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ERIC Number: ED188213
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Speech-Press Debate, the Law of Libel, and Protection for the Editorial Process.
Stonecipher, Harry W.
Questions concerning the relative protection afforded by the speech and press clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the law of libel, and protection for the editorial process are the focus of this paper. The first section summarizes arguments for First Amendment press protection, focusing on the question of whether there is a historical basis for making a distinction between the speech and press clauses of the First Amendment, as well as on approaches to the inherent difficulties in defining "press." The second section discusses implications of the 1974 Supreme Court decision in "Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc.," in which the Supreme Court for the first time applied the constitutional libel defense established in "New York Times Co. v. Sullivan" to media defendants. It outlines problems with the media-defendant approach taken in the case and notes the reluctance of several state courts to extend the constitutional privilege to nonmedia defendants. In its third section, the paper outlines implications of the 1979 "Herbert v. Lando" case, in which the Supreme Court cast serious doubts on the scope of protection afforded the editorial function of the press. It explains the question posed in the case, discusses the Supreme Court's response, and suggests that a constitutional privilege for the press was not ruled out by the Supreme Court ruling. The paper concludes by observing that the issues involved in the ongoing speech-press debate have received little illumination from recent Supreme Court libel decisions. (GT)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Gertz v Robert Welch Inc; Herbert v Lando; Libel; Supreme Court
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (63rd, Boston, MA, August 9-13, 1980).