Just now reading Best of the Web, 4-9-12. Taranto is commenting on that horrible editing of Zimmerman’s words, and my mind snagged on this statement:
Since Zimmerman has become a public figure, in order to prevail in a defamation lawsuit, he would have to prove that NBC acted with reckless disregard for the truth.
But here’s the thing. To some extent, Zimmerman has become a public figure because of the NBC’s falsehood. They poured gas on the wannabe lynch mob fire. There’s no evidence that Z sought to be a public figure.
My snap judgement is that if someone became famous due solely to lies told about him, there would be absolutely no “public figure” defense against libel. Zimmerman obviously isn’t a perfect example, but that logic should be considerecd, at least.