Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trump still wants to pursue making US libel laws (especially with regard to public figures) match Englands (whoops? Brexit?)



Reince Prebius (who sounds like actor Tobey Maguire) said this morning that Trump is considering how to make it easier to sue the media.



The subject came up in an interview with Jonathan Karl on ABC News.  The Washington Post has a story by  Cleve R. Wootson, Jr. here.

Trump wants English law standards to apply to suits brought by public figures, which are here.  That is, public figures would not have to prove actual malice or reckless disregard for the truth.  And the defendant would have to prove truth with evidence from outside the plaintiff’s complaint, which might make it easier to bring frivolous suits.

Trump, however, now (despite earlier fears, including my own) doesn’t seem to have anything against independent bloggers and smaller news outlets.  It’s the big media companies whom he sees as enemies and accuses of spreading “fake news”.  There are some indications that he actually reads some smaller blogs and pays attention to individual tweets sent to him that stand out in some constructive way. He also watches a lot of television in the White House (more than in his own Mar a Lago or NYC towers, it seems).

NPR has an interesting article on the differences in libel laws, which have held up releasing a book and film about scientology in the UK, and which resulted in a suit in the UK against Rachel Ehrenfeld concerning her book about funding terrorism, which was not even published in the UK.  The US responded to the judgment against her with the “Speech Act” which Obama signed in 2010, preventing UK libel judgments from being pursued in the US, trying to stop "libel tourism", patterned after New York States “Libel Terrorism Protection Act”  (Why not "Tourism" in the name?)   Kitty Kelly has often discussed the issue with reference to her own writing about the Royal Family.

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