SLAPP Suit Filed Against Fox News Over Awful & Dangerous COVID-19 Coverage

from the on-the-one-hand... dept

Pretty much everyone knew this was coming. Fox News' coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has been absolutely despicable -- insisting that it was little more than the flu, was overhyped by Trump's political enemies, and nothing anyone should be worried about, before turning on a dime to suddenly pretend they never said any of that earlier, and that suddenly it was always obvious it was serious:


Of course, a ton of people not only still remember the earlier messaging, but continue to insist it was correct. I've seen it pop up over and over again in various internet forums, where Fox News watchers still, to this day, insist that it's little different than the flu and that all of the efforts to stop the spread are part of a "Democratic hoax" which was messaging straight from Fox News. The news channel, of course, is shameless in its buffoonlike support for the President's messaging, which is now almost certainly contributing to people dying. It's sickening.

But, that doesn't mean that anyone should be able to sue to silence Fox News -- but it was widely expected that there would be such lawsuits.

And now we've got the first one. As first reported by the Times of San Diego, a little-known non-profit in Washington is suing Fox News (it also throws in AT&T TV, and Comcast, claiming that they offer Fox News in their programming and "are named only insofar as they may have interests that would make them necessary parties, and no relief is sought from them") and trying to get an injunction to get Fox News to stop pushing nonsense about COVID-19, claiming that its existing reporting violates the states consumer protection laws. The complaint filed in Washington state court is a joke, filed by a group that calls itself the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics or "WASHLITE." Except, as the Times of San Diego reports, it had trouble finding people who had heard of the organization before.

The group got a real life lawyer, Elizabeth Hallock -- who, um, is "an attorney and risk management consultant, a certified family law mediator and owns the Sweet Relief marijuana retail store in Yakima", and also is running for governor of Washington as a Green Party candidate -- to write the complaint, and I'd suggest she keep one of her day jobs. The whole argument is that by broadcasting misleading information, Fox News "engaged in unfair and deceptive acts" under Washington's Consumer Protection Act. Except, that's not what the law means. The unfair and deceptive acts need to be actions not protected speech.

The San Diego article has quite the interview with Arthur West, who runs WASHLITE, and it feels like every word he said is designed to troll Ken "Popehat" White:

West denied that the nonprofit group (with perhaps 30 associate members) was aiming to stifle First Amendment rights.

“It’s like the theater thing,” he said. “Up 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 where you are endangering the community — that transcends the limits of the First Amendment.”

He also contends that commercial speech is involved, not private speech by members of the public.

Of course, we've covered to death why you should never ever listen to anyone who spews the nonsense "fire in a crowded theater" line, because it's not good law, and was only mentioned (as an aside) in a since-superceded case that was about putting a politician in jail for protesting a war. Oh, and also, because it's the prime excuse used by every would-be censor. And while "commercial speech" does have fewer protections than speech by the public, that doesn't mean you get to just ignore the 1st Amendment. As despicable and awful as Fox News' coverage has been, it's all been protected free speech.

West also seems to think that, because people are dealing with Stay-at-Home orders around the country, the 1st Amendment is suspended or something:

Finally, ordinary conditions don’t apply in Washington, with First Amendment rights to assemble and travel already “rightfully” restricted, he said.

“Reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on speech have almost universally been upheld in the extraordinary circumstances where such measures are necessary to forestall a clear and present danger,” he said. “This is one such occasion.”

That is not how any of this works.

Also, a real lawsuit would include actual examples of the "unfair and deceptive acts." This one does not. It just talks vaguely that the network "acted in bad faith to willfully and maliciously disseminate false information denying and minimizing the danger posed by the spread of the novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, which is now recognized as an international pandemic." As Ken White likes to say, vague complaints are usually the sign of censorial thuggery. Yes, it's true that people are spewing garbage because of Fox News' reporting, but that doesn't mean the network violated the law.

By creating a false belief in a statistically significant percent of the population that the coronavirus is a “Hoax,” the Defendants have created an epidemiological hazard. A subset of the population has and will continue to ignore or resist reasonable and necessary efforts to control and mitigate the virus and prevent mass death.

That's not how the law works, and if it was, it would be a disaster for the media -- even the media that is usually a lot more reasonable than Fox News propaganda. Sometimes reporters get things wrong. Sometimes they make mistakes. Making them liable in this manner would be a huge attack on a free press.

