We The People v Fox ‘News’ Corporation

During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the New York Times published an ad for contributing donations to defend Martin Luther King, Jr., on perjury charges. The ad contained several minor factual inaccuracies.

The city Public Safety Commissioner, L.B. Sullivan, felt that the criticism of his subordinates reflected on him, even though he was not mentioned in the ad. Sullivan sent a written request to the Times to publicly retract the information, as required for a public figure to seek punitive damages in a libel action under Alabama law.

When the Times refused and claimed that they were puzzled by the request, Sullivan filed a libel action against the Times and a group of African American ministers mentioned in the ad. A jury in state court awarded him $500,000 in damages. The state supreme court affirmed, and the Times appealed.

When the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court ruled that when a statement concerns a public figure, the Court held, it is not enough to show that it is false for the press to be liable for libel. Instead, the target of the statement must show that it was made with knowledge of or reckless disregard for its falsity. Brennan used the term “actual malice” to summarize this standard.  This was a landmark case and decision that has probably saved this nation billions of dollars in lawsuits over mistakes made by the press.

Fast forward to 2021 through present and consider the information we recently learned that Fox ‘News’, with full knowledge that the 2020 election was a fair one and that President Biden was the legitimately elected president, perpetuated the Big Lie that the election had been “stolen” from one Donald Trump.  Not only did the reports like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham know that they were telling lies, but the CEO of Fox Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, also knew that his employees were selling the public a grab-bag of very harmful lies!  And Murdoch allowed this to go on for two years.

Dominion Voting Systems, the company that manufactures the electronic voting machines used throughout the country, is suing Fox ‘News’ for libel, and it seems to me they have a pretty darn good case, based on what we have seen of the private communications among the Fox hosts.  However, I don’t think it should end there.  Certainly Dominion suffered harm from Fox’ lies, but so did the people of this country.

Fox ‘News’ is the most-watched cable ‘news’ channel in the nation.  Though I personally do not understand this, according to New York Times’ David Brooks, rural America sees Fox as their ‘community’, as the people who understand them and their problems.  Some, perhaps millions of people, never see any news outside of Fox’ control and may still not be aware that they were blatantly lied to for two years about the results of the 2020 election.  Those people are voting, based on what Fox tells them, against their own interest as well as against the interests of the nation.  They … and we … have been harmed by the lies that Fox hosts repeatedly told, lies that were believed and acted upon, by their viewers.

It seems to me that Dominion isn’t the only one who should be suing Fox, but that We the People have grounds for an enormous class action suit against the company.  Because of their lies, we had January 6th.  Because of their lies, millions if not billions of dollars of taxpayer money has been spent on recounts and lawsuits.  Thousands of hours of personnel time have been dedicated to debunking Fox’ lies.  And nearly every state in the nation has seized on the false notion that there was significant voter fraud in 2020 to warrant them passing voter suppression laws that will hurt us all.

Oh yes, we can prove ‘actual malice’ in this case.  Fox cared only about one thing … its ratings, not losing viewers and thus advertising money.  Murdoch’s and Hannity’s and Carlson’s and Ingraham’s personal bank accounts and investment portfolios meant more than the trust of the public and thus they betrayed that trust.  What’s to stop the people of this nation from filing a lawsuit?

14 thoughts on “We The People v Fox ‘News’ Corporation

  1. Off topic, Jill. I keep getting a pop up when I open WordPress that says “reader moving in “X” days to Jet Pack. Does this mean anything to you or is it just some kind of an ad?
    There is an app for Jet Park. I currently use the WordPress app..

    Liked by 1 person

    • From what I understand, tomorrow — March 8th — JetPack is replacing the WordPress app. They have done a lousy job of letting us know what we need to do, what the effects will be, or anything, except on the phone. They nagged and nagged me to download the JetPack app to my phone, so I did, and I HATE it! It pings my phone everything someone likes a post, likes a comment, or comments! If I turn off notifications on my phone, then it takes them off of the Dashboard, too! I’m tweaking it, but they sure didn’t make it easy, or inform us well! I don’t know what, if any, difference it will make on our laptop or desktop computers, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, good post, but a sad one. In short, when people or entities who have built up trust, whether it is deserved or not, purposefully gaslight their audience, it is harmful to more than that audience. These folks become ambassadors of the lies and influence others. They trusted the people who told them the lies. So, the body public is impacted by this. Donald Trump has long been a well-documented deceitful person, he just got a bigger stage. Fox News was created at the outset to tell people what they wanted to hear – you are not to blame, it is the others’ fault.

    Matching a network built on not caring about the truth as much as they should with a deceitful person like Donald Trump should have been a match made in heaven. What Fox News failed to realize as everyone before them has, if you get too close to the Trump sun, you will get burned. Trump does one thing very well – sell off fear and blame the other. If you don’t genuflect often and continually to The Donald, you will eventually make him mad. That means you have to carry water for him at all times, even if the water is poisonous to you.

    Fox News had damaged their reputation and most likely, their pocketbook. Sadly, they have damaged ours as well by releasing the Kraken on us. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t you sometimes wonder how people like Murdoch, Carlson, Hannity and so many others manage to get to sleep at night? My conscience would keep me awake and once I fell asleep, it would invade my dreams and turn them to nightmares. The day will come when all that money that those people are making off of our lives will be without value, and then they will realize they have nothing. Meanwhile, they are destroying a nation, inciting violence, and convincing the under-educated to act outside of their own best interests. There should be a punishment for that.


  3. While I agree with such a lawsuit I have to ask, “Does greed constitute malice?” Of course that would be up to the courts to decide, but given the legal definition of malice, To illegally harm someone with malice aforethought is to have thought about it and planned it before acting, I don’t think this rises to that occasion — including for Dominion Voting Systems. The deeds were indeed despicable, but I doubt anyone at Fox News even considered what might happen to either DVS or We the People. Their only concern was their own greed. That these other institutions were harmed, I have no doubt. But I think that harm was a by-product of their actions, not the intent of their actions.
    Hopefully I am wrong, and the courts do not read the legal definition as I do, but in all actuality no one at Fox News was intelligent enough to form such thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not a lawyer nor a judge, so I cannot answer your questions. I only know that when you cause someone harm, and knew that your actions would cause someone harm, in most cases you are guilty and owe a debt to that person. I suppose Fox can use a lack of IQ as a defense …


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