Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks after the primary election for the midterms during the "Keep Florida Free Tour" at Pepin's Hospitality Centre in Tampa, Florida, U.S., August 24, 2022. Photo by Octavio Jones/REUTERS

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking to remove legal protections for journalists granted by the Supreme Court decision on New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.

Credit: Octavio Jones / REUTERS

The panel

Anthony Michael Kreis, @AnthonyMKreis, professor of constitutional law, Georgia State University

Clare Norins, director, First Amendment Clinic, University of Georgia School of Law

Kevin Riley, @ajceditor, editor-in-chief, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tom Clyde, attorney, Kilpatrick Townsend


The breakdown

1. Distrust in the media has grown over the last five years.

  • Only 26% of Americans have a favorable opinion of news media.
  • Younger people have a less favorable view of the media than previous generations.

LISTEN: Anthony Michael Kreis on the history of politics in the press.

2. Fox News stars, leadership knew stolen election claims were false.

  • In files released from a defamation suit brought by Dominion Voter Systems, hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham privately expressed disbelief in the Trump administration's "stolen election" narrative.
  • The chairman of the Fox Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, privately called election claims "damaging," but allowed them to continue.
  • When a Fox reporter fact-checked a tweet made by former President Donald Trump related to the election, Carlson said “Please get her fired,” and “It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.”


3. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lobbies to remove some state protections for journalists.

  • DeSantis lobbied Florida's legislature to remove state laws protecting journalists from defamation lawsuits. It could spark a legal battle that challenges New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, a Supreme Court decision that reinforced First Amendment rights.

    • NYT v. Sullivan established the "actual malice" principle, meaning a journalist must have had a malicious intent.


4. Reporters in Georgia face an uphill battle when filing open records requests on the Legislature.

  • After former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan took a trip to Europe with a delegation from Georgia right before his term ended, journalists questioned who funded the trip.
  • The Legislature exempted itself from the Open Records Act, so finding out information from the body is difficult.

LISTEN: Clare Norins on calls from the press to make the Fulton County special grand jury's report public.

Friday on Political Rewind: State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver joins the panel.