has held that the media can be heldnliable for defamation to public officialsnand public figures only if the defamationnwas published with actual malice, thatnis, with knowledge of its falsehood ornwith reckless disregard as to its truthnor falsity. Even a private person defamednby the media must show somenfault, as determined by state law, innorder to recover. These holdings replacednthe common law privilege of fairncomment under which a defendantnwould be liable for a false statement ofnmaterial facts or if he made the statementnwith conscious ill will toward thenplaintiff. Recently, in the Herbert case,nApril, 1979, the Supreme Court interpretednits new rules so as to allow anplaintiff to inquire into the reporter’snstate of mind in preparing the article.nWithout such an inquiry, the person defamednis incapable of proving actualnmalice. But whatever the effect of thennew rule in the Herbert case, it is plainnthat the Watergate media extravaganzanwas facilitated by the fact that, at leastnas of that time, the Court had given thenmedia a license to lie. Even grantingnthat the errors were honest and not willful,na victim such as Stans was helplessnbefore the onslaught.nThere were many participants in thenassassination of Stans’ character, includingnSenator Frank Moss of Utah,ncandidate George McGovern, his campaignnmanager, Larry O’Brien, WashingtonnPost reporters Woodward andnBernstein, the self-styled “citizens’nlobby,” Common Cause, and SenatornSam Ervin and his Democratic colleaguesnon the Senate Watergate Committee.nThe author notes the Committee’sninaction when Hubert Humphrey’snfinance chairman invoked the FifthnAmendment and refused to testify, anninaction which contrasted with itsnsavage exposure of every dereliction,nreal or imagined, by the Nixon people.n”What the public did not know wasnthe blatant hypocrisy of the fournDemocratic members of the Committee,nall of whom sanctimoniously in­nterrogated witnesses, they said, ton’get the facts on the record.’ In 1964,nwhen Bobby Baker, a protege of SenatorsnLyndon Johnson and RobertnKerr, was charged with running anninfluence-peddling operation innWashington for high stakes, thenDemocrats controlling the Senatenhad blocked an investigation; Ervin,nTalmadge, and Inouye voted timenafter time to prevent the facts fromncoming out.”nMr. Stans and John Mitchell werenacquitted by a New York federal trialnjury of ten counts of conspiracy, obstructionnof justice and perjury. Thisntrial prompts the author to criticizenthe grand jury system. As often administerednthe system provides unscrupulousnprosecutors with a means to harassnsuspects through indictments issued byncompliant grand juries who hear onlynthe prosecutor’s side of the case. Thenauthor is particularly critical of thennUnited States Attorney Whitney NorthnSeymour and argues strongly for thenreimbursement of costs and legal feesnto innocent defendants.nIn Chapter 16, entitled appropriately,n”The Media Binge,” Mr. Stans recitesnnumerous instances of inaccuratenand unfounded news reporting by Time,nNewsweek, the Miami Herald, thenWashington Star, columnist Jack Andersonnand others:n”Without doubt, investigative journalismnaccomplished some worthynobjectives in the Watergate affair,nbut it also trampled over many blamelessnpeople in the rush to accusation,nand never went back after it was overnto help them on to their feet.n”There is a pernianence about publishednstories, true or untrue, thatnstems from the fact that pressn’morgues’ are long-lived. A subjectncan be pinioned forever by one inaccuratenaccount, repeated each time henmakes the news, because it is almostnimpossible to purge a morgue of misinformation.nA lie can be permanent.nnn”Nothing mars the integrity of thenpress more than its unwillingness tonacknowledge its errors, even whennconfronted with convincing evidence.nRetractions are a one-in-a-millionnevent, and even if a person is persuasivenor persistent enough to getnone, it never reaches more than a tinynpart of the readers who saw the mistake.nAnd, even if it could reach thenoriginal audience, that audiencenwould by then have passed the mistakenalong to a second audience,nwhich would be altogether unreachable.nThe chances of a correctionnbeing made are even less in radio andntelevision. Once a ‘fact’ has beennbroadcast in print or on the air it cannmove back and forth and in many directions,nand no force in the worldncan dictate where it will stop. And nonforce can repair the damage that inaccuracyncan bring.”nWith respect to Woodward and Bernstein’snbook. All the President’s Men,nMr. Stans comments on their insinuationsnagainst him, “All of this wasnplain crap, and the authors knew it.”n”One of the most scurrilous and carelessnmesses to follow” the Woodwardnand Bernstein book, according to Stans,nwas Jimmy Breslin’s How the GoodnGuys Finally Won. This, according tonStans, “was clearly one more book writtennfrom discredited newspaper clippings.nThese books were all in the spiritnof the times. Accuracy gave way tonsensationalism, with no concern aboutnwhere the chips might fall and who theynmight hit. And how does the victimncorrect the falsities in a book.'”nMr. Stans recommends the adoptionnof limited restraints on media publication,nparticularly where it might interferenwith the right to a fair trial. Andnhe urges that the Supreme Court oughtnto “open the courts to persons withnreputations to lose, whether they arenin public life or not, to allow them tonsue for libel when they are improperlynand incorrectly maligned by the media.nWhile there need be no prior legal restraint,nimmunity from liability shouldnSeptember/October 1979n