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Does America Need Tougher Libel Laws?

by Countable | Updated on 9.5.18

UPDATE - September 5, 2018:

  • President Donald Trump is asking for changes in libel laws in anticipation of Bob Woodward's upcoming book, "Fear," which reveals a "nervous breakdown" of the presidency.

  • After claiming last night that the book is "a con on the public," the president tweeted on Wednesday morning:

Should Washington politicians change libel laws? Hit Take Action and let them know, then share your thoughts below.

Countable's original story appears below.


What’s the story?

During a cabinet meeting in the White House last week, President Donald Trump said:

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

Countable asked if you, as Americans, agreed.

Here are some comments we want to highlight, but we encourage you to read them all in the original post.

"I find it ironic that the man who lies constantly and makes false accusations would call for stricter libel laws…"

Read all of Michael’s comment.

"I agree vehemently that the libel laws need…serious attention. ESPECIALLY in the current political climate!!!"

Read all of Josepha a’s comment.

"He’s right on here."

Read all of Joel’s comment.

"I’d say stricter libel laws for politicians for sure not for the rest of the United States. There should be a law that states that all federal and state politicians must be truthful to their constituents."

Read all of Darby’s comment.

"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…"

Read all of Donna’s comment.

"There is massive libel against Conservatives everyday by the groupthink left and media-Democrat complex everyday…"

Read all of Bernie’s comment.

"Yes, so that we would all form a class action suit to sue trump for all the lying bs that has come out of his mouth."

Read all of Pam’s comment.

"READ, WEEP, PRINT AND KEEP! This should be on the front page of every newspaper…"

Read all of Michael n angie’s comment.

"Libel is in the ear of the listener."

Read all of GatewayJohn’s comment.

"We need laws against false news stories but only if they can proven to be false and not just said they are false."

Read all of Holly’s comment.

"Not a bad idea, really, in spite of all the name calling in here. Look at the Me Too movement; women are destroying men’s lives with just a few words. Any reasonable person would question the veracity of a group of women who, all at the same time, accuse a man of sexual impropriety that happened years ago…"

Read all of Timothy’s comment.

"Yes and no. What we need is to restore bipartisan news and remove people like Alex jones. Yellow journalism and propaganda shouldn’t have a place in our society."

Read all of Ben’s comment.

What do you think?

Want to add your voice to the discussion? Hit Take Action and tell your lawmakers to protect - or rework - libel laws. And until those laws change, feel free to say anything below.

—Josh Herman

*(Photo Credit: iStock.com / brazzo) *

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(137)
  • Ted
    01/16/2018
    ···

    Our libel laws are just fine. Our president, who has no discernible character, needs to be replaced. Impeachment cannot come too soon.

    Like (67)
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  • Lenore
    Voted No
    09/06/2018
    ···

    Please vote "no" on Kavanaugh; he does not represent the people.

    Like (2)
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  • Bernie
    Voted Yes
    09/06/2018
    ···

    The irony the person wanting these tougher laws is the worse public offender. I do wish that Congress would pass laws that campaigns can not be so slanderous. These nasty campaigns and advertising is so demoralizing to the American public .

    Like (2)
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  • Nancy
    Voted Maybe
    09/07/2018
    ···

    ONLY IF THE ACTUALLY PROTECT THE INNOCENT AND TRUMPY IS NOT INNOCENT!!!!

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  • Marcus
    01/16/2018
    ···

    Let’s all take a moment of silence to revel in the irony that the rallying cry for new libel laws came from a man who claimed the former president wire tapped Trump Towers and gave absolutely no evidence to back up his claim. And before that? He was doing the tin-foil hat circuit and pandering that the former president wasn’t born in this country. Do we need stronger Libel Laws? Yes. Laws that hold the president accountable for the things he says. Laws that prevent news organizations from taking a side left or right. Or at least making every effort to disclose to their viewers that they’re peddling opinions and not facts. We need laws that take strong and decisive action on the spread of fake news (again, looking at you, Donnie). And everyone who acts against other people in harmful ways against others because of false information needs to be held accountable. Taking that a step further, the people who peddle such nonsense that lead to damage need to be held accountable too. Do not, I repeat, do NOT sponsor, author, or support legislation that’s anything less than something that takes a stand on tin foil news outlets and blow hard presidents who think they’re above citing sources. Just because an individual has the right to stupidity doesn’t mean we have to take the rest of the country down that road too.

    Like (60)
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  • Bob
    Voted No
    09/05/2018
    ···

    Libel laws are an infringement on freedom of speech and a big reason people tend to believe whatever they're told. After all, if libel is illegal, then any baseless story that the media puts out can be assumed to be credible.

