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Brian Gawley's Portfolio

Freelance Article Writer & Editor

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In 1964 the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, in the case of the New York Times v. Sullivan, that was hailed as a tremendous victory for the news media. This decision changed the law of libel by introducing a fourth requirement of "actual malice" in addition to three previously accepted requirements--publication, identification, and defamation. In examining 18 similar cases, the theoretical perspective used in this paper is cybernetics, the study of regulation and control in systems, with emphasis on the nature of feedback. Analysis of these 18 court cases, as well as consideration of a previously conducted study, suggests that there is presently a pattern of increased caution and responsibility on the part of newspaper editors in response to negative court decisions. However, it does not appear that this caution has reached the point where it would constitute a "chilling effect."
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Over 30 days ago