Shortly before the 1964 Presidential election, Fact magazine published an issue entitled "The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater." The thrust of the two main articles in this issue of Fact was that Senator Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican nominee for the Presidency, had a severely paranoid personality and was psychologically unfit for the high office to which he aspired. The articles in the magazine attempted to support the thesis that Senator Goldwater was mentally ill by citing allegedly factual incidents from his public and private life and by reporting the results of a "poll" of 12,356 psychiatrists, together with a "sampling" of the comments made by the 2,417 psychiatrists who responded to the poll questionnaire which the magazine mailed out.
-- U.S. Supreme Court, 1970 (link below)
Legal aftermath: Goldwater sued the magazine, the publisher and the managing editor and in 1968 was awarded $75,000 in punitive damages and $1 in compensatory damages. The magazine appealed but lost before the U.S. Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
Note: In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association published "The Principles of Medical Ethics With Annotations Especially Applicable to Psychiatry." Section 7.3 became known as "the Goldwater rule." It states: "On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement." (A link to the entire document can be found here.)
* Front and back cover: @
* "Ginzburg Loses Review Plea in Goldwater Libel Award" (Associated Press, January 1970): @
* "Libel and the First Amendment: Legal History and Practice in Print and Broadcasting" (Richard E. Labunski, 1987): @
* "Suing Over False Political Advertising" (FactCheck.org, February 2008): @
* Dr. John D. Mayer has written several times for Psychology Today about the events. Links to his posts can be found here and then by scrolling through the pages.
* "Lingering questions Prompt 'Goldwater Rule' Evaluation" (Psychiatric News, 2008): @
* "How a Telescopic Lens Muddles Psychiatric Insights" (Dr. Richard A. Friedman for The New York Times, May 2011): @