Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter:
Tucker Carlson doesn’t have an obligation to investigate the truth of statements before making them on his show, and his audience doesn’t expect him to report facts, a lawyer for Fox News told a New York federal judge on Wednesday.
The network is facing a slander lawsuit from Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who made headlines over a $150,000 payment she received from the National Enquirer in connection with her alleged affair with Donald Trump.
McDougal claims Carlson defamed her and accused her of a crime in a segment that also discussed Stormy Daniels. Here’s what Carlson said that she takes issue with: “Two women approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money. Now that sounds like a classic case of extortion.”
To complicate matters, he also earlier in the broadcast said that he was recapping the “gist” of a New York Times story and assuming “for the sake of argument” that things ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had said were true while noting it wasn’t wise to make such an assumption, but he also stated, “Remember the facts of the story; these are undisputed.”
Fox News wants U.S. District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil to toss the complaint, arguing both that nothing Carlson said is defamatory because it can’t be interpreted as stating actual facts and that McDougal can’t prove he acted with actual malice, which she must to succeed on her claims because she’s a public figure.
Fox News’ attorney Erin Murphy argued that Carlson repeatedly couched his statements as hypotheticals to promote conversation and that a reasonable viewer would know his show offers “provocative things that will help me think harder,” as opposed to straight news.
“What we’re talking about here, it’s not the front page of The New York Times,” said Murphy. “It’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, which is a commentary show.”
Saying “Remember the facts of the story; these are undisputed,” kind of sounds like Carlson was claiming to be stating the facts to me.
This is reminiscent of past defenses by Fox News claiming that they considered themselves an “entertainment” cable show more than a news outlet and was therefore allowed to play fast and loose with the truth.
So my question is who in the world tunes in to a program with “News” in the title and does not expect to hear facts.
I watch MSNBC, CNN, and read the New York Times and Washington Post, and expect that what I am reading or watching is factually based.
If it is not I expect there to be a correction and if factually inaccurate reports become the norm, then I will seek my information elsewhere.
But it seems to me that is how liberals think and that conservatives simply want their biases reinforced with statements that sound true, but do not stand up to scrutiny.
Scrutiny, by the way, that those conservatives have no intention of applying to their chosen “news” outlets.
If you want to know what is fucking up America, THIS is fucking up America.