The New York Times v. Sullivan: A Case Study on the First Amendment

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Generally, this video (The New York Times vs. Sullivan) is very critical in the provision of the checks that are much needed by governments in the entire world. One would wonder how a country that is believed to democratically viable like the United States has not done its best in providing a flawless administration. Secondly, it's a surprise to learn how positive criticism can give good ground for the creation of checks for the government to perform in the right way. Through this cristism, the presentation in the video intensively proves that the appraisal system is the backbone through which the voice of low placed people in the society can be heard (New York Times v Sullivan, Video, 2009)            

             The First Amendment that was done in 1964 in the US constitution states that the government should not make laws that infringe on the rights of the people or the expression of the press. This amendment can be seen as trying to curtail some outrageous acts that the government can up with bills that seem to violate on the rights of the commons. To this, the freedom of the people and their welfare should, therefore, give a proper address. It is a general myth that the first amendment only relates to the federal government alone. In disapproving this belief, several reasons can be used in dispelling the myth as stated below (Crafts & Davis 2016; p. 180-181).      

         The incorporation doctrine is a constitutional doctrine through which the first ten amendments apply to the US state governments. Concerning this, the major sections of the first amendments that include the freedom of speech and expression, the rights of the media and religion are tightly bounded.  According to the doctrine of incorporation, the first amendment is solely applicable to the state governments since it is at this level that the practices of the media and the need to have well-ratified freedom of the press (Craft & Davis 2016; p. 192-193).


      Further, the bill of rights also touches on issues to deal with religions and the rights for one to select the denomination of their own choice. All these issues entirely lie with the citizens within the states that make the incorporation doctrine to be enforced within the state governments. According to the US Supreme Court ruling on the issue of actual malice, it is defined as the defendant's publication of a statement in full knowledge that it was false (New York Times v Sullivan, video,2009).

            The three-part libel for public officials and the public journalist practice will ever conflict. To prove this, the journalism practice would always advocate for the freedom of press and expression. On the other hand, public official always is in arm against the media to save their dubious ways of administration and hence fight the journalistic approaches with all might. The push and pull that is experienced between these two bodies is the course of the perceived conflict. For purposes of proving libel a “public official” have to show that the newspaper acted with “actual malice”- this means that it had prior knowledge that it has falsely acted or with reckless disregard” for truth. The court further asserted America’s profound national commitment to the principle that deals with the debate of public issues be robust, unhibited and appears to be wide open (Craft & Davis 2016; p. 184-185)

        To conclude, the video the New York Times vs Sullivan provides a tremendous in-depth for the analysis of ways of having a better government. It explains to the citizens but coming up with strategies to keep these governments on the check will be best to make them safeguard their interests. Moreover, the chapter and the video in unison tries to explore the strides that the US government has made to promote the freedom of expressions for instance through the landmark first amendment (New York Times v Sullivan, video, 2009).



New York Times v. Sullivan from Thinkwell's American Government. (2009, July 13). Retrieved from

Craft, S., & Davis, C. (2016). Principles of American journalism: An introduction Oxford, UK: Routledge. 248pp. ISBN: 978-0415890175. Electronic News, 9(1), 68-69.

September 11, 2023

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