D.C. Circuit Court Judge Laurence Silberman penned a blazing dissent Friday on mainstream media bias when ruling on a libel case involving a 2018 report from Global Witness Publishing, Fox News reported.
In the case, GWP accused Liberian government officials Christiana Tah and Randolph McClain of accepting bribes and the pair sued GWP for defamation. Their claims were dismissed but in his partial dissent, Silberman argued that the Supreme Court should revisit one of their rulings that gave the media First Amendment protections from being sued by public officials.
“[N]ew considerations have arisen over the last 50 years that make the New York Times decision (which I believe I have faithfully applied in my dissent) a threat to American Democracy,” he writes. “It must go.”
“The increased power of the press is so dangerous today because we are very close to one-party control of these institutions,” said Silberman, a Reagan administration appointee.
The judge took aim at The New York Times and The Washington Post, calling them “virtually Democratic Party broadsheets,” most network and cable news, saying it was “a Democratic Party trumpet” and said “Even the government-supported National Public Radio follows along.”
He then turned his attention to tech giants saying that Silicon Valley has filtered the news “in ways favorable to the Democratic Party” and thereby assisted in censorship.
Silberman also addressed the efforts to quiet outlets like Fox News that weren’t “Democratic Party ideological control,” and said that it “should be borne in mind that the first step taken by any potential authoritarian or dictatorial regime is to gain control of communications, particularly the delivery of news.”
The judge seemed to speak for conservatives everywhere when he said that “one-party control of the press and media is a threat to a viable democracy. It may even give rise to countervailing extremism.
“The First Amendment guarantees a free press to foster a vibrant trade in ideas. But a biased press can distort the marketplace. And when the media has proven its willingness—if not eagerness—to so distort, it is a profound mistake to stand by unjustified legal rules that serve only to enhance the press’ power.”