Libel Part 2 by reynoldshammack


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         LIBEL PART 2         V^'di 0&fiffi=    dl,r'*,i'tfCnA-t   fin   tD & UcLffixM
         Know thedefnitionsandMes in general howtheyareapplied Oklahoma. ableto correaly
                                           and                in       Be
    .    remgnize applythemin hypothetical
                and                        situations.
               Can innuendo be defamatory?
                 o Yes

           '   Canthe libel suitbebased an isolated
                                         on        phrase takenout ofcontext ormust itbe based
               on the article asa whole?
                  o A libel suitcannotbebased an isolated
                                            on          phrasetakenout of context.
                                                                                 The articleas
                     a wholemustbe considered.
           .   Can a headlinebe the basisfor a libel lawsuit?
                 o Yes; a libelousremarkin a headline,  evenif it is cleared in the story,is the basis
                    for a libel suit.
           .   Does the word "allegedly" shield againsta libel lawsuit?
                      NO. Allegedmeans   declared asserted be asdescribed.
                                                 or       to               Callingsomeone an
                      allegedmurdererif they haven'tbeen         is
                                                        convicted libelousandfalse.He would be an
           . What is the definition of defamationin Oklahona?
               . "exposes personto publichatred,contempt,
                            any                                ridicule or obloquy,or .. . tendsto
                deprive him ofpublic confidence, to injurehim in his occupation...,'
               ' "A communication defamatory it tendsto soharmthe reputationof anotheras
                                       is            if
                to lower him in the estimation the communityor to deterthird persons
                                               of                                    from
                associating dealing
                           or          with him."
               o Whodeteminesifthecontentisdefamatoryperse?                    Drinaa q,bov-t

^,^ -Lco r^-             ,. no*tll'$Jlo;rpersedefinedinoklahoma?
                                                            1* rb*donf3*
"P'rytTlf-lliu^ - -g
rc PnJe, ck rafip-tlgn words    must construed,
                           "alone  be        strippid

4tus4g dr,,n?:5i:#i: ,'#y##T,l%1ffi;;il#', knowledge', in
p{(,     tD ryUf I         o They aremeasured their "natural andprobab$ effectupon the mind of
ffiebrurn                         theiverage readei."
                      ----2. Is accusing someoneof committing a crime considered
                                                                                 oer se defamation?
                           o,0,hild holenlf<x
                         3. What reasoning did courts in Ohio and Colorado use in deciding that an
                            accusationof homosexuality should not be considereddefamatory per se?
                           o Ohio court: "Beinga homosexual not a crimenor is it a disease.
                             Additionally, beinga homosexual  would not tend to injure a personin his
                             ffadeor occupation."
                           o However,if a homosexual             is
                                                       accusation false,then it is defamatory.
                           o Coloradocourt: "The factthat sexualactivitiesbetweenconsenting   adultsof
                             the samesexareno longerillegal in Coloradotendsto indicatethatan
                                  accusation being a homosexual not of sucha character to be
                                               of                    is                      as
                                  slander perse."
                               o "A court shouldnot classiff homosexuals      with thosemiscreantswho have
                                   engaged actionsthat deserve
                                            in                     rcprobation and scornwhich is implicitly a
                                  paft of the slander/ltbel perseclassifications."
                               o "There is empincalevidence this recorddemonstrattngthat
                                                                in                              homosexuals
                                  are held by societyin such  poor esteem.                  that
                                                                            Indeed,tt appears the
                                  community view toward homosexuals mixed, which would not expose
                                  the homosexual public hatredor contempt."
                             4. Is it defamatory per se or per quod in OHahoma?Would the Oklahoma
                                Court of Civil Appeals' decisionapply to every Oklahoma libel suit
                                involving such an accusation?
                               o Defamatoryper sebut limited to the classification the discussion that
                                                                                      to             for
                                   cbse,apparent\1beuauseattr\a\the p\a\rtt\Shailrrotp\rn$e$ or o{!ert(
                                   evidenceof specialdamages required for defamationper quod.
                             s. Can opinion andrhetonc{lgg$le                     per
                                                                      be considered se ilefamation?
              q                 wnye:              :--
         o - *        ....     o No; because arenotstatements fatl@nnot
                                           they            of                         fu, fnul fala','     the,r1
        , .* 3Etr\                                                   -
                                 Attu owpttnVL-Ilnarutb no d/-furtihunJuDrlemenElj
       ff, =)q-        How is defamatiotper quoddefinedin Oklahoma?          5-16 tpgngn*S
       {<-784             o "Ifthewordsarfieasonablysusceptibleofboth
                                                                    adefamatory4ndan. *n^..r
    Aggf.R                                    6,tpti"ar,o,qrhr,unfexf (#fJiti{,iX)
.| .

