Read Chapter 4 in your Textbook and answer the following questions:
Q #1 – What is the difference between libel and slander? If you go on to a career in the media
business, which of the two are you more likely to confront? Why?
Q#2 – List and explain the six elements of a libel claim.
Q#3 – Why are statements of opinion protected? How do you tell the difference between a
statement of opinion and a statement of fact? Is the following statement a statement of opinion or
of fact and why do you reach your conclusion: “In my opinion, Tom is a convicted felon.”
Q #4 – Describe the two standards of fault and to which groups of people does each apply?
Look at the document “CCM Words of Warning.” This is a list prepared by a law firm in the
Southeastern United states several decades ago. They intended it as a list of inflammatory words
for their media clients to avoid in their news reporting as being likely defamatory. But whether a
comment is defamatory is measured by local community standards at the relevant time.
Q #5 – Examine this list of words that were risky in the Southeast several decades ago and
identify three words that were risky then and there that are not likely to be considered
defamatory in Cincinnati in 2020 and explain why you think this.
Look at the document “CCM – Millionaire.” This is a transcript of a drive time radio broadcast
aired by a San Francisco radio station, KLLC. It is about a woman who worked at a competing
station in the same market, KFRC. This woman had just appeared in one of the first tv reality
shows – Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, where 50 women competed tor a $35,000 wedding
ring, a new car, and marriage to a complete stranger. The KFRC employee did not win the
contest, but the final program had not yet aired and so no one knew who won (except that word
of the KFRC employee’s loss had apparently leaked to KLLC). The KLLC drive time hosts
invited the KFRC employee onto their show to be interviewed. The KFRC employee, suspecting
that their ulterior motive was to humiliate her on their talk show, declined. The transcript is a
record of the conversation that was aired by KLLC.
Q #6 – Identify three quotes from this transcript that might be libelous. Analyze each of them in
the context of the six elements of a libel claim and then tell me whether you think the quote
creates a likelihood of a successful claim and why or why not.
Look at the document “CCM – Harrassment.” Libel does not always have to be in words. Libel
can take the form of a photo or illustration; or it can be caused by the juxtaposition of an image
and caption, text, or headline; or a video clip and an unrelated voiceover.
Q #7 – Does the combination of the photo in this story in the Enquirer with the story, headline,
and caption constitute libel? Explain your analysis in the context of the six necessary elements.
(and be sure to look closely at the photo credit.)
Look at the document “CCM – B2.0 images.” This was the cover of a trade magazine for an
issue where the lead story was about Ken Lay, the CEO of a company that went bankrupt after
the disclosure of a financial scandal. In an effort to shore up the confidence of his employees and
avoid what turned out to be the inevitable collapse of the company, Mr. Lay wrote some things
in an email that he knew at the time were untrue.
As you’ve seen, libel can be expressed in words; it can arise from the juxtaposition of words and
images, video and unrelated audio. And, it can consist of an image alone, even a photograph,
which is ostensibly simply a capture of the facts before the camera.
Q #8 – There are two possible defamatory statements being express in the B2.0 Cover
illustration, one literal and one metaphorical. Describe each one and analyze it in terms of the
elements of a libel claim. With respect to each, state whether you think a libel claim is likely to
be successful and explain why you think that.
Q#9 – What two things are required before any given court has the power to decide any given
Q#10 – Describe the two different types of WFH and explain the differences between them
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