Also, as is evident from the interview in the San Diego coverage, the WASHLITE folks are entirely focused on trying to get internal Fox News documents in discovery -- which they probably are never going to get access to as this case should be tossed out before that's ever allowed.

Unfortunately, while Washington State used to have an anti-SLAPP law, due to some bad drafting the law was mostly tossed out as unconstitutional five years ago. Ridiculously, this seems to excite West, as when asked about this being a SLAPP suit, he told the Times of San Diego reporter about how Washington no longer has a real anti-SLAPP law. That's not something you should be proud of, dude.

No matter what you think of Fox news and its despicable coverage, this lawsuit is a SLAPP suit and an attack on the 1st Amendment. That it's filed by a group that purports to be about "transparency" and "ethics" and is run by a guy who claims to make his living as a public records advocate is shameful. Speak out all you want about how awful Fox News and its coverage has been. Tell everyone you can that it's spewing propaganda and misinformation. But that doesn't mean you get to sue and claim that it's an "unfair or deceptive" practice. That's just not how any of this works at all.

Meanwhile, the Daily Beast spoke to West as well, in which he notes that he's a former automobile mechanic and then proceeds to brag about how much money he makes suing the government over public records requests.

“This might seem strange to you,” he added, “but I make a very good living beating the government in court”—mostly suing local jurisdictions, politicians, and taxpayer-funded agencies using Washington’s public records and open records laws. “I’ve gotten a number of six-figure awards… I have a collection of European sports cars. I drive a Jaguar. I have three Mercedes 450 SLs and an Alfa Romeo. My house overlooks the water, and it was purchased with money from the liquor control board.”

West won a $192,000 settlement after filing an open-meetings lawsuit against the agency that governs Washington’s legalized marijuana industry.

Of course, thanks to a lack of a good anti-SLAPP law in Washington, it likely means he's protected from having to pay Fox News' (likely considerable) legal fees.

Filed Under: 1st amendment, anti-slapp, arthur west, consumer protection, covid-19, elizabeth hallock, slapp, washington
Companies: fox news, washlite


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  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 6 Apr 2020 @ 9:11am

    You're biased against conservatives /s

    Dammit Mike, now all the trolls who say you're biased against conservatives and republicans will have to find another angle to throw at you!

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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Apr 2020 @ 9:47am

    I despise Fox News. It is a fountain of misinformation and GOP propaganda disguised as “editorial opinion”. And I think the world would be much better off without Fox News on the air. But even I’m not so deep into my dislike for Fox News that I think it should be taken off the air through anything other than advertisers jumping ship and network ratings going to hell.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2020 @ 9:57am

      Re:

      Unfortunately, this will never happen unless a more despicable "news" source pops up. There are conservatives who think Fox is too liberal. Anyone who thinks it's too conservative isn't watching it except to make clips for the Daily Show coverage.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2020 @ 10:03am

      Re:

      "But even I’m not so deep into my dislike for Fox News that I think it should be taken off the air through anything other than advertisers jumping ship and network ratings going to hell."

      Well, it worked in the UK, hopefully it'll work there too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2020 @ 11:06am

      Re:

      CNN seems popular these days, how many viewers are there primetime getting these days?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Apr 2020 @ 12:09pm

      A Downfall of Fox News

      Revolutionaries storm the studio and dig in, resulting in an on-camera months-long seige by the ATF. After a long routine of boredome with intermittent bombardments, tear-gas fog, hours of sonic attacks and the occasional (laughable) efforts at negotiation the National Guard brings in tanks and artillery. The power goes out hours before the final raid and there are conspicuously no survivors to take to trial.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2020 @ 10:10am

    Taking about rewriting History!!!!

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    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2020 @ 10:34am

      Re:

      Considering how the mainstream news has been outright lying!!!! Flat out one lie after another!!!! It's pretty Disgusting. But you're just so focused on Fox news. Oh no, your leftist boogieman. If it's not Fox news it's RUSSIA. Oh no!!!!

      Fox was actually out there ahead of most other news in fact. But watch their lies NOW to what they were saying the same time as Fox. How Trump is a Racist/Xenophobe for Banning people from China, etc. Trump and the team were way ahead of everyone else. The Democrats were all focused on Orange Man Bad and Impeachment. They are in fact still doing that. The Democrats out there saying Trump should do this or that, and he already did weeks ago. They're still focused on trying to Impeach Trump, not this Virus. Mainstream news have been doing the same thing. They're still covering for Dementia Joe when everyone else in the world can see it for what it is.

