Should Journalists Who Propagated the Russia Collusion Hoax Be Jailed?

Roger Simon asks that question. He rightly indicts the journalists who spread the idiotic lie that President Trump “colluded” with Putin’s Russia:

[A] penalty of some kind, indeed a serious one, should certainly be levied for misinforming the public on the most important subject of our day, which has happened repeatedly over the last few years concerning the Russia probe. And when these prevarications can be shown to have been deliberate, to have been done knowingly, difficult as that may be to prove, the line to sedition may have been crossed and there is an argument the reporters involved should face legal consequences. They should also be fired.
Many of the major media organizations and their reporters lied about Russia collusion on a regular basis, even, in the cases of the New York Times and the Washington Post, winning Pulitzers for their deceptions.

This evolved out of what we might call a “systemic folie á deux,” a corrupt alliance between the (almost always anonymous) leaker with an ax to grind and the leakee (i. e. the reporter) who is all too eager to grind that ax. A search for the leakers, who are in legal jeopardy, is putatively underway by the DOJ, but, although it obviously takes two for this pernicious tango, the leakees seem bound to get off scot-free.

Unjust? Of course, it is. And not so deep down, the media outlets know this.

In the end, Roger isn’t serious about jailing journalists, much as they might deserve it. But I would add this observation: Why is it that journalists who lied about Russia collusion will no doubt “get off scot-free,” while proudly displaying Pulitzers on their mantels? Why is it that the media organizations that employ them and share their political biases feel no need to sanction them in any way, let alone fire them?

The answer, I think, has a lot to do with the virtual abolition of libel law in the political arena. In a sane legal environment, journalists who published lies about people like Carter Page, and even President Trump, would have to worry about legal liability and the humiliation that comes with an adverse jury verdict. More important, perhaps, their employers would have to worry about paying civil judgments.

But when it comes to defamation, we don’t have a sane legal environment. The U.S. Supreme Court has seen to that in a series of decisions that deserve to be controversial. Wherever you think the boundaries of defamation law should properly be drawn, I think it is almost indisputable that our current legal regime goes too far in immunizing reporters, editors, newspapers and cable news networks against the consequences of negligently or maliciously propagating career-destroying and life-destroying falsehoods about public figures and matters of public interest.

Maybe if President Trump gets another Supreme Court appointment our extremist defamation jurisprudence will be moderated so that there is at least a possibility of holding journalists accountable.

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