Media Law Multiple Choice Questions
In most states, the law has traditionally treated libel and slander as
A. a. criminal actions.
B. b. civil actions.
C. c. matters to be heard in equity court.
D. d. none of the above.
Which were some of the results of NYT v. Sullivan?
A. libel law was “consitutionalized”
B. actual malice standard was articulated
C. it became harder for public officials to win libel suits
D. all of the above
Some courts have used three criteria suggested by the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether a reporter or editor exhibited reckless disregard for the truth. Which of the following is not one of these three?
A. Was there time to check the story?
B. How reliable was the source of the story?
C. Was the story probable/believable?
D. Did the reporter follow standard journalistic standards of his organization?
A newspaper report states the following: “On March 2, Bastiaan Vanacker was arrested for indecent exposure.” However, what really happened was that someone called Sebastian Van Akker was arrested on March first for indecent exposure. The journalist made a mistake when reading the police report. Both Vanacker and Van Akker sue the newspaper for libel. Given libel jurisprudence, which of the following is most likely to happen? They both are private figures.
A. a. Bastiaan Vanacker wins a libel suit , Sebastian Van Akker loses.
B. b. Sebastian Van Akker wins a libel suit, Bastiaan Vanacker loses a libel suit.
C. c. They both win a libel suit.
D. d. They both lose a libel suit
In a book review, a reviewer writes the following:
“Author Patrick Morsevile’s book is not only excruciatingly boring, it also lacks originality. As I trudged through the chapters, I felt like I had read it all before. A feeling that proved to be well-founded, as Morsevile used whole sentences that were lifted verbatim from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.” When sued for libel, do you think the reviewer could successfully claim this was an opinion?
A reporter writes in the LA Times that Charlie Sheen spent the night partying with two prostitutes in a Vegas hotel suite. However, the night that this allegedly happened, Sheen was with his publicist in LA. and went to bed at 8 p.m. The reporter admits that he made the whole story up and knew it was false. What would the most likely defense for the journalist be?
A. arguing Sheen is libel proof in this instance
B. arguing Sheen is a public figure
C. arguing that the statement is rhetorical hyperbole
D. arguing that the report was substantially true
Which phrase below is most closely synonymous with “celebrity?”
A. A. public official
B. B. all-purpose public figure
C. C. limited-purpose public figure
D. D. plaintiff
A student at Glorious State University, with 500 faculty, sends an e-mail message to all members of her media law class saying, “Many GSU faculty—in all departments—sell heroin to the students.” A GSU English professor likely
A. A. could not successfully sue for libel because the professor could not prove identification
B. B. could not successfully sue for libel because the statement contains nothing a jury could find defamatory
C. C. could successfully sue for libel
D. D. both b and c
During a city council meeting, council members have to decide whether or not to renew the contract the city has with a private waste disposal company. One council member remarks that the city should no longer deal with the company because its CEO, Paulie Walnuts, is deeply involved with organized crime. Other council members come to Walnuts defense and point out that he is an upstanding citizen who has never been arrested or charged with a crime and does not deserve to be vilified.
The next day the local newspaper reports on the council meeting and briefly addresses the waste disposal issue in this one sentence: “The city is considering not renewing its contract with Corleone Waste Disposal because the company’s CEO is deeply involved with organized crime.”
Walnuts sues the paper for libel. Could the paper mount a “qualified privilege” defense?
A. A. No, city council meetings are not covered by the privilege
B. B. No, the reporter did NOT report all sides of the issue by not mentioning the fact that other council members defended Walnuts therefore the privilege does not apply
C. C. Yes, the privilege applies
D. D. No, the privilege does not apply to statements that are libel per so
Which of the following is not a libel defense?
A. A. opinion
B. B. rhetorical hyperbole
C. C. fair comment and criticism
D. D. actual malice
A. is reckless disregard for the truth or knowledge of falsity
B. is reckless disregard for truth or writing a libelous statement out of spite
C. is knowledge of falsity or ting a libelous statement out of spite
D. what private figures need to prove in order to win a libel suit
Joan is intent on getting the City of Westview to build more bike lanes. She has written many letters to the local paper, been a guest on local radio talk shows, appeared numerous times before the city council, and even paid for a billboard urging her cause. One day a local radio station talk show host says that two years ago Joan ran her car into a bicyclist who was riding in a bike lane. Joan says the story is false and sues the station (and the show host) for libel. What level of fault will Joan have to prove, and why?
A. A. actual malice, because the majority of states require plaintiffs suing the press for libel to prove actual malice
B. B. negligence, because Joan is a private individual
C. C. negligence, because the libelous statement does not directly relate to the public controversy
D. D. actual malice, because Joan is a limited-purpose public figure as she voluntarily thrust herself into a public controversy
Summary judgment means
A. that a court provides both parties with a summary of its judgment instead of just issuing a ruling from the bench
B. that the plaintiff in a libel suit automatically wins the case because the defendant’s actions were so outrageous
C. that a court dismissed a lawsuit because the plaintiff clearly fails to meet the burden of proof for one or more elements of the libel claim
Jerome tells Chris, a reporter for the Gazette, that Ron robbed a local bank. The Gazette prints the story. Ron claims the story is not true and sues for libel. Ron
A. A. can successfully sue the Gazette because it republished a libel
B. B. cannot successfully sue the Gazette because it only republished a libel
C. C. cannot successfully sue the Gazette because it accurately printed what Jerome told Chris
D. D. can successfully sue Chris, but not the Gazette, because Chris wrote the story
View this related post: The Concept of Strict Liability.
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