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Trump Wants New Libel Laws To Stop 'Horrible And False' Articles

Trump says he wants to sue media outlets for printing unfavorable articles against him.
Posted at 10:13 PM, Feb 27, 2016

In case you haven't noticed, Donald Trump does not like the media. He recently told a crowd in Texas he would stop newspapers like The New York Times from publishing unfavorable articles. 

"I'm going to open up our libel laws so that when they write purposefully negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money," Donald Trump said to a crowd in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Times has published quite a few editorials painting Trump in a less than flattering light. But it's unlikely Trump would be able to win any lawsuit against the publication unless he managed to nominate someone to the Supreme Court who could work to overturn New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.

The president is considered a public figure, and according to the New York Times Co. v. Sullivan precedent, public figures have to prove "actual malice" to win a libel case. That basically means the paper knowingly published a false or improperly researched statement.

And since the press protections are rooted in the First Amendment, any unilateral executive actions Trump takes as president to alter those laws would likely overstep his constitutional authority.

However, The Washington Post points out "Trump could simply use the bully pulpit to promote a culture of frivolous libel suits that ultimately wouldn't go anywhere but would force media companies to spend precious resources on defending themselves." 

But hey, at least Trump only threatened to sue the naysayers instead of potentially throwing them in jail like in EgyptTurkey or China.

This video includes images from Getty Images and clips from Donald J. Trump for President.