SW Legal Educational Publishing

No Actual Malice When Reporter Doubted Truth of Story Reported
Description Michael Jackson's suit for slander against reporters and tabloid television program was properly dismissed. Jackson could not establish actual malice by the reporters even though one of them had doubts about the truth of the matter being reported.
Topic Torts
Key Words Slander; Actual Malice; Media
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Entertainer Michael Jackson sued the producers of "Hard Copy," and the reporters for it, for a story that was broadcast that discussed the existence of alleged videotapes that supposedly showed Jackson improperly touching an underage boy in a sexual manner. District court dismissed the slander suit; Jackson appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The fact that there was evidence that one of the reporters doubted the existence of such videotape was insufficient to establish the reporter's knowledge of falsity of the matter reported and was insufficient to establish reckless disregard of truth. Jackson could not establish actual malice on the part of the reporters. There was a criminal investigation in process; the fact that the reporters used inflammatory language did not establish slander.
Citation Jackson v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 80 Cal.Rptr.2d 1 (Ct. App., 2 Dist., Calif., 1998)

Back to Torts Listings

©1998  South-Western, All Rights Reserved