Libel: Fact, Fiction, Doubt & Barry

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Loo Loo. The masculinity slur especially worried him, and still does. "I come from a family that has pride in family, pride in ancestors." He also felt that people in the street were thinking, "There goes that queer, there goes that homosexual, or there goes that man who is afraid of his masculinity." As to his attitude toward Hitler, his lawyer introduced letters written to his young children during World War II. Said one: Hitler "is a bad mistake God made once. He doesn't make many, but when He does, they are loo loos."

Under crossexamination, Goldwater remained unruffled. He was asked if he "knew there were rumblings among the American people that you were nuts?" "No," came the even answer, "I wouldn't say that was so." Q: Didn't you know whether you were being called a nut? A: I think any man in public life would have to answer yes to that question. The defense is attempting to show, as Ginzburg's lawyer said in his opening statement, that the issue's various articles were certainly "racy, tough, and not for the old lady in Dubuque," but that they were "good journalism" or at least fair comment or, at the very least, not libel.

Why Sue? But the burden of proof is still with Goldwater, and his side has not yet tried to demonstrate that Ginzburg entertained serious doubts about the truth of what he was publishing. Indeed, many uninvolved lawyers who have dropped in to watch (and there have been an unusual number) do not see how Goldwater can possibly win. Even if he should, they point out, the appeals court might well overturn any verdict in his favor.

So why did he bother to sue? Already, Wife Peggy has had to spend some doubtless distasteful time on the stand describing him during their courtship as "very ardent, a very ardent suitor"; a son and daughter will also testify. Some cynics suggest that it will not hurt Goldwater's current Arizona campaign for the Senate to have his name in the papers and to clear up any lingering question about his stability. But the best explanation, as it often is with Barry Goldwater, is to take him at face value. He did not like what Fact's editors said about him, and he does not want to let them get away with it. "These are nothing but out-and-out lies," he testified, "and I don't think any man or woman in America should be made to tolerate these things."

*Ginzburg was previously the publisher of Eros, which folded when he was convicted of sending obscene material through the mails and sentenced to five years. Two years after Goldwater filed suit, Fact also stopped publication. Ginzburg now puts out Avant-Garde (TIME, April 26).

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