each book sold. A publisher is obligated to make sure that nothing in the story is libelous/slanderous but is not required to fact-check what the author says is part of their story. Furthermore the contract that Misha signed with Daniel specifically stated that everything in the book was true and autobiographical. From that point on everything she wrote was her responsibility and not the responsibility of the publisher.
3.Widespread Support – At the time Jane Daniel met Misha Defonseca, Misha had been telling her tale in synagogues around Massachusetts for a couple of years. She had a strong following in the local Jewish community and the support of respected Jewish leaders such as Rabbi Joanne Yocheved Heiligman of Temple Beth Torah in Holliston. Regardless of whether Daniel personally found the story credible there was much belief in and support for the story. The story was also supported by wolf experts such as Paul an Joni Soffron of Wolf Hollow, The North American Wolf Foundation. In the face of such strong support, Daniel had to make a decision between those who supported Misha and her story and those who said they didn’t believe in it. She chose the former. Serge Aroles, the French authority on feral children, has written of how he was branded an anti-Semite when he raised objections to the story. Had anyone questioned Misha’s tale back in the mid-1990s they could well have heard the same objections.
So how responsible is a publisher for the veracity of the work they publish? If the author they publish signs a contract stating that the information in their book is true and the publisher cannot find anything libelous or slanderous in the book that is all they are required to do. Jane Daniel did her job. She was working with a liar but she did not know that. If publishers stop publishing books that strain credulity where will it stop? Can we take the chance to NOT publish books because they might be inaccurate and untrue? All this talk about "due diligence" and publishing reminds me of a story:
A little over a century ago there was a woman who published a book about the atrocities she witnessed perpetrated on people who had no way to object. No one believed her and many were outraged that anyone would print such lies --- but then things changed and her book became the beginning of a devastating war. When Abraham Lincoln was first introduced to Harriet Beecher Stowe he said, “So you are the little lady who started this great big war.” There will always be books we don’t want to believe, but we can’t start preventing them from being printed. It works both ways...
So, she is still blaming Jane Daniel for whatever she can think up to blame her for. If what Misha NOW says is true, why did she effectively kill the book that Daniel published by bringing a lawsuit against her that resulted in a $22 Million judgement against Daniel and in favor of Misha but then she took the book to Europe and, on her own, without any help from Daniel, republish the book (making sure to change her birth name so no one could track her down) in SEVENTEEN different languages, lecture and make personal appearances in schools and other venues, and sell the book to the movies? How did Jane Daniel make her do that? And furthermore, if Misha was so reluctant to publish her story, why did she bring the lawsuit in the first place? She accused Daniel of not doing ENOUGH to promote the book (despite an offer from Oprah which Misha refused to cooperate with and an interest from Disney which Misha now claims she turned down).
So let me get this straight:
1.) Misha now claims that she didn't want to tell the story but Jane Daniel persuaded her to do it.
2.) Misha then brought a lawsuit against Daniel for not adequately promoting the book (despite the Oprah and the Disney opportunities) --- for failing to promote a story Misha claims she didn't want to tell.
3.) Misha receives hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of the lawsuit in addition to the rights to the book that she then takes to Europe to publish and has translated into 17 languages and sells to the movies (the story that she didn't want to tell except Jane forced her to do it --- yeah, right).
4.) Misha also accuses Daniel of not verifying the story before she published it despite the fact that Misha signed a contract which states that Misha certifies that the story is absolutely true and biographical. (Daniel plans to publish the contract on her blog tomorrow.)
So, Misha has confessed to perpetrating a fraud that sold thousands and thousands of books AFTER she won an egregiously high amount from her original publisher while taking publication rights away from Daniel. But, even though Daniel had no say in the seventeen translation rights, the Italian operetta, the school books, the film by Vera Belmont, and the speaking engagements, it is still all Jane's fault.
Where will Misha Defonseca's lies stop?