      This site is so leftist with a base case of TDS also. Open your eyes for once.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2020 @ 5:54pm

      Re:

      rewriting History

      Ducktales, uwu

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jim M, 6 Apr 2020 @ 10:43am

    The early messagin was wrong on both sides

    I saw a clips using Liberal commentators doing the same thing. There is one with Mayor de Blasio down playing the risk. Telling everyone to take the subway go to parades etc.

    I hate it when you go political.

    Most of your content is excellent.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2020 @ 11:04am

    I hate Fox News with a burning passion in the way it spreads falsehoods and propaganda blatantly in spite of all evidence that they're saying is wrong only to pretend they didn't say any of the things they did when they can't ignore it anymore, and is about one step removed from becoming state-sponsored news given how they hold the ear of Trump but trying to sue them out of existence for what their reporters say is wrong because it's still protected speech.

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  • icon
    Koby (profile), 6 Apr 2020 @ 11:15am

    From Voltaire

    I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

    The consistency is refreshing. You are a true first amendment hero, Mike.

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  • identicon
    Rekrul, 6 Apr 2020 @ 11:21am

    But, that doesn't mean that anyone should be able to sue to silence Fox News

    Why not? If I went on national TV and claimed that drinking bleach was safe, I would sure as shit be sued by the relatives of anyone stupid enough to take my advice seriously. I would probably also be charged with a crime for spreading blatantly false information and endangering people's lives.

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 6 Apr 2020 @ 11:31am

      Re:

      I would probably also be charged with a crime for spreading blatantly false information and endangering people's lives.

      What crime?

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 3:21am

      Re:

      "Why not? If I went on national TV and claimed that drinking bleach was safe, I would sure as shit be sued by the relatives of anyone stupid enough to take my advice seriously."

      Hmm. nope.

      I mean, yes, in the US you can be sued over anything, just not always successfully.
      As the continuing trend in peddling various forms of snake oil and silver colloids demonstrate, winning such a suit isn't easy, despite how many people have been turned into smurfs through the practice of drinking colloidal silver.

      "I would probably also be charged with a crime for spreading blatantly false information..."

      Only if mens rea can be proven. You'd need to prove the guy knew that drinking bleach was a health hazard before you can invoke penal law. And proving someone's beliefs is always an uphill job.

      I sometimes agree that being past a certain level of outright stupidity in public should be a crime. And then I remember who usually benefits from that kind of arbitrary censorship law in factual history. Making dumb assertions in themselves criminal is not a great plan.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 4:04am

        Re: Re:

        "despite how many people have been turned into smurfs through the practice of drinking colloidal silver"

        Well, it helps mark out the morons doesn't it? The thing is, it's a thin line that depends on how it's being sold. The likes of Jim Bakker and Alex Jones have recently been reprimanded for trying to sell collodial silver and other supplements under claims that they can cure coronavirus, but there wasn't much that could be done while they were selling them as more generic homeopathic supplements.

        Or, something could be done, but the FDA had more important things to deal with, until they stepped over the line into actively risking lives for profit. There's a marked difference between "buy our snake oil that might turn you blue if you're stupid but is otherwise as effective as other homeopathy" and "buy our snake oil to use instead of going to the hospital if you think you have corona".

        "You'd need to prove the guy knew that drinking bleach was a health hazard before you can invoke penal law"

        That's a little easier to prove, and even if not the process would be fun, with these people having to swear in court that they're utter morons with no real knowledge of the things they tell their listeners.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 7:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Well, it helps mark out the morons doesn't it?"

          This remains my own default argument for allowing colloidal silver on the market. If only everyone dumb enough to fall hook, line and sinker for snake oil salesmen and conspiracy wingnuts had the common courtesy to render themselves easily identifiable by turning their skin a rich purple-blue life would be so much easier.

          "There's a marked difference between "buy our snake oil that might turn you blue if you're stupid but is otherwise as effective as other homeopathy" and "buy our snake oil to use instead of going to the hospital if you think you have corona"."

          True enough. The fact that the unworthies of Jones and Bakker can use previously debunked myth and garbage to provide legal backing for their latest snake oil scheme and still sell makes me want to break out my copy of the world's smallest violin to sadly serenade the gullible vegetables falling for the scam.

