Fox News sued for “intentional and maliciously deceptive public” over the dangers of the corona virus
Fox News Channel and its owner, Rupert Murdoch, are being sued by a nonprofit organization in Washington State, which says it broadcast false information about the coronavirus, which could spread widely in the United States.
A 10-page complaint was filed with King County Court on Thursday by an organization known as the Washington League for Enhanced Transparency and Ethics (WASHLITE).
The network has been accused of “deliberately and maliciously” participating in a “campaign of deception and omission regarding the danger of the international spread of the new coronavirus.”
Fox News released a statement through its lawyer, Lily Fu Claffee, who said, “Wrong facts, frivolous about the law.
Fox News Channel owner Rupert Murdoch (center) has been named in a lawsuit filed in Washington state accusing his network of downplaying the dangers of the corona virus. Murdoch can be seen with his sons Lachlan (left) and James (right) in this undated file photo
“We will defend vigorously and seek sanctions if necessary.”
The lawsuit specifically mentions two Fox hosts – Sean Hannity and Trish Regan – who “acted in bad faith to intentionally and maliciously distribute false information that denied and minimized the danger of the new conavirus spreading …”
The lawsuit, the application of which was first reported by the Times of San Diego, continues, “As a result of this misinformation by this dominant subscription news network, there has been a perpetual untruth that the virus is a ‘hoax’, a ‘conspiracy’, and that it is no more dangerous than ordinary flu.”
The lawsuit is aimed at an order that would prevent Fox News from “interfering with the reasonable and necessary measures to contain the virus by publishing further false and misleading content.”
WASHLITE also asks for “nominal damage” and “reasonable attorney’s fees”.
The lawsuit also mentions AT&T TV and COMCAST, the major cable television providers running Fox News on their systems.
The lawsuit mentions two Fox hosts – current Fox News star Sean Hannity (left) and former Fox Business Network personality Trish Regan (right) – who used the word ‘hoax’ in connection with the corona virus. Hannity has denied calling the virus a “hoax.”
Arthur West, the head of WASHLITE, told the Times that Fox News hosts are responsible for people who don’t take social distance instructions seriously enough at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
“That’s the real evil of this type of programming,” said West.
“We think it has slowed and hindered a rapid and adequate response to this coronavirus pandemic in Washington State.”
West rejected the idea that his organization was violating the First Amendment’s right to free speech by attempting to silence a news broadcast.
“It’s like theater,” he said.
“To the point where you get up in the theater and yell,” Fire! “You can say whatever you want.
“But when you get to the point of endangering the community, it goes beyond the limits of the First Amendment.”
Asked about Claffee’s threat to retaliate against WASHLITE, West said The Daily Beast: “We are not afraid of the big, bad Fox.”
West told The Daily Beast that he has filed several lawsuits against government agencies.
“I have received a number of six-figure awards … I have a collection of European sports cars,” he told The Daily Beast.
“I drive a Jaguar. I have three Mercedes 450 SLs and an Alfa Romeo.
“My house overlooks the water and was bought with money from the drink control panel.”
Regan (seen above during her February 28 broadcast on the Fox Business Network from a studio in New York City) has said goodbye to the company, it was announced last week. Regan controversially claimed that coronavirus was a “scam” used to accuse Trump
He said he has managed to make a living from the damage he has received in court, although he denied that his lawsuit against Fox News is intended to generate publicity.
“We are just as serious as a heart attack when we go to court,” said West.
Hannity, the host of a nighttime primetime show on Fox News, has come under fire for part of a March 9 broadcast saying, “This scares people’s hell – I see it again, like, let’s we bat Trump with this new hoax. ‘
Last week, Fox Business Network, Fox News’ sister channel, divorced Regan, which hosted a nighttime primetime show, just days after being pulled off the air for saying the corona virus outbreak was a ” scam ‘was invented as a way to’ blame ‘President Trump.
Earlier this week, dozens of journalism professors wrote a letter to Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch that destroyed Fox News coverage of the coronavirus pandemic
Hannity rejected claims on Thursday that he called the coronavirus a ‘hoax’ and that his show led viewers to not take the matter seriously enough.
“Go to my website and you will see irrefutable evidence that I took this seriously before most media did,” said the Fox News host Newsweek.
“I warned in January that it was dangerous because it was highly contagious, but some people were asymptomatic, so it would spread quickly.”
Hannity doubled his claim that President Trump’s enemies in the media and under the Democratic Party were using the corona virus as an excuse to attack him.
“Many of them did it,” said Hannity.
“We are in the middle of the great pandemic and where the democrat says:” You know, I did not agree with the travel ban at the time, but it was the right decision. ‘
“Politics surpass the truth in their world.”
Hannity continued, “It’s the same Democrats, media people, and free professors who are so lazy they won’t even look at what I said about the virus.
“They just go with their story. I never called it a “hoax”.
“I said it was a joke to use it as a bat on Trump. And they are.
“[House Rep.] Adam Schiff and [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi is talking about an investigation. Now?
“In the middle of a pandemic?”
Hannity refers to a Pelosi announcement on Thursday promising to form a special two-part committee to oversee the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.
The primetime Fox News star was asked to write a letter on Thursday, signed by dozens of journalism professors blowing up the network.
The letter, addressed to Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, reads: “Viewers of Fox News, including the President of the United States, are regularly subject to misinformation communicated by the network – false statements that indicate Covid’s prevalence downplay – 19 and its drawbacks. ‘
The professors claimed that Fox News made “misleading recommendations about activities people should undertake to protect themselves and others, including informal recommendations for untested drugs; false assessments of the value of measures encouraged by the elected political leadership and public health authorities. ‘
Other Fox News personalities also made statements that seemed to downplay the severity of the coronavirus.
On March 6, Marc Siegel, a doctor who appears regularly on the network, said, “At worst, at worst, it could be the flu.”
Jeanine Pirro, the former prosecutor who hosts Judge Jeanine on Fox News every Saturday, said on her March 7 broadcast: “All the talk about the corona virus is so much more deadly [than the flu] does not reflect reality. ‘
Meanwhile, the Murdochs are preparing to attack lawsuits regarding the network coverage of the coronavirus.
But The Daily Beast reports they have no plans to settle.
“The strategy is not a settlement, even if it costs a lot more to fight the lawsuit and seek sanctions for ambulance-hunting lawyers,” a source close to the Murdochs told The Daily Beast.
Megyn Kelly, a former Fox News host who was a lawyer before going to television, said her ex-boss doesn’t have to worry about anything.
“Anyone who files such a lawsuit will be laughed at out of court and likely punished by the court for filing a frivolous lawsuit,” tweeted Kelly.
“But whatever you have to say to keep yourself busy during quarantine …”