Sponsored by Microsoft and Prince Lobel Tye LLP
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This year’s Forum will try to answer the question of whether defamation claims against the media—which have been in decline for many years—are making a comeback in the era of Trump and Gawker. Please join us for a lively discussion of the current landscape of libel claims, where we will consider questions such as:
- Are we actually seeing more libel threats and lawsuits, or are we just feeling vulnerable right now?
- Have Trump’s attacks on the media emboldened plaintiffs and poisoned jury pools – who believe in the “fake news” mantra - against the press?
- Is the fast-moving 24-hour internet news cycle and smaller, leaner news staffs contributing to more mistakes being made?
- What about the phenomenon of libel suits arising out of major current events, like the violence in Charlottesville? Are real-world fights spilling into digital space?
- Is the financing of plaintiffs by deep pockets like Peter Thiel a rarity or a new trend that poses a threat to the media?
- Have plaintiffs’ motives changed, from seeking a monetary recovery to putting a news organization (or journalist) out of business, and/or getting articles taken offline?
- Have big recoveries in cases like Gawker and the “Pink Slime” case upped the ante, making lawsuits against the media more attractive to plaintiff’s lawyers?
- Is this a legal issue, a public relations issue, or both? Are judges being affected by greater popular skepticism of the press?
- What do we do next?
George Freeman will lead the discussion, supported by a panel of speakers with unique insights including David McCraw of The New York Times, Liz McNamara of Davis Wright Tremaine, Robert Lystad of AXIS Pro, and more.
However, we anticipate a great deal of audience participation – we know lots of you have thoughts on this one, and we want to hear them. So bring your comments and questions along!