Times v. Sullivan: Landmark or Land Mine on the Road to Ethical Journalism?

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 17 (1):3-19 (2002)

In this article I address the ethical implications of the legal issues the U. S. Supreme Court resolved in New York Times v. Sullivan and its progeny. In a ruling with far-reaching moral implications, the Court addressed truthtelling-journalism's primary ethical directive-and undermined it by favoring other moral principles and social goals. Much of this article focuses on the ethical arguments addressed to the Court in legal briefs that sought rulings that would support fundamental principals of ethical journalism. The creation of actual malice as a legal concept in the Sullivan case owes more to the Court's pursuit of other moral and social values than strict legal reasoning, according to the descriptive theory of pragmatic instrumentalism, which informs this analysis.
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DOI 10.1207/s15327728jmme1701_02
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Media Lawyers as Factors in the Ethical Decisions of Journalists.Sigman L. Splichal - 1997 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 12 (2):101 – 108.

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