In a tweet following the positive jobs report Jack Welch asserted that the books were cooked by the political powers that be. Economists, both conservative and liberal, pushed back that such wasn't possible. Still, Welch didn't back down on the Chris Matthews television show. We who are focused on the law wondered if the U.S. Government was going to file a complaint for libel.
Interestingly, as the evening moved on, Welch hedged. With Anderson Cooper, reports POLITICO, he noted that he should have put a question mark on the tweet, framing the issue as a question, not an assertion.
If it looks like a lawyer got to him, sounds like a lawyer got to him, and walks like a lawyer got to him, then maybe a lawyer got to him. However, given Welch's sophistication, we wonder if the tweet, given what it said, should have been run by a lawyer before it was made public to Welch's more than a million followers. My hunch is that, given how it was worded, it hadn't been vetted by legal.
The irony is that this kind of attack could hurt conservative candidates and help liberal ones. America is built on fair play. And the original tweet didn't seem fair or legally protected speech. Also, we in the communications business wonder if it could be just a ding or maybe a major hit to the Welch brandname. He has lent that to his management institute housed at for-profit Strayer University. Is Strayer displeased with this tempest in the tweet space? The for-profit education sector is in transition.