Of the four invasion of privacy torts, claims arising out of the media’s presentation of the plaintiff in a "false light" are the most difficult to explain and categorize. False light, a sort of “double first cousin” of defamation, is so closely related to libel as to be virtually indistinguishable in many cases. In theory, the difference between the two is that a false light claim may rest on a publication that is false but is not defamatory.
Fortunately for the N.C. media, the N.C. Supreme Court decided in 1984 that false light claims should not be “recognized,” or included, as part of the common law of this state. The court’s decision, which was issued in Renwick v. News and Observer Publishing Co., was based primarily on two factors. First, the court pointed out that the “false light” tort often duplicated or overlapped claims for libel, making the law unnecessarily complicated; thus the tort was rejected in the interest of “judicial efficiency.” Second, the court noted that recognition of false light claims would add to the inherent “tension” between freedom of the press, as guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions, and the law of torts, which permits recovery of damages against the press.
 Renwick v. News and Observer Publ'g Co., 310 N.C. 312 (1984), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 858 (1984).
 Id. at 323.
 Id. See also, Burgess v. Busby, 142 N.C. App. 393, 405 (March 20, 2001) (“North Carolina does not recognize a cause of action for the. . . invasion of privacy by placing a plaintiff in false light before the public.”)