On two occasions the Supreme Court has intimated that plaintiffs in defamation suits do not bear the burden of proving falsity if the defendant is not a member of the media or if the speech addresses a matter of private concern. This Article argues that these potential limitations assign insufficient weight to factual falsity as an intrinsic property of actionable libel. Waiver of plaintiffs’ burden of proof where disputed speech does not involve a public concern, in particular, confuses threshold actionability with considerations relevant to defendants’ intent. Lower court decisions since Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., in which the Court repeated its earlier suggestion concerning the relevance of media status and subject matter, counsel in favor of plaintiffs’ blanket burden of establishing falsity.
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