Twenty years ago, images of staggering cattle and descriptions of brains resembling Swiss cheese became associated with one of the most popular television programs of the day when Texas Panhandle cattlemen sued “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for defamation under Texas’ “veggie libel law.” They claimed the program’s negative portrayal of their business caused a steep decline of beef prices

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— and put academic freedom on trial. When a Harvard researcher dared to point that out, in a scientific, peer-reviewed study and in media interviews, the supplement maker sued him for libel and slander.

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