No Longer Shielded, A Terrible Decision

rand holman’s THE DAILY POLEMIC brings to mind how I was stunned at the SCOTUS decision, yesterday.

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

Reporters will no longer be allowed to quote charges made by a public figures without risking libel charges. They must be able to prove the charges are false or true before quoting. Here’s the part that confuses me:

“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.”

Does that mean there would have been no reporting of the charges, just because Kerry’s people said they were false? How will this work in practice and are we as bloggers vulnerable?

One Response to “No Longer Shielded, A Terrible Decision”

  1. This is a decision that makes JOURNALISTS accountable for that they report.

    We, as bloggers, are not reporters. Our blogs state what news we are given and then give our opinion on them. We are not, by any means licensed journalists. We can spout our opinion all day long and it’s just that. We don’t (at least we shouldn’t) pretend to be a newsource, but a portal for news, packaged within out opinion.

    This ruling means that when a reporter askes a question s/he’d better damn well get all the facts straight. When the reporters jumped on the Swift Boat Vetern story, they should have bothered to get the other side, instead of waiting for the truth to leak out. SBV took out of context things that JK said and rolled them into an ad. Responsible, ethical journalism states that before you report a story, you get both sides, not just the sides that grab headlines.

    The same thing with the Schaivo case. You can’t report that Michael Schaivo was an adulterer that won a huge lawsuit and kept all of the money without stating that for 8 years he became a registered nurse so he could care for her, and the lawsuit money was for Terri, of which he was able to keep $100,000.00 (out of over $1,000,000.00).

    This case stems from a journalist talking to a councilman, and the councilman spouting what amounted to untruths because they made good soundbite, and then the journalist turning around and using what the councilman said as facts, not his opinion, when the journalist should have just stated that the councilman made comments that were yet to be verified.

    What this ultimately means is that we should (from now on) get both sides of the story, like we should when we open a nwspaper and watch the evening news. I for one am tired of the “angles” jouralists used instead of facts the get the story straight.

    Maybe journalists will become legitimate again.

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