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ERIC Number: ED159727
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Aug
Pages: 30
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Drew Pearson: A Name Synonymous with Libel Actions.
Anderson, Douglas
The way in which Drew Pearson--who was involved in more than 100 libel actions during his nearly 37-year reporting career--fared in the courts and was affected by the ever-evolving libel law is considered in this paper. Among the topics discussed are the 1964 "Sullivan" decision, which held that a public official must prove "actual malice" before collecting damages for libel; court decisions made in the post-"Sullivan" era; a chain action brought in the late 1930s by Ohio Congressman Martin L. Sweeney against newspapers that published Pearson's column, which eventually forced the Supreme Court to confront the possibility of constitutional limitations upon the power to award damages for libel of a public official; other libel cases against Pearson before the "Sullivan" decision, one of which proved to be the only case in which Pearson had to pay court-directed damages; and libel cases against Pearson after the "Sullivan" decision. It is concluded that, due to outstanding legal advice and his own strong knowledge of the law, Pearson was amazingly successful in defending himself against libel actions, and that his successful record prior to 1964 shows that the "Sullivan" decision was not "the legal savior for the muckraker." An appendix lists damages sought in cases against Pearson. (GW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Libel; Pearson (Drew)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (61st, Seattle, Washington, August 13-16, 1978)