          "That's a little easier to prove, and even if not the process would be fun, with these people having to swear in court that they're utter morons with no real knowledge of the things they tell their listeners."

          Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the room where they hold that conversation with their lawyer...

          "So, Mr. Jones, unless you can convince the judge and twelve jurors that you are a gormless, absolute lackwit bereft of anything even resembling a clue you're probably looking at 10-20 years worth of hard time and no end of lawsuits aimed your way by a horde of irate smurfs. For the criminal charges I think I can get you down to 5 years on good behavior but as far as the civil angle goes I'm pretty sure Angry, Hefty and Papa aren't going to be willing to settle peacefully"

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2020 @ 11:23am

    Should Sue CNN Also

    They should sue CNN also.

    My cleaning lady, who listens to Al Jazeera on headphones while she is vacuuming, heard about the coronavirus long before CNN picked it up, and she understood the significance of it. And she watches Fox everyday, along with CNN, in order to compare them. Of course, Fox is Fox. Business as usual.

    I guess CNN had to contact their stock brokers and Pharma sponsors before they went with the news item.

    CDC didn't get their test kit stuff together until the day after the House passed a funding bill. I looked every day leading up to that day, and nope, no test kits available, day after day. Then all of a sudden - coincidence - the day after a funding bill passed, by magic, they said states could use the original test kits, excluding the part that didn't work.

    .

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  • icon
    Oninoshiko (profile), 6 Apr 2020 @ 11:58am

    Spinning up Ken White

    Was there a mention of ponys?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2020 @ 12:01pm

    Test kits - false positives and negatives

    https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/emergency-situations-medical-devices/emergency-use-authorization s#covid19ivd

    There are 28 test kits shown on the FDA site which have not been not been approved by the FDA, but have Emergency Use Authorization.

    The first 6 have disclaimers about false positives and false negatives on the Fact Sheet for Patients. I assume the rest do also.

    The Authorization dates range from Feb. 4 to Apr. 3.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2020 @ 5:22pm

    Slight edit...

    "And now we've got the first one. As first reported by the Times of San Diego, a little-known non-profit in Washington..."

    should read:

    "And now we've got the first one. As first reported by the Times of San Diego, a little-known Democratic party front group in Washington which hack reporters will treat seriously ..."

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2020 @ 11:25pm

      Re: Slight edit...

      Strange, I'm reading that as "idiot AC can't explain why it's a bad source, nor why Fox shouldn't have their ass sued for endangering lives, so he has to pretend it's all a conspiracy".

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    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 12:21am

      Re: Slight edit...

      hack reporters

      Unlike the paradigms of honesty and integrity that is the Faux News talking heads? Yeah, right.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 1:25am

        To quote a Twitter post:

        [C]onservatives think young leftist activists are paid and heavily coached to be dishonest because that’s what conservatives do with young conservative activists[.]

        The same generally applies to conservative journalists/reporters/etc. — it’s not about the fact that they lie, it’s about the fact that they were coached to think everyone lies so they might as well get in on the grift. That’s how you end up with shitbirds like Project Veritas.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2020 @ 5:29pm

    A bunch of those shout fire in a crowded theater people were hunted down. I'm not sure exactly how many were but a number of them are simply no longer with us.

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  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 6 Apr 2020 @ 6:30pm

    Even At A Cost In Lives?

    If Fox News’ bad medical advice only resulted in the deaths of those stupid enough to believe in them, that would be one thing. But this is an infectious disease we’re talking about. Before the poor dumb dupes die, they can infect thousands of others who made no such choice to follow Fox News’ advice.

    How far does your First Amendment go? Sacrificing your life to preserve the liberties of others is one thing, but sacrificing the lives of others to preserve your own liberty is, I thought, not quite part of the plan.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2020 @ 11:29pm

      Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

      "Before the poor dumb dupes die, they can infect thousands of others who made no such choice to follow Fox News’ advice."

      ...and Fox will take that as a cost of doing business so long as enough of their viewership stays alive enough to attract ads and buy whatever their guests are shilling.

      "How far does your First Amendment go?"

      That's something that's been in question since it was written.

      "sacrificing the lives of others to preserve your own liberty is, I thought, not quite part of the plan"

      As Jefferson said - "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants". I don't think that he'd have been thinking that "patriot" means someone who catches a disease from a gullible moron, but I'm sure the morons would find a way to spin it that way.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 3:50am

      Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

      "How far does your First Amendment go? Sacrificing your life to preserve the liberties of others is one thing, but sacrificing the lives of others to preserve your own liberty is, I thought, not quite part of the plan."

