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Professors RonNell Andersen Jones and Sonja R. West’s Presuming Trustworthiness is a deeply depressing read. That is what makes it so good. The article is a clear-eyed, data-driven approach to assessing just how endangered the legal status of the free press is. Given the universality of the agreement that a free press is central to democracy, Andersen Jones and West’s message is vital. Presuming Trustworthiness should raise alarms.

In response, I hope this essay can serve as a bullhorn. I want to amplify what Andersen Jones and West’s research and data bear out. Not only has the Supreme Court ceased presuming the press’s trustworthiness, but certain Justices’ rhetoric intimates that any presumption has swung in the opposite direction. These Justices’ words suggest an anti-press bias.

This anti-press bias has serious consequences. Beyond the disadvantage it would pose to future press litigants, anti-press bias is already eroding legal protections for the institutional press and hobbling democracy. The United States is ill-equipped to bear such harms. At the hands of the Supreme Court, they are self-inflicted and unnecessary wounds.

Publication Citation

75 Fla. L. Rev. F. 63 (2024)