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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Public Trust in Journalists and Libel Law

Americans have more respect for journalists than do readers in other nations, and the court allows the media to make innocent mistakes and not be punished. But the latitude the press is granted is also a responsibility. If authors and publishers let too many errors slip through, the presumption of the good intentions and integrity of the author--particularly the investigative reporter--will begin to disintegrate, and the public will begin to wish that we had a libel law more like that of the United Kingdom, which presumes that a contested statement is false unless proven true by the defending author or editor. There, journalism is often regarded as an irresponsible profession for dilettantes, and cynicism runs high. 

Sarah Harrison Smith, The Fact Checker's Bible: A Guide to Getting it Right, 2004

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