No other country in the world gives protection like that, but it is not absolute protection. People sometimes meet that high burden and win libel suits, and in those cases I think they ought to win.
CBS fought very hard on this because it believed and believes that there's a principle at stake here. The principle is that Dan Rather doesn't work for the police, and that people that speak to Dan Rather understand that he's a journalist and not a police agent.
It just seems to be a human trait to want to protect the speech of people with whom we agree. For the First Amendment, that is not good enough. So it is really important that we protect First Amendment rights of people no matter what side of the line they are on.
Here we have a situation where a defendant in a case agrees to an interview with Dan Rather. It happened to be not confidential. But it was an interview with Dan Rather.
There are some circumstances in which the First Amendment interest comes up against another interest that is really important and in which we have to make a decision in a particular case as to which is more important.
When I began we did not really have a lot of First Amendment law. It is really surprising to think of it this way, but a lot of the law - most of the law that relates to the First Amendment freedom of the press in America - is really within living memory.
I try to do that in this book without preaching - to try to do as you just said that you really have to defend the First Amendment rights of everybody.
I really try at least to come back and answer the question as to whether that was really the best way to do that and was I really thinking straight and how did my opponents behave and how did the judges behave was needed.
The government would be able to go to court with respect to newspaper articles, broadcast pieces and the like that they thought were bad or harmful or even against the government and try to block them.
So sometimes the facts are good and sometimes the facts are bad, the important thing from the point of view of a principle as broad and important as freedom of speech is that the courts articulate and set forth in a very protective way what those principles are.