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Your Turn: Does America Need Tougher Libel Laws?

by Countable | 1.11.18

What’s the story?

During a public portion of a cabinet meeting in the White House, President Donald Trump said:

"We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws, so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts."

The president added:

"Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness."

Trump’s remarks came a day after his personal lawyer filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed News. And last week, another Trump lawyer sent an 11-page cease-and-desist letter to the publisher of Michael Wolff’s book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."

What do you think?

Do you agree with the president? Are American libel laws "a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values"? Would you like to see tougher laws? Would you welcome having a more “meaningful recourse in our courts”?

Use your (for now) free speech rights and let us – and your lawmakers - know. We’ll feature some of your comments in an upcoming article.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: DNY59 / iStock)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(136)
  • Donna
    01/11/2018
    ···

    DJT is the least self-aware person on the planet. It is laughable that the man who said Obama was not eligible to be president because he was not born in this country, accused the previous administration of tapping Trump Tower, accused Ted Cruz's father of assassinating JFK, has lied thousands of times to the public in less than a year, called James Comey a 'Nut Job' in a meeting with the Russians and made other derogatory and libelous remarks in the last two years, thinks the libel laws are too lax. What he really means is he wants the DOJ or Congress to figure out a way for him to suppress our 1st Amendment rights when criticism is directed his way. He is too thin-skinned and egocentric to be a politician. He should go back to the entertainment world where his 'performances' won't affect the lives of over 300 million Americans and he can dictate the script to only show himself in the best of situations. The Oval Office is not reality TV and most of the country is not entertained by the constant fear that our democratic republic is slowly becoming an autocratic regime.

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  • Michael
    01/11/2018
    ···

    I find it ironic that the man who lies constantly and makes false accusations would call for stricter libel laws. We do not need stricter libel laws, as that would infringe on the first amendment. We need a President that actually puts this country's interested above his and corporations and the wealthy.

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  • Anne
    01/11/2018
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    No!!! trump has no problem getting rid of regulations that protect the American people but if he gets his feelings hurt he wants new regulations. Has he forgotten all of the lies he told about Obama, McCain, the Clintons, etc, etc? Doesn’t he think it might backfire on him. Laws should be made and strengthened when there is a need, not because the president is a thin skinned narcissistic baby!!!

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  • RadicalModerate
    01/11/2018
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    I don’t mind fake news, but could I please have a real President?

    Like (45)
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  • Truly
    01/11/2018
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    Wow. Does the moron in chief have any understanding of libel? I hope “crooked Hillary”, “lyin Ted, and “Kenyon born Muslim” Obama and the rest sue the crap out of him.

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  • Julie
    01/12/2018
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    I think a so-called President who lies 2k times in under a year should be the last person talking about libel. Especially given his birtherism and his kooky theory about Ted Cruz's dad and JFK. Pot or Kettle Cheeto, pot or kettle.

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  • Trevor
    01/12/2018
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    As a journalism student, i can confidently say libel laws do not need changing. Our president is only attempting to make the public believe that critical journalism is false journalism. If it was actually libelous he would have sued (and won) many court battles by now— BUT HE HASN’T! A bill to strengthen libel laws would and should never pass in Congress.

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  • Larry
    01/11/2018
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    No - people just need to grow a set and not whine when their feelings get hurt.

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  • Christine
    01/11/2018
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    Seriously? This from the Obama birther lie originator? Doesn’t djt have more important things to tend to like his upcoming interview under oath with Mr. Mueller?

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  • Kirsten
    01/11/2018
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    Please, give us a break. No, our libel laws are fine, the problem is the person currently occupying the White House. He can’t help himself from being completely self centered & self serving. He also seems to lack any self awareness. He’s quite ridiculous.

    Like (17)
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  • Jeanne
    01/11/2018
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    Libel laws do not need revision. What is needed is something (that is not an error) in the White House with the mentality higher than a 3 year old.

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  • Fred
    01/11/2018
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    No need for the Fourth Reich

    Like (14)
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  • Wendy
    01/12/2018
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    Donny should be careful what he wishes for. Glass houses etc.

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  • raucreativity
    01/12/2018
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    During the election cycle, this is the number one comment from then candidate Trump that scared the hell out of me. Threatening the press by using the power of the presidency and the law to bully them into submission? When I heard him say this, I thought to myself, “Here is a man who does not understand freedom.”

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  • Joe
    01/12/2018
    ···

    Again, for nearly the 150th time, our very ignorant and contemptible president shows his total lack of knowledge of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the rule of law in America. Someone with knowledge and no fear of the president should inform him that there are NO federal laws of libel and slander; that all libel and slander laws are state laws, created by state legislatures and lawsuits are brought in state courts. Therefore, neither the president, the congress nor the attorney general have any jurisdiction whatever over how those laws are created or implemented. They cannot make them stronger nor weaker. Anyone who thinks he/she has been injured by the writing or talk of another person has a right to bring a lawsuit in state court and seek a judgement for money. The burden of proof is totally on the person suing and the absolute defense to any such lawsuit is TRUTH! Then there is that pesky Bill of Rights which DJT hates called the First Amendment and that part that protects the speech and writing says in part: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech or of the press...." (1787) Donal J. Trump is the most ignorant and contemptable person to ever hold the office of the Presidency in my 76 years of living. He is an autocrat, and the Republican majority of both Houses of Congress are either worthless or are moving with him toward creating an autocracy in America (like Russia). WE THE PEOPLE have it within our power to save our Nation in 2018 and 2020 and it MUST be done!!

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  • Alexis
    01/12/2018
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    An entire nation does not change its laws to suit one temperamental person having a temper tantrum. What Trump is really complaining about is that the truth is the best defense in any libel case. He wants to erase that defense and the First Amendment while he’s at it.

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  • Lexpost
    01/12/2018
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    I wish that SOMEBODY had told him that when somebody is elected president, there a lot of people who will say things about him that he will not like, they will write things about him that he will not like and that they will draw funny pictures of him that he will utterly hate. This is America, not Trumpistan.

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  • Terri
    01/12/2018
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    Why, because cry baby wants to sue someone for saying something he didn’t like? No, our laws are just fine.

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  • Robert
    01/12/2018
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    Donald Trump is a sham and a disgrace and does not represent American values or American fairness. What is more, he has made it clear since before he was nominated that what he has in mind is a revision of the libel laws which would enable him to attack the First Amendment by suing anyone who criticizes him. He is a wolf in wolf's clothing, and only the sheep see him as anything else

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  • Matthew
    01/12/2018
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    Just because the Manchurian whines about something does not mean it needs to be “tougher.” Journalists, writers, publishers KNOW THEIR CAREERS ARE OVER if they are writing something blatantly wrong. There are already tough laws to prevent misguided reports from being published. Just because someone challenges the Manchurian does not mean that person is wrong. Please stop spinning the “problems” that the Manchurian presents because the problem is him and what he has done to our once great country.

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