« Marlowe, "The Tragedie of Doctor Faustus" (act III - finish) | Main | Shakespeare's Best Play »

October 20, 2005

AP Stylebook (p.338-368)

Libel: Injury to Reputation-"Words, pictures, cartoons, photo captions, and headlines can all give rise to claim for libel."

"There is no substitute for accuracy, and news organizations may face legal challenges to what they publish -- even when they have accurately reported statements made by someone else..."

How is a news organization supposed to delineate between fact and fiction in the case of a prank engagement call? Should they just not print engagements? I think they should just require the identity of the "caller" to be known, and then published with the announcement.


"When it comes to the reporting of the fact that a plaintiff has filed a libel suit against a defendant, a newspaper could, in certain circumstances, be held responsible for repeating the libel that gave rise to the suit."

I was surprised to find that newspapers were liable even under these circumstances. My only concern is that the public won't know exactly what the accused did wrong, and maybe replicate it unknowingly.


"When a newspaper publishes information about a public official and publishes it whithout actual malice, it should be spared a damage suit even though some of the information may be wrong."

This chapter "Supreme Court Decisions Regarding Libel Law," was the most interesting to me. To what extent do newpapers actually get away with libel in the case of public officials? I think that in some ways it is necessary to have an, "Uninhibited, robust, and wide-open... Debate on public issues," but it is also important to print the straight truth about them. It seems to me that politicians and public figures who effect change regarding public policy should be reported on as factually as possible, and not under looser guidelines.

While the rules we have about libel and public officials allow for more debate, unless we can maintain that "news" publications are not taking advantage of their "rights," than we endanger the public with agenda-ridden "reporting." News should not be "spared a damage suit even though some of the information may be wrong."

Posted by DavidDenninger at October 20, 2005 10:28 AM


Post a comment

Remember Me?