Libel Standard Will Survive the Trump Administration
In 1964, the Supreme Court—faced with widely disparate state libel laws—issued New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, ruling that journalists cannot be sued successfully by public officials for libel unless their news coverage was false, damaged reputation and was published with "actual malice." Actual malice was defined to mean the defamation was published "with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not." The case essentially constitutionalized libel law and said that such uniform protection was necessary to preserve open debate and discussion about government policy and conduct.
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