What to Do about Defamation
News stories about someone suing someone else for defamation appear almost daily. Nearly as frequent are the articles and editorials that deplore the state of libel litigation in the United States. No one appears to be satisfied with the laws and the way they have been interpreted by the courts. Defamation suits are used by people with economic or political power to harass, intimidate, and punish news media for reporting unpleasant or unflattering but usually truthful news. In other cases people who actually have been wronged are denied compensation for the injury. Small media defendants often lack the means to defend themselves successfully against meritless suits, and protection from the judgments of confused, misguided, or even hostile juries is clearly inadequate.
Those who speak in support of news media note with dismay the frequency of defamation suits and particularly the tendency of juries to ren