What a day! As many of you already know, Mark is one of the greatest orators and writers of this generation (and quite frankly of the last few generations). Or as "Rank" so eloquently stated on X/Twitter, "Mark Steyn is the best of men in the worst of times; we need him, but we don't deserve him." Mark's opening statement today at the Trial of the Century in the frozen tundra that is our Nation's capital was another example of his linguistic prowess.
For the hundreds watching online and the too many to count who filled two courtrooms to support Mark and got to witness it firsthand, Mark led the jury through what this case is really about: corruption. The corruption of our institutions, our higher education system, our media, and sadly, our society writ large. It is perhaps fate that the trial was postponed to this week, the week we recognize the contributions and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who wrote from jail in 1963 that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." That is the heart of this case as Mark noted. Corruption spreads, he reminded the jury repeatedly, and if those responsible are not held accountable, corruption erodes everything it touches until we are left with nothing.
With news coming at us every second these days, it can be hard to recall the scandal that engulfed Penn State back in 2011/2012 and the later lack of full culpability by those in charge. And if we go back to Mark's original article in National Review that is exactly his point — an institution that cares more about its reputation and legacy than the protection of the innocent is corrupt. Penn State's president Graham Spaniel was eventually fired and did go to jail, albeit for a short period of time, for covering up the truly disgusting crimes committed by Jerry Sandusky — crimes he had full knowledge of well before the scandal became public. But again, those in charge at Penn State cared more about their legacy and reputation than the children Sandusky violated. And if Penn State leadership had no qualms about covering up the sexual abuse of children, would covering up research for a member of its faculty be out of the realm of the possible?
So, in (the sad) case you missed it, below is just a sampling of some of the best of Mark today (if the Court publicly releases the transcript, we'll be sure to send out the link):
"I have no difficulty standing on the truth. The truth of what I wrote, the truth about what happened at a famous American institution, the truth about this man."
"In my world, I can write something, Mr Simberg can write something, and Mr Mann can write something – and you're free to read all or none, and decide what weight to attach to all or none. But, in Mr Mann's world, there's his take – and everyone else has to be hockey-sticked into submission and silence."
"He's a classic example of the guy who can dish it out but can't take it."
"'Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize' – that's a direct quote from the then Director of the Nobel Institute in Norway, Geir Lundestad... He's not a Nobel Prize recipient. A decade after he was told to cut it out by the actual winner of the Nobel prize, [Mann] continues to promote one of the most brazen of scientific frauds – that he is of the same rank as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Francis Crick or my fellow Canadian Sir Frederick Banting, the discoverer of insulin and its use in treating diabetes. How big a fraud do you have to be to keeping putting yourself up there with Einstein and Sir Frederick and Madam Curie when the Nobel Institute itself has told you you're not?"
"I play the ball, not the man." (Mark then quoted Eleanor Roosevelt, "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people," to drive home the point.)
The trial will continue Monday morning and is expected to last another two-to-three weeks. We'll continue to report daily when Court is in session and we'll provide weekend reports too! And if anyone has any remaining questions about the motivation of the plaintiffs in this case, we share this email that was displayed today:
We believe justice will prevail. As Mark said, "I stand by every word."