National Review Not Liable for Mark Steyn’s Blog Post About Michael Mann
Libel lawsuits by public figures famously require that the plaintiff show that the defendant wrote with “actual malice,” which is to say knowing that the statement was false or likely false. But of course most media libel cases aren’t brought just against writers; they are also brought against the media enterprises that published the libel. How do you determine what an organization knows?
It turns out that, generally speaking (and in particular in libel cases), you focus on what its employees know. Thus, if a newspaper or magazine publishes a libelous article by its employee, and the employee knows the statement is false, then the publication is also on the hook. But if it publishes an article by a nonemployee third party (e.g., a syndicated columnist or an occasional op-ed writer), then it’s only liable if some employee (e.g., an editor) knew the article was false.
Hence the result in Mann v. National Review,
Article from Latest – Reason.com