Trump wants to weaken libel laws

Feeling maligned by the media, Donald Trump is threatening to weaken First Amendment protections for reporters if he were president and make it easier for him to sue them.

"I love free press. I think it's great," he said Saturday on Fox News Channel, before quickly adding, "We ought to open up the libel laws, and I'm going to do that."

The changes envisioned by the celebrity businessman turned Republican front-runner would mean that "when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money," he said at a rally Friday in Fort Worth, Texas.

Trump added that, should he win the election, news organizations that have criticized him will "have problems." He specifically cited The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Trump last month threatened to sue the Post after the newspaper wrote an article about the bankruptcy of his Atlantic City casino. On Twitter, Trump has routinely criticized reporters who cover him and their news organizations, including The Associated Press.

"The press has to be fair," he said in the broadcast interview.

First Amendment advocates condemned Trump's suggestions.

"His statement shows why we need libel protections," said Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for the Washington-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "Trump gets offended, he gets upset and he wants to sue to retaliate. That's not a good reason to sue someone."

Libel law in the United States generally makes it difficult for public figures to sue reporters or other people who criticize them. To win such a case, the plaintiff must demonstrate that factually incorrect statements were made with actual malice or a reckless disregard for the truth.

Trump said he would like to lower that standard. "We're going to have people sue you like you never got sued before," he said.

Because the Supreme Court has repeatedly endorsed the existing legal standard, Trump could not change libel laws as they affect public figures by executive order or even with an act of Congress, Leslie said.

"I've never heard of politicians say they would repeal case law established under the First Amendment," he said. "You'd really need a constitutional amendment to do that."

Read more on FOX NEWS

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

WATCH FOX 7 NEWS LIVE

FOX 7 News streams at the following times (all times Central):


Monday - Friday

4:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.

12 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Saturday

6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday

6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.



Schedule subject to change in the event of network sports coverage.

We also stream press conferences and other breaking news coverage from time to time. When we are not in a live newscast, you will see replays of the most recent broadcast.

To enter full screen Mode click the button.

For closed captioning, click on the button while in full screen mode.

Desktop/tablet users: To choose the stream's video quality, click on the button (while in full screen mode) and choose from 432p or 270p.

Mobile users:The video quality default is to your phone's settings.

Please allow time for buffering. If the stream stalls, refresh your browser. Thanks for watching

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories