MEDIA LAW CLASS TEST.docx - MEDIA LAW CLASS MARQUIS HUGHES NOVEMBER 8 2018 Marquis Hughes Media Law November 8,2018 New York Times Co v Sullivan 1964

MEDIA LAW CLASS TEST.docx - MEDIA LAW CLASS MARQUIS HUGHES...

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Unformatted text preview: MEDIA LAW CLASS MARQUIS HUGHES NOVEMBER 8, 2018 Marquis Hughes Media Law November 8 ,2018 New York Times Co. v. Sullivan 1964 Had it not been for the New York Times Co. v. Sullivan in 1964, journalism might not be what it is today. During the 1960’s, an American literary movement had increased the boundaries of traditional journalism and nonfiction writing, known as New Journalism. The New Journalism had shown the arrangements and values of an “institutionally situated approach to the history of literary journalism.” Around this time, it raised a lot of different commentary and it was worth having disputes over. During the 60’s, there were important records that documented the various marketing strategies of magazines such as Esquire, New York and Harper’s. The relationships between its writers, editors, readers and publishers, made it easier to learn about the organizational processes that put the stories into print. “This was also a response to a broader interpretive crisis in the journalism profession that was decades in the making. The New Journalism was the product of many forces, including changes in the media marketplace, reporters’ dissatisfaction with newspaper careers, collaborations between talented writers and visionary editors, and a sustained epoch of social dislocation that made understanding public life an urgent task for writers, readers, and publications”, said John Pauly. Using New Journalism as an example provides us to rethink how to approach the history of literary journalism more. New Journalism and newspapers had changed with the landmark case New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. The New York Times and Company, NYT, formerly known as the New York Daily Times, founded on September 18,1851. The founders were banker, George Jones along with journalist and politician, Henry Jarvis Raymond. The New York Times is a morning daily newspaper that is published in New York City. “The Times was established in 1851 as a penny paper that would avoid sensationalism and report the news in a restrained and objective fashion.” Penny Paper received its name because of the cost. There were two types of papers. The political paper, which was financed by political parties but mainly political candidates running for office and the commercial paper, were managed by the merchant. Both papers were sold if you had a subscription and both papers carried information about other newspaper companies and individuals. Sometimes, editors would talk about their viewpoints printed in the newspapers. “It enjoyed early success as its editors set a pattern for the future by appealing to a cultured, intellectual readership instead of a mass audience. But its high moral tone was no asset in the heated competition of other papers for readers in New York City. Despite price increases, the Times was losing $1,000 a week when Adolph Simon Ochs bought it in 1896”, stated Britannica.com. Adolph had built the New York Times into a global respected daily. As a result, they have won over 100 Pulitzer Prizes since established. Lester Bruce Sullivan, born in Vanceburg, Kentucky, was a former Alabama Prison Commissioner, Alabama Public Safety Director and Montgomery Police and Fire Commissioner. During the Civil Rights movement in the mid-20th century, the New York Times published and printed a full-page editorial advertisement, paid for by civil right activists, titled “Heed Their Rising Voices”, for supporting donations to defend Martin Luther King Jr. on perjury charges. The advertisement was placed by an ad hoc coalition of civil right leaders called the “Committee to Defend Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Freedom in the South.” The ad contained false statements and some claims were inaccurate such as, “King had been arrested four times, not seven, and he faced seven years of incarceration for perjury, not 10, Nine student leaders were expelled, not for singing at the state capitol, but rather for demanding service at a Montgomery courthouse lunch counter and the students at one demonstration sang “The StarSpangled Banner,” not “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, stated rcfp.org. Within the advertisement, it contained “minor factual inaccuracies” including the number of times Martin Luther King Jr. had been arrested. Further actions were taken by the Montgomery, Alabama police. Sullivan had felt that the criticism had an effect on him, even thought his name was not mentioned in the advertisement. He then sends the New York Times a request to publicly abjure the information. The New York Times had refused to take Sullivan’s request the first time. The New York Times ad staff had not checked the validity of the statements in the advertisement before publishing the paper. Sullivan then began to sue for the “alleged” inaccurate comments from the police, even though he was not named. He filed his libel action against the New York Times. Sullivan argued that the ad had damaged his reputation and had been libeled. In the Alabama court, Sullivan won his case and the New York Times had to pay $500,000 in damages. The New York Times had appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The newspaper claimed that they did not know it was false statements and did not chek if they were accurate or not. The New York Times “argued that if a newspaper had to check the accuracy of every criticism of every public official, a free press would be severely limited. The New York Times later then removed and took the advertisements down because the Alabama Governor, John Patterson had demanded him to. New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, on March 9, 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously (9–0) reversed the decision, ruling that Sullivan could not recover damages. For a libel suit to be successful, the complainant has to prove that the offending statement was made with actual malice. Rule of law in the case. “Application by state courts of a rule of law, whether statutory or not, to award a judgment in a civil action, is "state action" under the Fourteenth Amendment. Expression does not lose constitutional protection to which it would otherwise be entitled because it appears in the form of a paid advertisement. Factual error, content defamatory of official reputation, or both, are insufficient to warrant an award of damages for false statements unless "actual malice" -- knowledge that statements are false or in reckless disregard of the truth -- is alleged and proved. State court judgment entered upon a general verdict which does not differentiate between punitive damages, as to which, under state law, actual malice must be proved, and general damages, as to which it is "presumed," precludes any determination as to the basis of the verdict, and requires reversal, where presumption of malice is inconsistent with federal constitutional requirements” states Chris Skelton, supremejustia.com. “The case involved an advertisement that appeared in The New York Times in March 1960 that outlined how African Americans had been oppressed and that asked readers to contribute money to the struggle to end racial segregation in the South. The Court said the right to publish all statements is protected under the First Amendment. The Court also said in order to prove libel, a public official must show that what was said against them was made with actual malice – "that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard for the truth”, states the uscourts.gov. To sustain a claim of defamation or libel, the First Amendment requires that the plaintiff show that the defendant knew that a statement was false or was reckless in deciding to publish the information without investigating whether it was accurate. “The Court reasoned that free and open debate about the conduct of public officials was more important than occasional, honest factual errors that might hurt or damage officials’ reputations. Some students will agree, citing the chilling effect it would have on a free press if newspapers had to check the veracity of all statements about public officials, even those in paid advertisements. The first amendment prevents prior restraint but does not protect newspapers from being punished if they print falsehoods. The first amendment protects all criticism of public officials, even those criticisms leveled with “actual malice”, said Justice Hugo Black. This case clarified the First Amendment protection over speech with regards to public concern. Resolving the disagreement in Alabama extended beyond opinion statements that proved to be false. Coming to that conclusion, the Supreme Court gave protections to defendants such as newspapers and other media sources by raising the burden of proof required for plaintiffs in libel claims. Citations: 1. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “The New York Times.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1 Nov. 2018, . 2. Journals.sagepub.com. (2018). SAGE Journals: Your gateway to world-class journal research. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Nov. 2018]. 3. Justia Law. (2018). New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Nov. 2018]. 4. United States Courts. (2018). New York Times v. Sullivan Podcast. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Nov. 2018]. 5. Media Law 19e 6. Justia Law. (2018). New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Nov. 2018]. ...
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