Can Courts Consider The Impact of Images And Sounds In The Defamation Context?

The answer appears to be yes.  In a recent unpublished passage of a published decision, the Court of Appeals wrote the following:

In the case of a broadcast, we are required to consider:  the impact of visual effects (White v. Fraternal Order of Police (D.C. Cir. 1990) 909 F.2d 62 512, 526; Southern Air Transport, Inc. v. American Broadcasting (D.C. Cir. 1989) 877 F.2d 1010, 1015); dramatic intonations by an announcer (White v. Fraternal Order of Police, supra, 909 F.2d at p. 526; Stokes v. CBS Inc. (D.Minn. 1998) 25 F.Supp.2d 992, 999); and dramatic audio accompaniment and orchestrated imagery.  (Ibid.; Corporate Training Unlimited, Inc. v. National Broadcasting Co. Inc. (E.D.N.Y. 1994) 868 F.Supp.2d 501, 507.)

This point is important because it is consistent with existing law that requires California courts to examine the totality of circumstances when determining whether a statement is one of fact or opinion.

And while this is only persuasive authority since it  was not published, it provides some insight as to what California courts might do in the future.  

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