The Supreme Court has ruled thatA. public figures have more protection from the press than other members of the public.B. public figures have the same protection from the press as other members of...

The Supreme Court has ruled that
A. public figures have more protection from the press than other members of the public.
B. public figures have the same protection from the press as other members of the public.
C. public figures have less protection from the press than other members of the public.
D. only nonpolitical public figures have as much protection from the press as other members of the public.
E. only political public figures have as much protection from the press as other members of the public.

which is the correct answer? thanks!

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The correct answer to this question is Option C.  The Supreme Court has ruled that when the press is writing or reporting about public figures, they cannot be sued for libel unless they show “actual malice” in their reporting.  This is defined to mean that the press has to know that what they are saying is false or they have to act with “reckless disregard” of its truth or falsity.  This makes it much harder for public figures to successfully say that they have been libeled by the press than it is for private citizens to say the same thing.

The case in which the Supreme Court made this ruling was called New York Times v. Sullivan.  The case was decided in 1964.  It is considered a major victory for the freedom of the press in the United States because it allows journalists to report on public figures with very little fear of being sued for libel.

Sources:

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