    Like (2)
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  • Ryan
    Voted Yes
    09/06/2018
    ···

    Yes, for politicians and bureaucrats absolutely; as for the general public, I'm not so sure.

    Like (1)
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  • Victoria
    Voted Maybe
    09/06/2018
    ···

    There should maybe be stricter laws for candidates and leaders who knowingly deceive the public. For example Trump’s claim that President Obama wasn’t born in the US.

    Like
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  • Brian
    01/16/2018
    ···

    It’s ironic that a president that can’t seem to go a single hour without telling a lie is asking such a thing...🎉2018 = accountability

    Like (44)
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  • Karen
    01/16/2018
    ···

    Trump is simply trying another way to silence our free press. He has no intention of stopping his assault on our First Amendment right to a media without governmental interference.

    Like (32)
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  • M
    01/17/2018
    ···

    We don't need tougher libel laws. We need a president with ethics!

    Like (19)
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  • Vanessa
    01/16/2018
    ···

    He oughta know....He’s tested them for over a year now...

    Like (16)
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  • Countryfirst
    01/17/2018
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    #45 is a lying unethical immoral money grubbing racist misogynist xenophobic bigot..so sue me!!!

    Like (15)
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  • Christine
    01/17/2018
    ···

    We are briskly moving towards a dictatorship. Evidence: djt grousing about libel laws, placing a ‘gag order’ on Bannon, surveillance on US citizens, attacking the media, closing the door on immigrants, attacking LGBTQ rights, etc... Wake up America!

    Like (13)
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  • Loretta
    01/17/2018
    ···

    Trump does not represent our values

    Like (13)
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  • Linda
    01/16/2018
    ···

    No. Our right to free speech is absolute. Hands off, sir.

    Like (11)
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  • Mary
    01/17/2018
    ···

    We do not need tougher libel laws. We must maintain a free press. We must hold our elected officials accountable for upholding the First Amendment and telling the truth.

    Like (10)
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  • Keith
    01/17/2018
    ···

    We don’t need tougher libel laws, we need congressional republicans to start doing their legislative duty, and hold the executive branch accountable. How long does this man need to attack news medias that don’t stroke his ego before you act? Exactly how many lies and denials of videotape, transcript, and Twitter-feed evidence before you act? How exactly unfit does he need to act? Because all President Obama had to do, was take office in order for Mitch McConnell to act against him. Trump has been in office for a year, and has actually exhibited conduct unbefitting the POTUS, and he has suddenly forgotten how to do that. This has gone on too long. Congressional Republicans, do something about your chief representative. Because when Republicans send us their people, they aren’t sending their best. They’re liars, avaricious, misogynist. Some of them, I assume, are good people.

    Like (9)
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  • Chloé
    01/17/2018
    ···

    America DOES NOT need tougher libel laws. What the president said the other day about increasing libel laws specifically to protect the office of the presidency even more so is so horrifically Dictator-like it makes my stomach churn. He is an authoritarian nightmare waiting to happen. If you continue to allow this man to run this country, he will begin to execute his political enemies, he will fire anyone with democratic connections, and he will turn this country into a dystopian wasteland far worse than even Margaret Atwood could have conjured up in novels. Please, please do not allow him to take away the right for citizens to critique and criticize and report what they find, even if he denies the authenticity of the statements/accusations. This is a FREE country. Or it least it was, before January 20, 2017.

    Like (8)
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  • Countryfirst
    01/17/2018
    ···

    The BIGGEST liar in the country is the one screaming about libel laws..what a total joke and waste of time. #45 is a disgusting vile PIG!

    Like (7)
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  • Jessica
    01/17/2018
    ···

    No we need to protect the Constitution, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, is what we need

    Like (6)
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  • HockeyGuy
    01/17/2018
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    No, we do not need new libel laws, we need to apply the current laws fairly, and not based upon socioeconomic status or ethnic qualities such as the color of your skin, language you speak, gender, etc!

    Like (6)
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  • Hulagurl1
    09/05/2018
    ···

    There is nothing wrong with Libel law. Trump is getting nervous because everything he has done will come to light. Stop him in his tracks and don’t allow him to change anything!

    Like (6)
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  • RadicalModerate
    01/17/2018
    ···

    Then what? Remove the word lie, from our language replace it with less truth? Put an app on everyone’s phone, to monitor for thought crime?

    Like (6)
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  • David
    09/05/2018
    ···

    The man who occupies the Office of the President needs to be careful what he asks for. He should be grateful they are what they are. But then, he an Kavanaugh both believe Trump is above the law.

    Like (5)
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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    01/17/2018
    ···

    America needs Ethics policies and anti-oppression laws. America needs to apply “....of The People, By The People, For The People” for every Bill that is presented and existing. If a law or policy cannot meet the above, then it does not have the merits to become law or remain law.

    Like (5)
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