      A question posed a lot of times through history. The winning answer invariably has always been that when you live in a free country some of the oner of not being too dumb to live will fall on you yourself.

      Or, as good old Benjie liked to put it, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

      Anyone who does not realize, by now, that Fox isn't exactly a reliable expert authority on much of anything is already a potential darwin award candidate.

      You just can't help some people.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2020 @ 10:14am

      Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

      I love how both Paul and SDM ignore the part where you said " Before the poor dumb dupes die, they can infect thousands of others who made no such choice to follow Fox News’ advice." because it doesn't support their argument.

      If people are willing to let thousands of innocent people die to protect the First Amendment and respond with shit along the lines of "Well at least the Fox News devotees will get their Darwin Award", then those people are just as bad as the Second Amendment fanatics who think that mass shootings and endless gun violence are the price we have to pay for our right to bear arms.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 10:23am

        Re: Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

        The problem is, what is to be done about it? Allowing anyone to sue and recover damages over speech that causes any harm seems at first like it would help with this situation but leads down a dark road. Empowering the executive branch to decide what speech is allowed and what is not is unacceptable for (I hope) obvious reasons. So rather than just saying people are going to die and so something must be done, why don't you offer a suggestion for what should be done?

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 10:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

          "The problem is, what is to be done about it?"

          That is indeed the question. Outside of the US there are various types of watchdogs, regulation and so on that are intended to address these kinds of things. But, the US has long ago decided that their government cannot be trusted with such things and therefore recourse for innocent victims are harder to come by. As with the second amendment and its relationship to the mass shootings that are far more rampant in the US than elsewhere, the citizens of the US and their representatives need to decide where to draw the line and how many innocents are too many.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2020 @ 11:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

          This pandemic is already proving that we need to re-think a lot of things about our society. One of those things should be whether or not news outlets like Fox should be allowed to lie with impunity for the sake of profit, endangering people all the while, entirely consequence-free.

          Because as optimistic and wishful as one's thinking might be, the idea that Fox is going to suffer real consequences for any of the COVID-19 misinformation and propaganda they spew is laughable, just as much as people thought that Fox was going to face consequences for their lies and propaganda in the past. Fox News has received countless fact-based verbal smackdowns via The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, social media and more over the years, and yet they still exist and command a devout fanbase large enough to shape elections and policy nationwide with their votes.

          Letting organizations like Fox News spread misinformation and propaganda that has tangible negative impacts on our country and the world at large and expecting the sacred Marketplace Of Ideas to keep the absolute worst at bay while saying to one's self "Well, at least the stupid people who listened to them will die" is fucking dystopian.

          Organizations that lie and cause harm for the sake of power and profit shouldn't be able to hide behind the First Amendment. Free speech and the 1A don’t need a drastic overhaul or page-one rewrite; that's not what I'm asking for here. But the status-quo, the way we give a free pass to organizations who abuse that freedom and hide behind their categorization as news so they can cause harm to others for their own benefit and profit, and then expect “more, better speech” to act as the solution to everything? That needs to change.

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          • icon
            nasch (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 1:24pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

            Organizations that lie and cause harm for the sake of power and profit shouldn't be able to hide behind the First Amendment. Free speech and the 1A don’t need a drastic overhaul or page-one rewrite; that's not what I'm asking for here.

            Perhaps that's not what you have in mind, but I think it is what would be required to get where you want to go.

            the way we give a free pass to organizations who abuse that freedom and hide behind their categorization as news

            There are no special protections given to news to say anything anyone else couldn't say. So they're not really hiding behind any legally significant categorization as a news organization. I don't see how we can use governmental power to punish people for making harmful speech without a significant rewrite of the first amendment.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 9:10pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

              "There are no special protections given to news to say anything anyone else couldn't say."

              So, the Citizens United decision would need to be the first one removed, in order to get rid of the ridiculous idea that a fictional legal construct has the same rights as a flesh and blood human.

              "I don't see how we can use governmental power to punish people for making harmful speech without a significant rewrite of the first amendment."

              See above. The first trick is to make sure that a person is still protected while a corporation is not. As far as I'm aware, all that should need is a reversal of one of the dumbest and most controversial legal decisions on the subject of free speech, not a rewrite of the entire amendment.

