The argument is often made that First Amendment protections means we can’t do anything about the Media.
Well, yes and no.
You see, the Media is a Thing, just as a corporation is a Thing, the FBI is a Thing. You know what I’m saying. Liars, traitors, criminals of every stripe, are people…with names and faces, and dozens of personal weaknesses, even addictions.
And this Thing is protected by the First Amendment.
You can sue a corporation, but you can’t put it in jail. You can bring criminal charges against a corporation, but then you have to dig way deep to find the individual “trigger finger” that did it. Then you have to make sure you can prove your case and not convict a fall-guy, which large organizations are filled with.
Finding the genuinely guilty is often very difficult to prove and teams of lawyers are there to try to blight your path every step of the way.
And for the Media the First Amendment is also there to blight your path, generally starting in 1971.
These days, the most difficult task is to simply know what is actually a crime, or civilly, an actionable injury, or tort, since the law makes so many exemptions, especially for the Media.
In the 1971 New York Times v United States, (the famous Pentagon Papers trial) the Supreme Court ruled that the NYT was protected by the First Amendment.
All that was sought in that case was an injunction, stopping the publication of a “classified” history of the United States involvement in SE Asia going back to the Eisenhower days.
Virtually no one even knows what that history revealed, probably more damaging to the Democrats that the Republicans on the history end, but more damaging to The Republicans politically since, by 1971, Vietnam was Nixon’s War, and the leftwing media wanted to hang that war around his and the GOP’s neck, which they effectively did. Most Millennials believe Nixon started it, and lost it.
In 1971 CNN was still almost a decade away from being born, and the founders of Buzzfeed’s fathers were still in college, their sons but gleams in their eyes. Besides the Pentagon Papers case said nothing about Fake News, or the malicious intent to do injury. No lies were involved in the passing by Daniel Ellsburg of the Papers to an NYT reporter named Neil Shaheen.
Ellsburg was indicted under the federal law for giving Shaheen the Papers in 1973, but his case was dismissed for misconduct by the Nixon DOJ five months later, and three years after SCOTUS allowed the NYT to publish the Papers[…]
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