Amherst ; Boston : University of Massachusetts Press, 
Book — x, 138 pages ; 23 cm
News in the late nineteenth century : more and faster
Libel in the nineteenth century : malice or mistakes?
The Smith and Rutherford cases : the news as "a wrong and perilous system"
The Palmer cases : the first large-scale libel syndicate
The Oakley cases : libel and celebrity
Bad news and the bad tendency test : the limits of libel doctrine
Retraction statutes : an alternate route to protection
At the turn of the twentieth century, American journalists transmitted news across the country by telegraph. But what happened when these stories weren't true? In Bad News Travels Fast, Patrick C. File examines a series of libel cases by a handful of plaintiffs - including socialites, businessmen, and Annie Oakley - who sued newspapers across the country for republishing false newswire reports. Through these cases, File demonstrates how law and technology intertwined to influence debates about reputation, privacy, and the acceptable limits of journalism. This largely forgotten era in the development of American libel law provides crucial historical context for contemporary debates about the news media, public discourse, and the role of a free press. File argues that the legal thinking surrounding these cases laid the groundwork for the more friendly libel standards the press now enjoys and helped to establish today's regulations of press freedom amid the promise and peril of high-speed communication technology. (source: Nielsen Book Data) 9781625343734 20190415