              It won't stop this sort of thing instantly, but it should encourage some form of due diligence, which would be a damn good start.

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              • icon
                nasch (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 10:34pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

                I don't think I follow. Reporters are people. They get full first amendment protection when they write things and say things, regardless of the personhood or lack thereof of the corporation they work for. So how would reversing Citizens United, as wonderful as that would be, help with this particular issue?

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 11:50pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

                  "Reporters are people. They get full first amendment protection when they write things and say things"

                  Exactly. Corporations are, however, not people, yet they have been granted first amendment protections as if they were people by the Citizens United decision. Yes, the decision largely covers things like political finance on its face, but with organisations like Fox turning basic human rights into a partisan political issue, it's coloured everything since it happened. the cult of Trump may not have happened if they were accountable for some of their damaging editorial decisions

                  "So how would reversing Citizens United, as wonderful as that would be, help with this particular issue?"

                  It would ensure news outlets have some responsibility for what they broadcast. while the individual hosts could not be held directly responsible for what they say on air, a corporation could be. They would therefore have to show that they did proper due diligence around the stuff they show.

                  It could therefore also lead to some kind of standards or oversight so that, for example, While Sean Hannity might still be able to push his nonsense without any legal comeback, Fox themselves could be incentivised to make sure there's a better line between news reporting and opinion (as examples), while that's not possible at the moment while Fox can claim first amendment as a corporate entity.

                  I could be wrong, but that's based on my understanding of it, and the decision is clearly one of the issues that's caused a lot of damage in the years since it happened.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 10:53am

        Re: Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

        "I love how both Paul and SDM ignore the part where you said ...because it doesn't support their argument."

        I ignored the first sentence I quoted, which formed the theme of the rest of my post? Lol.

        Do you need us to slow down, use smaller words, reduce our discussion to your level so that you can understand it? We are usually fairly kind here, just let us know how we need to adjust the discussion so that you can follow it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Apr 2020 @ 4:26am

        Re: Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

        "I love how both Paul and SDM ignore the part where you said " Before the poor dumb dupes die, they can infect thousands of others who made no such choice to follow Fox News’ advice." because it doesn't support their argument."

        We're not ignoring it. That part, albeit highly relevant to illustrating the lamentable repercussions of Gray's Law, is completely irrelevant when it comes to adding a new argument against Freedom of Speech.

        Let's face it, this is the exact analogy of driving a car - where you must assume that even if you yourself do everything correctly there will be someone a few cars behind or in front of you doing something monumentally dumb which may or may not result in your own impending death through no fault your own.

        We accept that risk and have formulated a large body of international traffic safety guidelines on how to act, as a driver, to mitigate the fact that someone else will be jeopardizing the life of everyone on the same road. Simply being human means that you must learn how not to be dragged down by the idiot who just decided to risk your life. There is no cure, legal or otherwise, for that, other than ensuring everyone gets a comprehensive education and is taught critical thinking.

        Or, well, there is no alternative which will not be far, far worse than simply letting people speak, at least.

        "...then those people are just as bad as the Second Amendment fanatics who think that mass shootings and endless gun violence are the price we have to pay for our right to bear arms."

        That's...not exactly a good analogy. "Arms" are physical items and there are plenty of countries with both extremely liberal and extremely draconian gun laws which have managed to pull their restrictions or lack of restrictions off with better results than the US.

        In order to take Fox News off the air, however, you must accept the principle that "public speaking" outside of "government sanction" is prohibited. At that point you're screwed.

        Freedom of speech has been used so often to move gullible morons to malicious action that we tend to have the question raised every decade or so on whether we can afford it. The answer is always the same. It's never whether we can afford it. It's always "We're completely screwed otherwise".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2020 @ 4:45am

          Re: Re: Re: Even At A Cost In Lives?

          "We're not ignoring it."

          I'll just note again - not only did I not ignore it, I quoted it in the very first line of the post he's complaining about.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    restless94110 (profile), 6 Apr 2020 @ 11:29pm

    Awful and Dangerous?

    So, accurate reporting is awful and dangerous now? I've seen all the Fox coverage on COVID and have utterly no idea who anyone could think there was something awful or dangerous about it. Where is this nonsense coming from?

    On the other hand, I've seen awful and dangerous coverage on CNN and MSNBC where they dissed the use of Hydroxychlorquine for several weeks. Now the drug is being used by thousands of doctors and is approved for this purpose by the FDA. Fox was right. Their coverage of this drug was not awful and not dangerous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2020 @ 11:47pm

      Re: Awful and Dangerous?

