I'm using the objective definition, not the subjective "whatever's illegal" one.
The first lie results in actual physical force, that actually hurts people. People get shoved to the ground and trampled. In the second case, there is no force involved whatsoever (unless the lie does result in the use of force, in which case, like I said above, the lying party should be liable for it in civil court, much like he would be now).
No, the lying party is at fault in both cases. However, in the first case, he is at fault for people losing life or limb (their rights are clearly violated, and violently so).
In the second case he is at fault for something that is immoral, but not a rights violation (the supposed right to a reputation is not a right to life, liberty or property, therefor it is not a right). You have every right to blame someone for harming your reputation by lying about you. But you don't get to use force against them, because they haven't used force against you.
Are you forgetting that Ayn Rand defined fraud as a form of force?
A unilateral breach of contract involves an indirect use of physical force: it consists, in essence, of one man receiving the material values, goods or services of another, then refusing to pay for them and thus keeping them by force (by mere physical possession), not by right—i.e., keeping them without the consent of their owner. Fraud involves a similarly indirect use of force: it consists of obtaining material values without their owner’s consent, under false pretenses or false promises.
Now, I would posit that a reputation is something of material value, one which even rational men are compelled to rely upon at times:
How would Washington bureaucrats—or Congressmen, for that matter—know which scientist to encourage, particularly in so controversial a field as social science? The safest method is to choose men who have achieved some sort of reputation. Whether their reputation is deserved or not, whether their achievements are valid or not, whether they rose by merit, pull, publicity or accident, are questions which the awarders do not and cannot consider. When personal judgment is inoperative (or forbidden), men’s first concern is not how to choose, but how to justify their choice. This will necessarily prompt committee members, bureaucrats and politicians to gravitate toward “prestigious names.” The result is to help establish those already established—i.e., to entrench the status quo.
The worst part of it is the fact that this method of selection is not confined to the cowardly or the corrupt, that the honest official is obliged to use it. The method is forced on him by the terms of the situation. To pass an informed, independent judgment on the value of every applicant or project in every field of science, an official would have to be a universal scholar. If he consults “experts” in the field, the dilemma remains: either he has to be a scholar who knows which experts to consult—or he has to surrender his judgment to men trained by the very professors he is supposed to judge. The awarding of grants to famous “leaders,” therefore, appears to him as the only fair policy—on the premise that “somebody made them famous, somebody knows, even if I don’t.”
And based on the above, I would think Ms. Rand would agree.
So, when a reputation is damaged by the deliberate actions of another (reporter or not), material harm IS done, in the same way that fraud causes material harm via indirect force.
If reputation has no value, and damage to one's reputation is not really damage, then one is compelled by rational necessity to validate every aspect of every person they encounter, including the veracity of the assertion that the fireman in the burning (for real burnin this time) theater who is ostensibly there to save your life really means it. Naturally, this is absurd - you accept the good faith intent of the fireman because he's at the scene of a fire, he's dressed as a fireman, and most importantly, because firemen are universally known (or reputed
) to be dedicated to preserving life and property.