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Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal

Abstract

This article analyzes and explores the complex issues of libel by implication and defamatory meaning raised in the ongoing libel suit of Barhoum v. NYP Holdings. The case pivots on the New York Post's "BAG MEN" cover that ran on April 18, 2013, and featured a large photo of two men cleared of wrongdoing in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing. This article, which compares and contrasts Barhoum to decisions such as Kaelin v. Globe Communications Corp. and Stanton v. Metro Corp., also examines the possible impact of the New York Post's tiny front-page disclaimer. Furthermore, this article considers how people actually read and interpret tabloid covers and headlines. Finally, this article compares the New York Post's coverage at issue in Barhoum against ethical principles and journalistic best practices regarding breaking coverage of criminal cases that might be raised by expert witnesses in the case and that courts may either consider or ignore. Even if the New York Post escapes legal liability, the article demonstrates that its brand of reporting was decidedly unethical.

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