ffi                   'dl#dffi
 r*{u{#**'#ffi nr,#iffi
                             r. To prove per quoddefam,ition,tle plaintiffmust explain what?What

):t^"" y?     -                   worosdefamatory. ptalntiffiiptanation "cannot used enlarge
                                                rire                          be    to     the
          r ----/ 'Who of words, notr+ to them a meaningwhich they would not
lrleal^rnq9            )
                    ^ruriing               attribute

                    il;;,6e[r#i frfitmiiid'"d'isii.+: jury
                        decidesif the content is defamation per quod? What doesthe
                            o The trialjudge determines," whether given words or give publications are
                                capableof the meaning ascribedto them" by the plaintiff; "whether such
                                meaning is truly ascribedto them."
                            is the difference between the two categoriesof defamatory content
                            o Somecourts have made it more difficult for personswho suefor libel per
                                quod to win their casethan personswho suefor words that are clearly
                                defamatory on their face (per se.)
                  o             is the sinde mistake rule? How can it help the libel defendant?
                             t. The community would not think lessof a doctor or businessperson who made
    _                           a single mistake , the reasongoes.
                             z. Storiesthat suggest pattem ofincompetence, that go beyond assertinga
                                single error, arc defamatory.
                             3. The rule shouldnot be usedasan excuse sloppyreportlng,but it can come
                                in handy if an error is inadvertentlymade.
            .   New York Times v. Sullivan (1964,(significanceof)
                  o The NY Times ran an ad titled "Heed their RisingVoices,"which leveledcharges
                     againstpublic officialsin the Southwho, the committeecontented,hadusedviolence

                      and illegal tacticsto try to quell the peacefulcivil rights struggle.
                  o ,\labama police commissioner,                                        for
                                                        L.B. Sullivan,sought damages false and
                      defamatorystatements     about the conductof the Alab amapolice department.
                  o US SC reversed ruling and said that Sullivan had to show the paperhad actvally
^Ad)q\'q             lied when it printed the ad (knowledge falsity),the persons
                                                                of                     who publishedthe ad
(i.tuurnJ9           (members the committee& newspaper
                                 of                                staff)had beencareless not examining
                    the charges    madein the statement    carefully (reckless disregard the truth.) These
lulal;.'w                              'actualmalice.'
                    two arelabeled
                  o It extended all public officialswho broughtlibel cases
                                   to                                              abouthow they did their
                    jobs or whetherthey were fit to hold thosejobrwould haveto prove actualmalice.

              Libel law beforeNew York Timesv. Sullivan (1964)tStict liability.
WBrt lW pnin tff l0 Wil4 moststatesatready a actvalmalice imposed the law of libel
                                          inad              rule          on
   | 1- ' o Libel law after New York Timesv. Sullivan /d96412 constitutionalizinqof
      Xocr-tu libellaw.
.iur"ut                nlvzfu)u{AAfuet nraUoJ"hof Ut (U'*ldttam-lwy                                   A-v+
"pi'urlc;             .            All stateand federal courts had to follow the actual malice rule arid li|Oclv*a
P\,tb\r(t-tUT1                     extended to peoplecalledpublic figures.
t0Lc,nhhoO-ncrt                .   The federalcourt addedthatthe final elementof the libel fault rule
ck'- 'xrnYutf                      when it declaredthat evenprivatepersons,    persons who are not part of
                                   government who havenot tired to influencepublic opinion, must
                                   prove that the massmedium was at fault when the libel was published
                                   or broadcast.

                   o The IJ.S. SupremeCourt's 3 rationalesin New York Times v. Sullivan (1964).
                       t. Strippedof its cover,this casewas clearlyone of seditiouslibel.
                               . the newspaper   was punishedfor publishingcriticism about a public
                       2. The nation hasa profound andlong-standing    national commitmentto the
                           principle that debate public issues
                                                on           should uWd,
                                                                   bt            robust wideopen.
                              . Debateon public issues a fundamentalpartof the clemocratic
                                                          is                                   process.
                       3. When public officialslike Sullivantake a government   post,they must expect
                           that their workwill bedosely         and
                                                      scrutinized even criticized the peoplethey
                              . Public officialshaveamplemeansto rebut criticismby easyaccess     to
                                  the press.
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