Using defamation suits to combat misinformation has some free speech advocates uneasy, as the First Amendment provides broad protections for news organizations.
Fox’s lawyers argue that they had a First Amendment privilege to report newsworthy allegations–even false ones–in a neutral way. They also claim that Smartmatic failed to establish a key requirement of a defamation claim—that Piro, Dobbs, and Bartiromo acted with “actual malice.”
From the moment the 2020 presidential election was called in favor of Joe Biden, three prominent conservative cable companies, Fox News, One America News Network (OANN), and Newsmax have repeatedly questioned the accuracy of the results. Now Smartmatic, a voting technology company, is threatening to sue the networks for false claims they published or republished about its product.
On November 24th, Fox News settled a lawsuit brought by the parents of Seth Rich, a former Democratic Committee staffer who a Fox reporter falsely accused of leaking thousands of Democratic Party emails to Wikileaks during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Hours after the story broke that the Pentagon was planning to close Stars and Stripes, Donald Trump tweeted that he would not allow the newspaper to get shut down. The tweet took some by surprise, not only because the President is not known for defending the press, but because it was his administration's 2021 budget that had cut the newspaper’s funding in half.
A Superior Court judge in Seattle has tossed out a lawsuit brought by a watchdog group against Fox News for disseminating false information about COVID-19.
On May 21st, a lawyer for Fox News asked a Seattle judge to throw out a lawsuit accusing the cable network of spreading false information about COVID-19. The suit, filed in the Superior Court in Washington County of King on April 2nd by the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics (WASHLITE), accuses the cable news network of violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act.