Donald Trump has used media bashing to good use during his presidential primary run. It's always a win-win for a Republican to bash the media to its base, but today, Trump took it much farther than ever before.
He wants to turn back the clock and use "defamation type laws" to attack and silence the media with.
Trump said, "One of the things I'm going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we're certainly leading. I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We're going to open up those libel laws. So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected." he continued, "We we're going to open up those libel laws, folks. And we're going to have people sue you like you never got sued before.
Trump wants to turn back the clock to the good old Jim Crow days and do away with the New York Times Co. v. Sullivan case that set the precedent:
New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that established the actual malice standard, which has to be met before press reports about public officials can be considered to be defamation and libel; and hence allowed free reporting of the civil rights campaigns in the southern United States.
It is one of the key decisions supporting the freedom of the press. The actual malice standard requires that the plaintiff in a defamation or libel case prove that the publisher of the statement in question knew that the statement was false or acted in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity. Because of the extremely high burden of proof on the plaintiff, and the difficulty of proving the defendant's knowledge and intentions, such cases—when they involve public figures—rarely prevail.
Before this decision, there were nearly US $300 million in libel actions outstanding against news organizations from the Southern states, and it had caused many publications to exercise great caution when reporting on civil rights, for fear that they might be held accountable for libel. After The New York Times prevailed in this case, news organizations were free to report the widespread disorder and civil rights infringements. The Times maintained that the case against it was brought to intimidate news organizations and prevent them from reporting illegal actions of public employees in the South as they attempted to continue to support segregation.