SOME MEMBERS OF the Texas Legislature want to burn down the house to get rid of the mice.
In a laudable if somewhat knee-jerk response to “fake news” a bill has been introduced to strip Sullivan vs. New York Times rights in some cases and remove shield law protection if a reporter or publisher has ever given money to a political campaign.
If you lost your notes from that junior press law course, the Sullivan verdict by the US Supremes says “fair comment” is allowed about public figures. In such cases, the comment does not have to be the truth, unless the plaintiff can prove actual malice.
It seems unlikely the proposed bill would survive a court test, but the authors reveal an anti-press passion in many quarters.
Fake news hurts everyone, with legitimate media being the first casualty. The legislature should designate this bill for study between sessions. Let the best media and legislative minds work on this ill-starred phenomenon for two years and bring back something worth passing.
THE 100 DAYS: I’m not so worried about Trump’s first 100 days as what he will do in the next 1,360.
Lots of administrations get off to a rocky start, particularly when the president is a new-comer. Bill Clinton certainly had his early-days troubles.
Trump has made some good moves. He got his Supreme Court nominee confirmed. He rolled back Obama’s excessive EPA regulations. He has provided a firm presence to those who would make trouble in the world.
THE ANSWER to last week’s riddle question….
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