Widow of a Murdered Man Sues a Local TV Station
The widow of a murdered man was said by the police to be the “only suspect” in the murder, even though the police were unable or unwilling to bring charges against her. A local TV station and later, a national news program, aired the story, quoting the officer saying much the same things but adding, “the suspect killed the man.” The linguistic issues were whether the defamatory statements were presented as opinions or as facts, the effect of discourse framing, the failure of the media to request clarification of ambiguous statements of the officer, and the conveyed negative meanings of certain words used in the programs.
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