The Naples Press
Florida Republican lawmakers are once again on the attack against liberal mainstream media. Their goal is to pass a new bill making it easier to sue news organizations and hold them accountable for their distortions of the truth. It sounds great in theory, but I believe conservative media will, undoubtedly, be hit the hardest.
As a Republican who works in the media, I empathize with the frustration of conservatives every time I see hit pieces, headlines and the overall framing of news stories written to run cover for the Democratic Party or intentionally hurt Republicans. Clearly, the author of the bill, Rep. Alex Andrade, R-Pensacola, feels the same way. I believe his intentions are noble.
Unfortunately, this renewed effort to revise defamation laws in the state stirs deep concerns, echoing the same fears I voiced earlier last year. The initial bill, HB 991, would have stifled political speech and increased the legal vulnerability of media, including conservative outlets.
Rep. Andrade’s pared-down version still presents significant challenges, particularly around the use of anonymous sources. This focus not only undermines nearly 60 years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent but also dismisses the historical value of anonymous speech in America—a point highlighted best by Gov. Ron DeSantis.