- Jan 8, 2021
Federal judge warns 'dangerous' media has 'very close to one-party control' in blistering libel case dissent
A federal appeals court judge has offered a blistering dissent in an obscure libel case that takes the measure of the mainstream media's bias.
However, in the course of his partial dissent, D.C. Circuit Court Judge Laurence Silberman went on an unprecedented written tirade against the press, in which he argued that the Supreme Court should revisit the landmark 1964 New York Times v. Sullivan ruling that granted the media broad First Amendment protections from being sued by public officials.
"[N]ew considerations have arisen over the last 50 years that make the New York Times decision (which I believe I have faithfully applied in my dissent) a threat to American Democracy," he write. "It must go."
"The increased power of the press is so dangerous today because we are very close to one-party control of these institutions," said Silberman, who was nominated to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan and has been a senior judge on the D.C. Circuit Court since 2000.
"Although the bias against the Republican Party—not just controversial individuals—is rather shocking today, this is not new; it is a long-term, secular trend going back at least to the ’70s," Silberman wrote. "Two of the three most influential papers (at least historically), The New York Times and The Washington Post, are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets. And the news section of The Wall Street Journal leans in the same direction. The orientation of these three papers is followed by The Associated Press and most large papers across the country (such as the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, and Boston Globe). Nearly all television—network and cable—is a Democratic Party trumpet. Even the government-supported National Public Radio follows along."