The Press: The Right to Be Unfair

One of the most significant First Amendment disputes since the Pentagon papers case was argued last week before the Supreme Court. At issue is the constitutionality of a long-ignored Florida law that requires newspapers to give political candidates the right to reply to editorial criticism. But the stakes are much higher than that. Rumbles of interest in a federal "right-to-reply" law have already come from the White House, the Justice Department and some members of Congress, notably Senator John McClellan of Arkansas.

Should the court uphold the Florida law (a decision is expected in...

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