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Critics say defamation bill in Florida will ‘destroy conservative media’

via NBC News
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Florida Republicans are pushing a bill to make it easier to sue journalists for defamation, but a radio host warns that conservative media will suffer the consequences.

The bill faces criticism for potentially harming conservative media outlets in the state, as it could lead to lawsuits from liberal trial lawyers.

“While certain Republicans may think that they’re going to be suing and taking on The New York Times and The Washington Post, here’s the breaking news: liberal trial lawyers are going to have a field day with center-right media in the state of Florida,” political consultant Trey Radel said.

“Signing this into law will destroy conservative media in this state.”

Critics argued that the legislation may restrict free speech and violate the First Amendment.

“How do you think a conservative show host is gonna hold up in deep blue Broward County with liberal judges, because that person who is suing gets to choose where they’re going,” Radel said.

Concerns include rushing lawsuits and the presumption of malice for using anonymous sources.

“This would violate the right to a jury and deny sufficient time to investigate a complex case,” attorney James Lake said.

Section 2 would “help criminal defendants go after truthful speech,” Lake said.

The bill’s supporters were accused of acting emotionally and risking censorship of conservative voices.

“I believe that Republicans are acting like liberals in the way that they are legislating out of emotion. They’re not thinking. They’re reacting,” Radel said.

“And I get it. I sympathize with it. They’re angry with the media. But this will open the door for liberals and liberal trial lawyers to engage in lawfare just like they are with Donald Trump. They don’t even care about winning. They care about burying the voices. They care about censoring conservative voices. They care and want to shut down conservative media. And the Republicans are creating a law that would make it easier for them to do so.”

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