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October 2021

Emerging Trends in Applying the Rhetorical Hyperbole Defense

in this issue

The Libel-Proof Plaintiff: Sorting Fact and Opinion in the Age of Rhetorical Hyperbole

Dan Novack and Sara Shayanian

An emerging trend allows defendants to weaponize their own outrageousness to escape liability via the doctrine of rhetorical hyperbole. By tanking their own reputation for calling it straight, they can live to defame another day.


Privileging Opinion, Denigrating Discourse: How the Law of Defamation Incentivizes News Talk-Show Hyperbole

Clay Calvert

This Article examines how defamation law promotes a culture of hyperbole and exaggeration on television news talk shows at the expense of more meaningful dialogue and discourse.


The Defense of Rhetorical Hyperbole: How Is It Being Used (or Overused) in Today’s Polarized Environment?

Courts have long considered whether statements made in the context of heated political debate are protected as rhetorical hyperbole and opinion. But recent libel cases stemming from opinion shows hosted by partisans like Rachel Maddow, and on platforms such as Twitter, have seen the rhetorical hyperbole defense taking on new prominence. Have these cases gone too far or are they simply extending First Amendment protections to mediums where hyperbolic rhetoric is the norm?