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Federal judge issues scathing dissent accusing the media of liberal bias

Federal judge issues scathing dissent accusing the media of liberal bias and being a ‘Democratic Party trumpet’, while calling for 1964 Supreme Court landmark decision protecting the press to be overturned

  • D.C. Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman penned a scathing dissent Friday on a defamation case 
  • The Reagan-appointed judge slammed the 1964 New York Times v. Sullivan landmark decision requiring plaintiffs to prove ‘actual malice’ by defendants
  • Silberman claimed the ruling has only increased the power of the press, which is almost completely controlled by the Democratic Party 
  • ‘Two of the three most influential papers, The New York Times and The Washington Post, are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets,’ he wrote
  • He named Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal as the ‘few notable exceptions to Democratic Party ideological control’ 

A federal appeals court judge in Washington, D.C. has penned a scathing dissent accusing the media of being a ‘trumpet’ for the Democratic Party, while calling on his colleagues to overturn a Supreme Court landmark decision protecting the press.  

Senior Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman lamented that conservatives are being oppressed by overwhelmingly liberal news media, academia and tech companies creating ‘a frighteningly orthodox media culture.’

The judge responded to a decision on Friday to toss a libel suit filed by two former Liberian officials against human rights group Global Witness, over a report implying they had accepted bribes from an oil company. 

Silberman, who was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1985, was the only judge to dissent in the case, which found the plaintiffs could not prove ‘actual malice’, under New York Times v. Sullivan 1964.

D.C. Circuit Senior Judge Laurence Silberman (pictured receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W Bush in 2008) penned a scathing dissent Friday accusing the media of liberal bias 

Silberman, who was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1985, slammed The New York Times and Washington Post as 'virtually Democratic Party broadsheets'

The Washington Post

Silberman, who was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1985, slammed The New York Times and Washington Post as ‘virtually Democratic Party broadsheets’

The 85-year-old judge criticized the legal precedent in his dissent for increasing the power of the media, something he described as ‘so dangerous’, ‘because we are very close to one-party control of these institutions.’ 

He then went on to launch an attack on media organizations as well as Silicon Valley, which he claims is responsible for the increasingly anti-conservative bias in the news. 

The 85-year-old senior circuit judge criticized the 1964 Supreme Court decision on New York Times v. Sullivan that gave legal protection to the press

The 85-year-old senior circuit judge criticized the 1964 Supreme Court decision on New York Times v. Sullivan that gave legal protection to the press

‘Two of the three most influential papers (at least historically), The New York Times and The Washington Post, are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets,’ Silberman wrote, adding that the news section of The Wall Street Journal also leans left.

‘Nearly all television—network and cable—is a Democratic Party trumpet. Even the government-supported National Public Radio follows along,’ he added.  

Silberman warned that a ‘one-party control of the press’ was cause for concern because it poses a threat to a ‘viable democracy.’ 

He named Fox News, The New York Post, and The WSJ’s editorial page as the ‘few notable exceptions to Democratic Party ideological control.’

The judge, however, bemoaned the ‘sobering’ fact that those organizations are controlled by a ‘single man and his son’ – referring to News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan.  

‘Will a lone holdout remain in what is otherwise a frighteningly orthodox media culture? After all, there are serious efforts to muzzle Fox New,’ he added without further elaborating.   

Silberman bemoaned the anti-Republican bias in the media in a dissent published on Friday

Silberman bemoaned the anti-Republican bias in the media in a dissent published on Friday 

He named Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal as the 'few notable exceptions to Democratic Party ideological control'

He named Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal as the ‘few notable exceptions to Democratic Party ideological control’ 

The judge went on to accuse Silicon Valley and social media giants of helping perpetuate the liberal bias that is apparently so widespread in the news. 

Meanwhile, new conservative news networks that have launched in recent years have faced ‘bans’ or ‘censorship’ on social media, Silberman argued.  

‘After observing my colleagues’ efforts to stretch the actual malice rule like a rubber band, I am prompted to urge the overruling of New York Times v. Sullivan.’

‘Justice Thomas has already persuasively demonstrated that New York Times was a policy-driven decision masquerading as constitutional law,’ Silberman said, citing the fellow conservative judge. 

‘As with the rest of the opinion, the actual malice requirement was simply cut from whole cloth. New York Times should be overruled on these grounds alone.’

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