City Desk

Dan Snyder Loves, and Subpoenas, the Press

Dan Snyder Supboenas Washington Post

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder says he loves the media. He is, as he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last month, "the son of a University of Missouri School of Journalism graduate whose professional pedigree includes working at United Press International and National Geographic. I am proud of that legacy from my dad and understand the journalist’s perspective and challenges."

Of course, the reason Snyder wrote that op-ed was to explain his decision to re-file his defamation lawsuit against Washington City Paper, our parent company, and staff writer Dave McKenna in D.C. Superior Court, after dropping a case he originally filed in New York. Which was an odd way of showing he understands "the journalist's perspective and challenges."

Last week, Snyder also found an odd way to thank the Post for running his op-ed: He sent the newspaper a subpoena.

According to the court papers Snyder's legal team sent the Post, they're interested in learning why blogger Dan Steinberg linked to City Paper's "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder." Steinberg writes about the off-field antics of just about every sports figure in the area, and he's often linked to McKenna's work; the two are friendly rivals on the same culture-and-business-of-sports beat. Snyder's team told the Post in February they intended "to explore whether there was any agreement between McKenna and Steinberg to cross-promote McKenna's pieces on Snyder."

By delivering the subpoena, they showed they meant it. Among other requests, it seeks, from both Steinberg and the Post as an institution:

All Documents evidencing or Relating to any Communication between You and McKenna pertaining to Snyder... All Documents evidencing or Relating to any Communication between You and McKenna pertaining to Snyder's wife, Tanya Snyder... All Documents evidencing or Relating to any Communications between You and McKenna pertaining to the [City Paper cover art]... All Documents evidencing or Relating to the reasons for the inclusion of links in Your Washington Post columns, blogs, or on Twitter to McKenna's City Paper articles... and All Documents evidencing or Relating to Your policies Relating to the inclusion of links in Your columns to other sources.

Snyder's lawyers also want to have Steinberg in for a deposition.

The media economy these days being what it is—which is to say, dying—every news organization spends a lot of time linking to, and getting links from, competitors. City Paper links to the Post frequently (including twice in this post), and vice-versa. But getting dragged into court to explain why reporters chose to link to a story—especially on Twitter, which practically exists to share links—hasn't been part of the equation. Up to now.

Snyder's lawsuit, in spite of his proud family journalistic legacy, now means the Post may have to spend time and money responding to a very broad document request and deposition supboena, even though the paper Snyder is actually suing is City Paper. The subpoena specifies that the "Documents" requested include, but are not limited to, "any kind of written, typewritten, printed, reproduced, recorded, or stored material whatsoever, whether printed, recorded, or stored electronically, magnetically, or otherwise, or reproduced by hand, including, but without limitation, drafts, notes, memoranda, letters, reports, minutes, projections, emails, telegrams, telex communications, publications, contracts, recordings, transcriptions of recordings and business records, books of accounts, ledgers, balance sheets, financial statements and all other financial documents of any kind, diaries, telephone logs, telephone bills, appointment books, desk calendars, working papers, routing slips and similar materials." Pity the Post intern who has to comb through the telegrams!

A Post spokeswoman, Kris Coratti, says "it wouldn't be appropriate for us to comment on a pending legal matter." Steinberg declined to comment until he spoke to the Post's lawyers. Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie says he forwarded a question about the subpoena to Snyder's attorneys, who didn't immediately respond. We'll update if they do.

Read the whole subpoena here:

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • FMJohnson

    Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) is re-introducing his federal SLAPP legislation specifically in response to Dan Snyder's WCP suit:

    Cohen: Protect Free Speech by Combating SLAPPs
    http://www.rollcall.com/issues/56_126/-205858-1.html

  • Sean

    So if I tweeted a link or posted one on Facebook or my blog will I be subpoenaed? This is frickin' ridiculous. It just shows how thin-skinned Synder is and how his legal team is grasping for straws.

  • J

    Thanks for the update Mike. Does this mean I have to be careful what I type about Snyder on this site? So much I want to say .... =0

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  • Truth Hurts

    What a prick. WaPo prevails on this one, guaranteed.

    As for me, I hereby pledge not to knowingly spend money on anything related to Snyder or his businesses for the rest of my life. And until he drops this b.s., the Redskins will be dead to me, lockout or not.

  • Drez

    Skins who?
    My Cherokee heritage is suddenly offended and pledges a boycott.
    Not that I give a fuck about that team since it left DC anyway...

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  • Bud

    Snyder recalculated and realized he can actually now bleed the whole newspaper industry dry with this lawsuit.

  • http://www.warrenjasonstreet.com Warren Jason Street

    The smartest thing Dan Snyder could do right now is sell the Redskins while they still have some value; given that reality, he'll hang on for the next forty years until the franchise isn't worth anything at all and he'll blame the media.

    What happened to the NFL? How can they allow an owner to be this bad for the game and for the community?

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  • mike

    Personally write Danny-Boy and demand a written reply as to why he is such a dip-shit in wasting a struggling newspapers' time with this B.S., unless, as usual, he is extremely bending the truth, and he has is not "the son of a University of Missouri School of Journalism graduate whose professional pedigree includes working at United Press International and National Geographic. I am proud of that legacy from my dad and understand the journalist’s perspective and challenges." or he just gives lip service when it is convenient for him.

  • Leofwine

    Well at least we now know Tony Wyllie is in it for the money and not for any professional fulfillment or because he believes in the Snyder cause ((go ahead Tony, sue me).

    How long is that waiting list for season tickets again?

  • http://members.cox.net/journeyhome/index.htm Paul Buke, author-Journey Home

    Snyder is typical of the as**oles with money running er ah ruining the country - they are the ones who have the most warped sense of entitlement as they see how much they can steal from the public coffers and throw their weight around - its ego, its power, its greed and they are consumed. Problem is they are taking the country down with them - privatizing medicare is a profit grab, privatizing social security is a profit grab - Dan Snyder is a wannabe and probably short in the pants.

    Whatever it is that drives these sociopaths its not healthy to them and those around them - if he puts you out of business he will pat himself on the back and light up a big cigar. But that's one less promotional outlet for his team - these guys never see the forest from the trees. They are too busy looking at themselves. I've worked on the Hill and around these types my whole life - they are not smarter than anyone and their own worst enemies.

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  • DamnDan

    I've been a Redskins fan since the mid 70s but Dan Snyder can kiss my big ole' hairy ass. Dan Snyder is acting like a spoiled little brat that can't have his way. He makes me ashamed to say I'm a Redskins fan.

  • Truth Hurts

    I suggest finding another team until Snyder's gone. Otherwise you'll have to watch tv shots of the bully boy brat smugly rooting from his skybox.

    Too much for me to stomach after his recent assholery.

  • ExPFC Wintergreen

    I believe the appropriate response for the Post should follow the precedent set down in the infamous case Arkell v. Pressdram

    http://www.nasw.org/users/nbauman/arkell.htm

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