Just to highlight two of the many thoughtful comments these others have made, let me start with this from Dan Kennedy's Guardian piece:
If Torruella's dangerous opinion were to lead federal judges' finding state laws similar to the 1902 statute in Massachusetts, the result could turn back the clock on freedom of speech and freedom of the press.And then this from Rob Bertsche, via Kennedy's blog:
If the truth no longer sets us free, then the first amendment will have shrunk beyond recognition. The media will lose, of course. But so will the public they ostensibly serve.
With this decision, the First Amendment has been replaced by the maxim, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it."Consider the irony: The Supreme Court has said that there is constitutional protection for false statements on matters of public concern, but now the First Circuit says there is no constitutional protection for true statements on matters of private concern. What's worse, the court offers no guidance about how to distinguish what is of "public concern" from what is of "private concern."As I said in my original post: Be afraid, be very, very afraid.