      I love the way you had to outright lie to defend the shit shovellers from being called out as liars.

      "I've seen all the Fox coverage on COVID and have utterly no idea who anyone could think there was something awful or dangerous about it."

      Then, you should get you information from better sources, then you'd understand the issues with Fox's spins.

      "I've seen awful and dangerous coverage on CNN and MSNBC where they dissed the use of Hydroxychlorquine for several weeks"

      ...as they were right to for various reasons, ranging from the fact that it's not been fully tested yet for this purpose, to the fact that people still need it to keep them alive from non-corona related conditions and encouraging panic buying will stop them getting their life saving medicine. That responsible reporting, whereas irresponsible statements from Trump and Fox on the subject have literally got people killed.

      But, just like a Fox fan to promote the most dangerous, least responsible form of reporting, then not see a problem with it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 12:26am

      Re: Awful and Dangerous?

      It'd be funny how gullible you clowns are wouldn't this also endanger the people around you.

      https://respectfulinsolence.com/2020/04/03/zelenko-smith-abandoning-evidence-based-medicine-for-cov id-19/

      Let's see your big mouth back here when the virus continues to spread in areas where people were given this game changer of a drug, shall we?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 1:31am

      Fox was right.

      Not…really? The drug may be approved for use in treating COVID-19 — and even that fact is suspect without a citation — but no hard scientific data says the drug will have any real effect on the virus. All we have is anecdotes (reminder that the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”) and a rather small study from a single country to back up the claim that hydroxychloroquil is an effective treatment (never mind a “cure”) for COVID-19. Until more hard data exists to prove the drug is effective in treating COVID-19, nobody should be using it because Donald Trump says it’s a miracle treatment. Miracles don’t happen on the orders of the so-called leader of the free world.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 3:54am

      Re: Awful and Dangerous?

      "On the other hand, I've seen awful and dangerous coverage on CNN and MSNBC where they dissed the use of Hydroxychlorquine for several weeks."

      When every doctor on the globe was, in fact, dissing that drug the exact same way at the time that just means CNN were reliably reporting what the expert authorities were saying.

      And good thing too. Chloroquinine is NOT HARMLESS. In fact, outside of an intensive care unit where you've got a defibrillator and a team of surgeons standing by, the drug itself is as deadly as the disease.

      "Fox was right. Their coverage of this drug was not awful and not dangerous."

      No, Fox wasn't right, and their general approval of that drug was as irresponsible as if they'd been saying "This just in, opium and heroin can cure pain better than aspirin!!".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 9:14am

      Re: Awful and Dangerous?

      [Asserts facts in opposition to evidence]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 4:09am

    "Chloroquinine is NOT HARMLESS."

    ...and just to repeat what I'd mentioned above - it's also needed for other things. Causing a shortage of the drug through misinformation is not just irresponsible because it could get people killed through improper administration, it can make people suffer and die because they need it for a non-COVID-19 purpose.

    This is why, in a sane world, the president usually trusts his advisers and experts, rather than whatever he saw on Twitter while throwing his daily 3am tantrum about people not showing him the proper amount of worship. But, we're not in a sane world, we're living in a world where he overrides his medical experts based on someone's random blog.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Apr 2020 @ 8:06am

      Re:

      "But, we're not in a sane world, we're living in a world where he overrides his medical experts based on someone's random blog."

      Worse, we're living in a bizarro world where, when the president babbles random garbage like a medieval soothsayer on magich shrooms, his voter base all run off to hoard up on the leeches and shards of the True Cross he's peddling in direct opposition to what the actual experts of the world are all saying.

      It's 2020 and a non-negligible proportion of the citizenry are no further along than cavemen appeasing their fear by kneeling to the local witch doctor. That is...terrifying.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    BenTaylor (profile), 18 Apr 2020 @ 3:10am

    Imma fraid you are a communist propaganda pusher suffereing from #TDS. Totally #FakeNews Keep crying cupcake bc FOX is the ONLY channel being honest & open given the information on hand at the time. And turns out, they were right. Maybe you should watch it more instead of spinning lies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Apr 2020 @ 6:05am

      Re:

      How stupid do you have to be to have worked out that every other outlet is consistently telling one story and Fox another, yet come to the conclusion that this means that everybody else is the propaganda outlet?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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