The Murdochs are lawyering up and preparing for a wave of lawsuits based on the lies, misinformation, and conspiracy theories that Fox News spread about the coronavirus.
According to The Daily Beast:
Amid the mushrooming coronavirus crisis, Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch are girding for a pandemic of public-interest lawsuits over misinformation and conspiracy theories dispensed by certain Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network personalities such as Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Trish Regan.
According to a top Murdoch executive, the father-and-son media moguls are ready to go to war with potential plaintiffs such as the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics—aka WASHLITE—an activist non-profit that filed suit on Thursday against Rupert Murdoch, Fox News, and other defendants.
For example, Fox News told its viewers that Trump would not allow the coronavirus to reach the United States:
On the same day Larry Kudlow said coronavirus was “contained” on Feb. 25th, Trump’s campaign spox made an even more bold claim.
“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama." pic.twitter.com/O0DDH3Rvkw
— andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) April 4, 2020
Fox News has been playing with fire for years as they have become Trump’s cable news propaganda arm. The problem is that unlike Trump, Fox News does not have legal immunity. The network’s lying for Trump mentality was bound to catch up to them at some point.
When Fox chose to spread conspiracy theories and lie about a pandemic that has sickened hundreds of thousands and killed thousands of Americans, they crossed a line that opened the network up to new levels of legal liability.
Fox News will try to hide behind claims that they are journalism, but they have been willfully and intentionally misinforming their viewers about a public health crisis. Their best legal defense might be to abandon the pretext of journalism and admit that they are not news, but a partisan political operation.
The bill for decades of lies is about to come due for Fox News.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association