Why Hulk Hogan’s victory over Gawker is a stain on the First Amendment « Hot Air: "Here’s the other reason why the jury verdict is scary: how it can affect future cases and American politics. Hogan defenders like to talk about the fact his privacy was violated because the tape was secretly recorded. But what about news stories involving sources who give out information “without permission” of their bosses? Why was it okay for Andrew Breitbart to get nude pictures of Anthony Weiner, but it’s not okay for Gawker to get Hogan’s sex tape? Why was it okay for Matt Drudge to report on Bill Clinton’s affair, but not Gawker and Hogan? Why is it okay for Fox News reporter James Rosen to use sources to report on the government, but Gawker’s reporting on Hogan is worthy of a lawsuit? Why was Mitt Romney’s “47%” comments okay in 2012, but Hogan’s sex tape isn’t? If what Gawker did isn’t okay, then isn’t it possible more lawsuits over “sources say” news pieces or leaked documents are going to happen? This is why people need to pause before triumphantly cackling at Gawker’s probable demise because it opens the door for future lawsuits, thus stifling press freedom."
Let me be clear, I have no stake in this issue. Beyond the concern as a reporter. The article makes some strong points about why we should worry. Who decides news value? An argument can be made almost anything which involves a celebrity has news value. Not to mention one which has talked about his sex life publicly. I find it hard to imagine a politician trying to follow this same legal logic to defend themselves. But, doesn't this open the door? I'm no fan of Hogan. And I not really a fan of Gawker either. It is tabloid journalism, which in my opinion has little value. But even the National Enquirer has added valuable news stories in the national discussion. They broke the story about John Edwards' affair. Could Mr. Edwards' had claimed a violation of privacy?