The media run rampant in America. They report whatever they want, in many cases knowingly reporting fake news.
Look at the latest two cases involving the Covington students and Jussie Smollett. One would think that on the heels of Covington, the press would have been much more discerning in the Smollett case. However, again they jumped to conclusions in the Smollett case.
These are just two of the more recent cases. However, the media malpractice has occurred for decades. But given the impact of these fake news stories, and the lack of media oversight in their profession, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas chimed in. His latest opinion is long overdue.
According to The Daily Caller:
Professional journalism groups reacted with alarm after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas released an opinion Tuesday urging the high court to reconsider a landmark freedom of the press decision called New York Times v. Sullivan.
The Sullivan ruling generally shields reporters and news platforms from libel or defamation lawsuits provided they were acting in good faith. Though journalists believe that protection is essential, Justice Thomas said the high court was wrong to usurp the role of states in regulating libel.
“[Sullivan] and the Court’s decisions extending it were policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law,” Thomas’s opinion reads.
“We should not continue to reflexively apply this policy-driven approach to the Constitution,” Thomas added. “Instead, we should carefully examine the original meaning of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”
Imagine if the media must go back to actually proving their sources. Then they must get the stories correct or risk lawsuits.
NPR explained the origin of The Sullivan ruling in a bit more detail in an interview between NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro and Sonja West, professor at the University of Georgia School of Law.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Which brings us to the Sullivan case. L.B. Sullivan, the public safety commissioner for the city of Montgomery, Ala., sued the New York Times over an ad they ran, which criticized the way protesters had been treated in Alabama.
WEST: It turned out that there were some errors in this advertisement. So an Alabama jury not only sided with Sullivan, but they awarded him a half-million-dollar verdict.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The Times appealed. And eventually, the case went to the high court.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: New York Times Company decision reverses L.B. Sullivan.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: After hearing the arguments, the Supreme Court issued its decision in favor of the newspaper.
WEST: But it didn’t just stop there.
WEST: It went beyond saying that the newspaper was not defamatory and, actually, recognized for the first time that there was a significant First Amendment interest that was at play in these types of cases – this necessity of a robust, public debate about the people and the policies of our government.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The court said the Constitution protects news organizations who are reporting on public officials, even if they make errors, as long as the media aren’t being reckless or knowingly spreading falsehoods.
WEST: This is known in the legal world as actual malice. And it’s a very difficult standard for plaintiffs to meet. So now they were free not only to write and cover on the civil rights movement, but they could cover the protests against the Vietnam War…
Essentially, the press needed protection, because they actually did their job and people lied on them. That is no longer the case, as indeed the press is reckless.
At this point, I would like to see a Press-cam used to validate anything these clowns report.
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