The Supreme Court stated, “Under the First Amendment there is no such thing as a false idea. However pernicious an opinion may seem, we depend for its correction not on the conscience of judges and juries but on the competition of other ideas.” Id. Following Gertz, Missouri adopted an absolute privilege for expressions of opinion, broadly holding that any alleged defamatory statements that “can be characterized as ‘opinions,’” are “subject to the First Amendment absolute privilege.For more on Prop B and the fight surrounding its passage, see the RFT's 2011 cover story.
... To be liable under state defamation law, opinion statements about matters of public concern “must be provable as false.” Id. If opinion statements are not provable as false, these statements are still protected.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.