Tell Me Lies: The First Amendment & the Right to (Mis)inform

Why should misinformation be protected under the Constitution? Don't we need laws to ensure that citizens receive truthful information? If you are living in an authoritarian country, the answer is easy–the state determines what is true and what is false. But in our democracy, the burden for filtering out truth from falsehood falls on each of us. This discussion examines the 1964 case New York Times v. Sullivan that protects newspapers from libel suits, even when they publish "erroneous statements," and its consequences. We’ll consider the reasoning behind the Sullivan ruling, how journalists depend on its protection, and what would happen should it be overturned. Rather than endorsing one side of the argument, can we work together to create animated yet productive public debates?

Ideas on Tap is a series of "pint-sized conversations about big ideas." Join us for drinks, appetizers, and conversation in a casual pub setting.

Cost is $15 per person and includes appetizers and one beverage (beer, wine, or non-alcoholic drink) in the relaxed atmosphere of the Stark Brewing Co. in downtown Manchester.


Anna Brown, Director of Research & Analysis, Citizens Count

Tim Kelly, Executive Editor, New Hampshire Union Leader

Will Stewart, Manchester Alderman, Ward 2


Meg Mott, Ph.D.

Suggested reading:

The 1960 advertisement in the New York Times that provoked the lawsuit

The 1964 Supreme Court unanimous decision as it appeared in the New York Times

This series was made possible by the Mellon Foundation.

Event Details


Monday, May 9, 2022 5:30pm


In person and virtual
Stark Brewing Co.
Manchester NH 03101

Hosted By:

New Hampshire Humanities

Contact Info:

Catherine Winters, Ph.D., or call (603) 224-4071.