Florida Republicans Pushing Legislation That Could Cripple Conservative Media in the State

Florida Republicans are championing legislation that they claim will hold the liberal media accountable.

However, critics argue that this bill, if passed, will not only fail to achieve its intended goal but will also have serious unintended consequences, particularly for conservative media in the state.

The bill, HB 757, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Alex Andrade of Pensacola, aims to make it easier for Floridians to sue journalists and news organizations for defamation.

However, critics argue that this bill will cut both ways and will ultimately harm conservative media in the state.

Trey Radel, a political consultant and host at a Fox News Radio affiliate in Florida, has been a vocal critic of the bill.

He warns that while some Republicans may think they will be suing and taking on The New York Times and The Washington Post, liberal trial lawyers will have a field day with center-right media in the state of Florida.

Radel, a former U.S. representative, sympathizes with Republicans who demand accountability from the corporate media.

Libs & Conservatives agree: This bill is terrible. But you should know bill that will be used to silence conservative voices. Tell your Florida Sen or Rep to say no to this bill. Below is the NY Post. Here’s the Herald. https://t.co/B6N9StRYru https://t.co/LtmcjZtbOL

— Trey Radel (@treyradel) February 16, 2024

However, he argues that it is members of the conservative media, many of whom live and work in the Sunshine State, who will face the consequences of this bill.

The bill cracks down on the use of anonymous sources and allows any “reasonable person” to sue those who use artificial intelligence against them in false light.

Additionally, the bill allows the plaintiff to file a lawsuit in any county as long as the alleged defamatory content was published on the internet. These provisions, critics argue, will restrict free speech, particularly by conservatives.

Florida-based media attorney James Lake also has several objections to the legislation.

He points to a clause that would require a “veracity hearing” where a lawsuit would be rushed within 60 days when a judge, not a jury, makes a ruling.

This, he argues, would violate the right to a jury and deny sufficient time to investigate a complex case.

Radel is convinced that Republicans who support this bill are “acting like liberals,” stressing that the fallout of this bill if signed into law will restrict free speech, particularly by conservatives.

He believes that Republicans are reacting out of emotion and not thinking clearly about the consequences of this bill.

In conclusion, while the intent of the bill may be to hold the media accountable, the unintended consequences of this bill will be far-reaching and harmful, particularly for conservative media in the state.

It is crucial for lawmakers to carefully consider the potential fallout of this bill before moving forward.

As Radel warns, “The Republicans are creating a law that would make it easier for [liberals] to shut down conservative media.”