Advertisement

July 22, 2014

The Legal Risks of Blogging

Andrew Breitbart was a conservative American publisher, commentator, author and editor. He worked for such outlets as the The Washington Times and the news aggregation and blogging site Drudge Report. He was either part of the movement (if you ask Republicans) or his work was “revolting and some of it unethical or sloppy” (if you ask some Democrats). Either way, he was an American and had as much freedom of speech as the next man.

But a lawsuit against the late Breitbart is testing bloggers’ freedom of speech rights. And former government employee (and target of Breitbart’s wrath) Shirley Sherrod is behind it.

Sherrod was ousted from her job as an Agriculture Department rural development official in 2010 after Breitbart posted an edited video of Sherrod, who is black, supposedly making racist remarks. She sued Breitbart, his employee Larry O’Connor and an unnamed defendant for defamation and emotional distress after USDA officials asked her to resign and the video ignited a racial firestorm. Sherrod’s lawyers say the unnamed defendant is the person whom they believe passed the video on to Breitbart, though the person’s identity remains unknown.

Though the lawsuit was filed a little more than a year ago, it’s back in the news now, as a colleague of Breitbart’s is asking a federal court of appeals to throw out the suit, saying it violates the blogger’s freedom of speech. There are also claims that it violates Washington’s anti-SLAPP statute.

However it ends, it’s clear that the freedom of bloggers and journalists to express their views is being tested. The Breitbart case is not the first incident and will certainly  not be the last. But we must remember, freedom of speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy.

Risk Management Magazine and Risk Management Monitor. Copyright 2014 Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Editor

Emily Holbrook is the editor of Risk Management magazine and the Risk Management Monitor blog.

212-655-5915

Boost: AJAX core statistics

Legal Disclaimer

You are responsible for reading, understanding and agreeing to the National Law Review's (NLR’s) and the National Law Forum LLC's  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using the National Law Review website. The National Law Review is a free to use, no-log in database of legal and business articles. The content and links on www.NatLawReview.com are intended for general information purposes only. Any legal analysis, legislative updates or other content and links should not be construed as legal or professional advice or a substitute for such advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by the transmission of information between you and the National Law Review website or any of the law firms, attorneys or other professionals or organizations who include content on the National Law Review website. If you require legal or professional advice, kindly contact an attorney or other suitable professional advisor.  

Some states have laws and ethical rules regarding solicitation and advertisement practices by attorneys and/or other professionals. The National Law Review is not a law firm nor is www.NatLawReview.com  intended to be  a referral service for attorneys and/or other professionals. The NLR does not wish, nor does it intend, to solicit the business of anyone or to refer anyone to an attorney or other professional.  NLR does not answer legal questions nor will we refer you to an attorney or other professional if you request such information from us. 

Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

The National Law Review - National Law Forum LLC 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 47 #230 Western Springs, IL 60558  Telephone  (708) 357-3317 If you would ike to contact us via email please click here.