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Why, Rodney Smolla asks, have so many people--people as various as Ralph Nader, Clint Eastwood, Lillian Hellman, and Jerry Falwell--taken to suing the...
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Why, Rodney Smolla asks, have so many people--people as various as Ralph Nader, Clint Eastwood, Lillian Hellman, and Jerry Falwell--taken to suing the press? Are they mainly interested in money, vengeance, or the restoration of honor? Is the press under fire because it has grown too arrogant and oracular--attempting to set national agendas and monopolize the dispensation of truth? How important is the protection of reputation and privacy in American society, and how should those interests be reconciled with the competing social interests in robust freedom of speech? Are Americans becoming too thin--skinned, too devoted to self-image? Or are the problems of the media in court primarily of the media's own making?
To shed light on these and other crucial issues, Smolla examines both the individual lawsuits and broader themes involving the economics of media litigation, the cultural forces that affect libel judgements, and the special problems posed by particular types of expression, such as fictionial works. The media outlets discussed are as varied as the personalities initiating the suits--from The New York Times and The Washington Post to Penthouse and Hustler. Continually lively and provocative, this book reveals much about the media's shortcomings and virtues, not to mention the American character itself.
About the Author
Rodney A. Smolla is Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
What the recent spate of lawsuits against the media reveal about our society
· A lively glimpse into important aspects of the American character
· Filled with personalities ranging from Carol Burnett to Ralph Nader