Public officials using libel suits as a weapon against the press is nothing new. In the time of Times v. Sullivan, southern officials had brought nearly $300 million in libel actions against the press. For reference, Nunes alone has brought just over $900 million in defamation claims in a twelve-month period.
"Maddow had inserted her own colorful commentary into and throughout the segment, laughing, expressing her dismay (i.e., saying 'I mean, what?') and calling the segment a 'sparkly story' and one we must 'take in stride,” Bashant wrote. Adding, "for her to exaggerate the facts and call OAN Russian propaganda was consistent with her tone up to that point, and the Court finds a reasonable viewer would not take the statement as factual given this context.”
SmileDirectClub, a company that sells teeth straightening kits directly to consumers, has sued NBC News and reporter Vicky Nguyen over a story that suggested the product may cause oral health problems.
On April 28th, Sean Hannity, a Fox News host, threatened to sue The New York Times over a column that linked a Brooklyn bar owner’s death from coronavirus to Hannity’s comments that downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic.
The judge has ordered Jones to pay Heslin $22,250 in attorney fees, making the total amount Jones now owes Neil Heslin just under $150,000.
On March 18th, Linda Fairstein, the former head of Manhattan District Attorney’s Sex Crime unit, sued Netflix director Ava DuVernay, and co-writer and producer Attica Locke for defamation. The lawsuit, filed in district court in Fort Myers, Florida, claims that DuVernay’s five-part series, “When They See Us,” contains scenes that portray Fairstein “in a false and defamatory manner.”
The eight-page complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, claims that two essays falsely accused his campaign of conspiring with foreign governments to interfere with the 2016 election.
In September 2019, Justin Fairfax sued CBS over its interviews and subsequent coverage of two sexual assault claims against him. This week, a U.S. District Judge dismissed his claims, citing no evidence that CBS' coverage would have led a reasonable viewer to assume they were true or that the organization endorsed the women's allegations.