Florida bill expands defamation to include false accusations of the “-isms” and “-phobias” the Left uses to destroy people
· Jan 29, 2024 · NottheBee.com

In what should be called the Nick Sandmann effect, the internet is full of mainstream media reports calling everyday people racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic, and the number of normal people calling each these names on the internet is likely incalculable.

These terms have been invented by the Left to destroy people, but since the Right gladly gives in to the word games of their enemies, everyone is afraid to be called one of these made-up words.

Since such a label can forever taint someone's reputation in terms of employment and quality of life, they are clearly defamatory, but suing anyone for defamation is incredibly difficult.

The New York Times vs. Sullivan (1964) created near impossible standards for a successful defamation lawsuit by a public figure. Someone with a modicum of fame has to prove actual malice to sue successfully.

However, normal, everyday people aren't supposed to have to prove actual malice. When the media makes them famous through defamation, the regular citizen is supposed to be protected.

That's where the Nick Sandmann cases come to mind.

In 2019, when then-minor Nick Sandmann went to DC with his class from Covington High School wearing MAGA hats, he was completely unknown.

Then, Nathan Phillips marched up to Sandmann and beat his drum in his face.

Phillips stated that Sandmann "blocked him and wouldn't allow him to retreat."

Early videos of the event were heavily edited to champion his narrative, and news outlets jumped on the event as proof that Sandmann and his MAGA friends were racists.

However, when full videos of the event were released, it quickly became clear that Phillips's version of the story was quite different than what happened.

But it was too late. Every left-leaning media group had painted Nick Sandmann as a racist.

Sandmann and his family sued every single one of them for defamation.

Some settled.

But some of the media groups fought it out, arguing that Sandmann was a public figure now, so malice wasn't a factor. They were just reporting on an event with public interest, and it was totally fair game to label this famous 16-year-old MAGA kid a racist, regardless if it was true or not.

A judge ruled in their favor, dismissing all the unsettled cases.

U.S. Senior Judge William Bertelsman threw out the idea that Sandmann was not a public figure immediately. He was internet famous as soon as the video was uploaded. From there, Sandmann's team had to prove actual malice on the part of the news organizations, making victory impossible. Bertelsmann whittled the case down to the veracity of Phillips's claim and then ruled that Phillips believed it was true, so it was okay to report Sandmann's racism as true.

Enter a new Florida bill that seems designed to deal with the legal loopholes Sandmann faced.

If passed, the law would not require actual malice to be proved for:

  • A person made famous solely from a video or pictures uploaded to the internet.
  • Statements made by a person defending their reputation.
  • Granting an interview on a subject.

And just to be safe, the law also redefines when a famous person can claim actual malice. It says that judges should infer that statements are actually malicious when:

  • The source of the claim is unidentified and anonymous.
  • The allegation is fabricated solely in the imagination of the defendant.
  • The allegation is so implausible that only a reckless person would put it into circulation.
  • There are obvious reasons to doubt the veracity of the report.
  • The defendant willfully failed to validate or corroborate the claim.

And finally, the law carves out protections for religion and science.

  • A defendant cannot prove the truth of an allegation of discrimination with respect to sexual orientation or gender identity by citing a plaintiff's constitutionally protected religious expression or beliefs.
  • A defendant cannot prove the truth of an allegation of discrimination with respect to sexual orientation or gender identity by citing a plaintiff's scientific beliefs.

Scientific Beliefs?

While I appreciate the law as a worthy effort to deal with these legal loopholes the Left is employing to attack anyone they see as a standing in the way of "real communism," one has to wonder if there's anything in this law that would keep it from being used as a cudgel of the Left.

For example, Libs of TikTok often reports on videos that were posted to the internet, and those people are only famous because of those videos. They're being discussed because of gender identity, race, and sex issues, and they do have their own sets of scientific beliefs.

Could this law allow them to sue her in Florida for defamation?

Despite my reservations, seeing that mainstream media reports about the law are very, very unhappy, I guess I'll count it as a win for now.

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