If “The pen is mightier than the sword,” why can’t gun manufacturers and those charged with gun crimes be judged by the New York Times v. Sullivan standard, which requires actual malice? The press is protected by the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution, but the right to keep and bear arms is protected by the 2nd Amendment.
The power of the press is obvious, and there are myriad examples of its misuse by the craven, partisan hacks that seems to gravitate to positions of influence in the media. Yet legal redress for that misuse must meet an almost impossibly high bar. What makes the press so special? Did the framers of the Constitution intend for the press to be an unassailable, unelected, out-of-control force in our republic?
I think not, yet here we have a senior judge (Clinton appointee!) defending the most egregious use of the media’s power to defame.
The lawsuit concerned a June 14, 2017, editorial headlined “America’s Lethal Politics,” that addressed gun control and lamented the rise of incendiary political rhetoric.
It was written the same day as a shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia where Republican U.S. congressman Steve Scalise was wounded.
One of Bennet’s colleagues prepared a draft that referred to the January 2011 shooting in a Tucson, Arizona, parking lot where six people were killed and Giffords was wounded.
Bennet inserted language that said “the link to political incitement was clear” between the Giffords shooting and a map previously circulated by Palin’s political action committee that the draft editorial said put Giffords and 19 other Democrats under crosshairs.
A similar map was published by the Democrats, yet no similar charge was made by the editors of the Old Gray Whore. That seems to be proof of malice!
Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
I simply do not understand how a clear and concise statement that Congress shall make no law abridging the various freedoms listed in the amendment has morphed into some ridiculous license to do and say anything in service of some nebulous ideal that the press is some sort of guardian of freedom and liberty.
The 1st Amendment does not say that the press should be elevated above all others. Yet the current conceit is to grant them unlimited freedom to defame, unlimited access to all information (even when it does real damage to America and its interests…license that real Americans do not have.
It is long past time to judge the press according to the norms of behavior that a traditional culture finds acceptable. Choosing one political side and defaming the other is not what the framers intended for the press.
If a simple replacement of a newspaper name with a private citizen would yield a different verdict, then the law and its interpretation by a misguided judiciary is wrong!