Free Speech Supporters Shouldn’t Cheer These Libel Suits Over Election Claims

Are “First Amendment Scholars” cheering against free press? A strange piece in The New York Times—headlined “First Amendment Scholars Want to See the Media Lose These Cases”—delves into defamation lawsuits filed against Fox News, One America News, Project Veritas, Gateway PunditRight-wing media outlets, They are being accused of spreading false information about fraud in 2020 elections and profiting off these lies.

To win, plaintiffs have to show that these outlets acted with “actual malice”—that is, deliberately spread misinformation or acted with “reckless disregard” for facts.

The article notes that “The legal hurdle to prove defamation was becoming a more contentious topic well before 2020, mainly, but not exclusively, among conservatives. This prompts calls for reconsideration of the wide legal immunity that has protected journalists since New York Times v. Sullivan, a landmark 1964 Supreme Court case.” Times.

Former President Donald J. Trump is one example of a group that includes critics. Sarah Palin lost a lawsuit against The Times for defamation last month. She has requested a new trial and two Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas (and Neil M. Gorsuch) have been granted a fresh trial.

[First Amendment lawyer Lee]Levine indicated that a finding on liability in cases advancing through the courts might show that the Sullivan precedent set high standards for corrective action. It would make it possible to prosecute the dissemination of incorrect information in an intentional or reckless manner, while also protecting the media from any lawsuits arising out of inadvertent mistakes.

However, it is difficult to determine if media outlets were aware (or ought to have known) that election-fraud allegations they made were false. Is it possible that some media outlets might not have believed the claims made by the president, some of top Republican lawyers and officials? These claims were at most worth reporting credulously.

Although you may be skeptical about Fox News employees believing in election fraud narratives, this is possible. Even if the court rules otherwise, this would likely weaken the protections for all media.

We are not referring to individual claims against individuals appearing on news programs. These are claims that can be made against media outlets in general.

Fox’s lawyers argue “the public had the right to know” and Fox was allowed to report on allegations of election fraud. The network’s lawyers claim that guests who gave credence to these rumors on opinion programmes said that “giving them the space to make any groundless claims is part of the uninhibited. robust. and wide-open’ discussion on issues of public concern.”

It’s true regardless of whether or not you agree with Fox’s and other right-wing media’s coverage of Trump’s claims about election fraud.

People who support free speech need to be wary about allowing the courts make decisions regarding reporting on and sharing opinions concerning widely disputed events. IllegalIf it crosses a line, you should not be surprised. You can’t help but sympathize with some outlets being sued. Their losses may have implications that go beyond the specific case.

The TimesAccording to reports, Fox could win and the argument that “the actual malice standard was too burdensome” can be strengthened. If it loses the argument, however, then the standard will have no teeth.


Russia’s assault on the Ukrainian military base close to the Polish border raised the stakes of this conflict. Russian officials claimed that western weapon aid is a valid target on Sunday.

“A large portion of the military aid from the West—one of the largest transfers of arms in history—passes through Poland into western Ukraine, part of the fine line the U.S. and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, allies are walking between aiding Ukraine militarily while steering clear of providing troops or enforcing a no-fly zone that Ukraine has called for,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. warned that Russia’s expansion to an area near Poland increases the likelihood of war invading NATO territories.

Jake Sullivan is National Security Advisor Face the NationYesterday, it was announced that Russia would attack Poland and NATO will respond with all its force.


Texas should stop investigating transgender families.Texas has been ordered to stop investigating families that provide medical care for transgender children. A state judge now says that the government must cease all investigations. The Texas Tribune reports:


Exceeding regulations impede progress.Berkeley University may be forced to limit the number of students they can give in person. This decision was made by a court that sided with local residents concerned about student’s environmental effects. Ezra Klein writes in a column, “This type of NIMBYISM” Berkeley’s homelessness can be reduced by building more houses for all people, and not allowing a few kids to live in their homes.

Klein points out that this case highlights flaws found in 1970 California’s law that “requires rigorous environmental impact reviews for any public project, and that has quickly become an all-purpose tool for anyone wanting to stop a public project from moving forward or one that needs public approval.” And laws like this aren’t isolated to California—nor to public projects. The permitting process for converting a Santa Barbara home to electric power can take up to a year.

Klein draws some wrong conclusions and turns the story into an attack against people who want government to be restrained. But he correctly diagnoses the way excessive regulations—and an environmental movement “organized around saying no” (as the political scientist Leah Stokes put it)—can hobble public and private investments in the future.


• An American journalist, Brent Renaud, has been killed in Ukraine.

• A Texas Supreme Court decision thwarts challenges to the state’s six-week abortion ban.

• Politician and activist Ammon Bundy has been arrested for trespassing after refusing to leave a hospital where a friend’s grandson was being held and treated for malnourishment per an order from the state’s Child Protective Services (CPS). Bundy said the baby was Medically kidnapped by a doctor calling CPS for an unscheduled appointment”. This link takes you to a page in which the grandfather of the baby challenges government’s description.

• A former prison in California is now a cannabis farm.

• Why Florida is ground zero for culture war.