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In New York Times v Sullivan (1964), the Court extended First Amendment protection to false statements of fact in a defamation suit. The Court held such statements, when made about about a public official, could not be the basis for awarding damages, at least without evidence that the false statements either were made recklessly or with knowledge of their falsity. The Court suggested that, while false statements contribute nothing of value to political discourse, they need protection to allow "breathing room" for statements that are true. Without this protection, the Court noted, true statements might not be made either out of a fear that the speaker could be later proven wrong, or that a biased jury might find the statements to be untrue even when they are not. While the Court's majority refused to extend protection to deliberate lies, three justices would have gone further and held that public officials and public affairs can be discussed "with impunity."
The Susan B. Anthony List appealed to the Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear arguments in the case.
SABL is asking for two specific rulings from the Court in Susan B. Anthony List v Driehaus. The first goes to the district court’s ruling that SABL did not have standing because they were not harmed. SABL argued that the threat of prosecution essentially puts a “chilling effect” on its free speech in violation of their First Amendment rights. This allowed them, in their belief, to bring a “preemptive” claim to challenge the law. Meaning, even though nothing had happened, something could happen and, therefore, they had a right to challenge the law. The court ruled that in order for the organization to be able bring a claim they must admit that the statement they made was indeed false and admit that they intended to make false statements in the future.
“It has long been clear that First Amendment protection does not hinge on the truth of the matter expressed…It is speculative at best to conclude that criminally punishing lies about having received congressionally-awarded medals is the best and only way to ensure the integrity of such medals….The greatest damage done seems to be to the reputation of the liars themselves.”
– Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, majority opinion in U.S. v. Alvarez, striking down the Stolen Valor Act, August 17, 2010, (reconsideration denied March 21, 2011, appeal to Supreme Court due by August 18)
The idea of falsely shouting "fire" in a crowded theater arose from the Supreme Court's 1919 decision in the case Schenck v. United States. The Court ruled unanimously that the First Amendment, though it protects freedom of expression, does not protect dangerous speech.
And though all the windes of doctrin were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licencing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falshood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the wors, in a free and open encounter.
originally posted by: darkbake
I think it might be entirely legal for a browser like Chrome to label certain sites as "fake news" sites. Or there are extensions people can buy that alert them when they are on a "fake news" site. I think Facebook has the right to shut down fake news stories, as well.
There are actually people out there generating fake news, possibly to gain political advantage, I haven't researched their motives yet, although I know one person does it for advertising revenue. But this is clearly wrong. The only reasons someone would support this are if they benefited by the fake news or believed the fake news.
Of course, I see a distinction between those who generate fake news and places like ATS. But ATS already has a policy of denying ignorance, and they already have a policy of putting fake news in the hoax bin. These policies should be enforced.