A brief summary: Meghan Markle is suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing parts of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas. The lawsuit is officially about whether or not the paper violated her privacy and if their publishing the letter was copyright infringement and a breach of data protection. Coverage of the lawsuit, however, has become an entirely different conversation. And the most recent update on the situation is a good example.
What we’re talking about today is what came out of recent court filings yesterday, with people fixating on headlines that suggest that “Meghan admits that she told her friend to tell her side of the story to Finding Freedom”, the book by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand that came out this past summer. Those who are anti-Sussex have seized upon this as some sort of smoking gun that proves that …I dunno…
She stole Prince Harry from the royal family and is plotting to ruin the British monarchy and is a succubus?
The problem here is that the headlines are incomplete. And most outlets aren’t really laying out exactly what was in those court filings because there’s a larger context that’s being missed with these soundbites. If you’ve been online over the last 24 hours though, and you’ve really just gotten the surface information about the latest documents, check out Town & Country’s report for a more robust breakdown of what exactly is laid out in the files. It’s not extensive but it’s probably more than what has been passing through your timeline. I’m not here to change your mind if you think Meghan Markle is full of sh-t. If you think Meghan is full of sh-t, it likely won’t change your mind. But at least you’ll have more to go on than just what you’re getting in the tabloids. Which is focusing on whether or not she authorised her friends and associates to tell her side of the story – something almost every member of the royal family who’s had a book written about them has done. Princess Diana certainly did with Andrew Morton. More recently we know that Robert Jobson had access to Prince Charles and his advisors when writing his biography on Charles at 70. So it’s a common practice. It doesn’t really have anything to do with whether or not the Daily Mail was within their rights to publish the letter that Meghan wrote to her father, even though that’s sort of what they’re trying to argue. They’re also arguing that Meghan didn’t write the letter herself – that she had input from people, and that people on the Kensington Palace comms team helped to draft it, which means it’s not her “original work”. It’s a f-cking stretch. It’s like saying that if Duana writes a book, and asks me to read it over, and give her some feedback, and help her with a few sentences, then someone else can come along and just publish the excerpts because it’s not Duana’s “original work” since she does what so many people do when they’re writing something: consult with others during the writing process.
Here’s the thing though, I’m not even sure if the Daily Mail actually believes in the integrity of their arguments. But they do believe in the effects of making these arguments. Because what’s happened with this lawsuit is that even though the Daily Mail is the defendant, they’re getting so much out of getting sued. They’re getting so much content!
This is a publication that has the money to defend itself. And in defending themselves, they’re engaging in information extraction. Every time they, through their lawyers, submit paperwork, they get a response from the Sussex legal team, and those responses are then turned around as CONTENT for …the Daily Mail!
Harry and Meghan Markle’s objective in this lawsuit was, essentially, to push back and take a stand against the Daily Mail getting all up in their business. And this lawsuit keeps serving up new Sussex business for the Daily Mail to put in their pages and twist into new lies. That’s what Harry and Meghan are dealing with. The opponent on the other side of the courtroom is still profiting off what they’re being accused of. It’s almost in the Daily Mail’s interest for this to keep going so that they can keep up with the content, and keep generating the attention and the traffic. I’m not saying Harry and Meghan shouldn’t keep fighting this. But its’ a reminder of how sinister agents like the Daily Mail can be. Even if they lose the case, they’ve already generated so much misinformation, it’ll take forever to undo the damage.