Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Government — Rick Moran @ 12:01 pm

More chilling news on first amendment freedoms brought to you by the black robed nannies who sit on the Supreme Court:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court refused Monday to shield the news media from being sued for accurately reporting a politician’s false charges against a rival.

Instead, the justices let stand a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that a newspaper can be forced to pay damages for having reported that a city councilman called the mayor and the council president “liars,” “queers” and “child molesters.”

Apparently, it’s just not good enough any more to simply report “the story.” Now reporters have to make sure that any charges bandied about by opposing politicians are actually “true.”

Does this mean I can’t call John Kerry a lying, sniveling, traitorous weasel anymore? Probably:

In their appeal to the high court, lawyers for the paper said news organizations should be allowed to report what public figures say, regardless of whether it is true or false.

Otherwise, they said, for example, the press could not have reported last year on the charges lodged against Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth because Kerry’s supporters said their charges were false.

In other words, if this ruling had taken place last year, John Kerry would be in the White House sipping French wine and desperately trying to figure out how to turn the coming victory in Iraq into certain defeat.

Am I missing something here? Is it really this complicated? How can you interpret the First Amendment so narrowly?

Politicians have been calling each other names for 217 years in this country. Half the fun of reading newspapers here in Chicago is finding the newest epithets hurled against “Little Boss” Daley and his gang of sticky fingered truants who’ve robbed the city blind for years. Now the Tribune and Sun Times are going to have to fact check every allegation. Wouldn’t you love to see the next press conference?

Reporter: Mr. Mayor, you’ve been called a crook, a cheat, a bum, and fairy by Alderman Skijanowitz. Would you care to deny those charges and, if not, is it alright if we print ‘em anyway?

A pox on the Court!


  1. It is getting ridiculous. Something is gonna have to be done about all of this judicial tyranny. I’ve got petitions on my site asking Congress to do something. It is in an older post called Judicial Tyranny. It may be time for me to pull that one up to the top again!

    Comment by Jay — 3/29/2005 @ 2:22 pm

  2. Hahahahah… only people on the right would be pissed that news papers have to report true claims about candidates. Yeah what a horrible world it would be if candidates had to stick to the issues and hersay and lies couldn’t be just thrown around in the mainstream media.

    Comment by Jason Cuevas — 3/29/2005 @ 3:05 pm

  3. Jason - that’s not the problem; the problem is now a reporter cannot quote someone … the person who made the original statement is the problem, not those unknowingly repeating a falsehood.

    I’m sure you will be a little upset the next time you quote someone on your site and get sued …

    The Wide Awakes

    Comment by TJ — 3/29/2005 @ 5:29 pm

  4. Regent of The Opposite of Paranormal Vegetables
    Today’s dose of NIF - News, Interesting & Funny … pray for Terri!

    Trackback by NIF — 3/29/2005 @ 8:06 pm

  5. Bloggers Feel a Chill
    Despite all of the mud that’s been slung at Karl Rove, the party out of power seems likely to benefit more from a strategy of stoking the libelous rumor mill while suing those who report such statements directly (i.e., blogs). In such a climate, how …

    Trackback by Kobayashi Maru — 3/30/2005 @ 7:10 am

  6. JASON! Think BIGGER than that! This will most certainly impact you and your blog in the near future. Not EVERYTHING is “left vs right” dood.

    Comment by Gun-Toting Lib — 3/30/2005 @ 11:16 am

  7. Does this “judgment” also apply to Television? What about a live report where someone tells a lie about someone. Is the television station responsible, for spreading that “lie”? Does this mean that politicians now have to keep their mouths shut?

    Comment by ArchAngel — 3/30/2005 @ 11:48 pm

  8. AA:

    That’s a good question. Given that it would be live TV and thus not subject to a standard of editorial control, my guess would be that the answer to your question would be no.

    Then again, the way the courts are mucking around with our 1st amendment rights, anything is possible.

    Comment by superhawk — 3/31/2005 @ 9:40 am

  9. Well, I’ll have to check into whether this is the “actual” or “correct” take on this ruling, but if it is, then this is an incredible assault on freedom of speech and the press. The press has a responsibility to report the “truth.” In that regard, if some (hypothetical) fat, inebriated, delirious senator guilty of vehicular manslaughter were to state that, say, a political opponent on the illegal immigration issue is a racist Nazi, one might think the press not only has a right, but also, an ethical obligation to report what the senator said. In other words, what the senator said and that he said it IS the “news” that the press has a right and an obligation to report. Whether or not what the senator said is or is not true has no bearing on the truth of whether or not the senator said it. The press must have the right to reveal truthfully what the senator said with no further obligation to ascertain whether what was said is true. Certainly, the press is also free to inquire into whether the statement is true or not. However, if they cannot report what was actually said simply because what was said is untrue, then the press will fail to perform one of its most important functions: that is, revealing to all the world what moonbats some people are!

    Comment by Bob Doyle — 4/4/2005 @ 3:20 pm

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