August 16, 2017

ANOTHER LIBEL SUIT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES TO DEFEND: NY Times must face defamation lawsuit over professor’s slavery comments. “A federal appeals court on Tuesday said the New York Times Co must face a defamation lawsuit by a Louisiana economics professor who said it quoted him out of context by saying he described slavery as ‘not so bad.’ The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived claims by Walter Block, who teaches at Loyola University, over a January 26, 2014, front page article about libertarianism and a potential presidential candidacy of Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who later ran for the White House. . . . Block said this made him appear racist, despite his having always been a ‘bitter opponent’ of slavery. A lower court judge dismissed the case, but the three-judge appeals court panel found a ‘genuine issue of material fact’ as to whether the article was false and had a defamatory meaning.”

While I’d be surprised to see New York Times v. Sullivan overruled, I would not be shocked to see courts growing somewhat less zealous in its application, as the performance of the news media continues to decline.

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