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‘Russian Lackey, Racist, Hitler’: Trump Sues CNN for Defamation, Seeks $475 Million in Damages

‘Russian Lackey, Racist, Hitler’: Trump Sues CNN for Defamation, Seeks $475 Million in Damages

The lawsuit also accuses CNN of escalating the “libel and slander” against Trump “in recent months because CNN fears he “will run for president in 2024.”

President Donald Trump sued CNN for defamation and wants at least $475 million in damages.

Trump threatened to sue CNN in July if the network did not “take down, retract, and cease and desist the use of the terms ‘Big Lie’ and ‘lying'” concerning him questioning the 2020 presidential election.

Trump filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division.

“As a part of its concerted effort to tilt the political balance to the Left, CNN has tried to taint the Plaintiff with a series of ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels of ‘racist,’ ‘Russian lackey,’ insurrectionist,’ and ultimately ‘Hitler,'” states the complaint.

The lawsuit also accuses CNN of escalating the “libel and slander” against Trump “in recent months because CNN fears he “will run for president in 2024.”

Defamation

The lawsuit explains why the “actual malice” standard “should not apply” in this case:

Even though the actual malice standard is met here, in circumstances like these, the judicially-created policy of the “actual malice” standard should not apply because “ideological homogeneity in the media—or in the channels of information distribution—risks repressing certain ideas from the public consciousness just as surely as if access were restricted by the government.” Suits like these do not throttle the First Amendment, they vindicate the First Amendment’s marketplace of ideas.

I do not have formal law training yet (I start Seton Hall School of Law in January. Professor Jacobson makes law interesting, so it rubbed off on me!), but I’ll try to explain this as well as possible.

Trump quotes the late Judge Silberman from the Tah v. Global Witness Publishing, Inc case: “It should be borne in mind that the first step taken by any potential authoritarian or dictatorial regime is to gain control of communications, particularly the delivery of news. It is fair to conclude, therefore, that one-party control of the press and media is a threat to a viable democracy. It may even give rise to countervailing extremism. The First Amendment guarantees a free press to foster a vibrant trade in ideas. But a biased press can distort the marketplace. And when the media has proven its willingness—if not eagerness—to so distort, it is a profound mistake to stand by unjustified legal rules that serve only to enhance the press’ power.”

The lawsuit lists Trump as “a citizen and resident of the State of Florida.” This is significant because public officials and figures must prove the actual malice standard. The “actual malice standard” comes from a SCOTUS case in 1964, in which the court “held that for a public official to succeed on a defamation claim, the public official plaintiff must show that the false, defaming statements were said with ‘actual malice.'”

We’ve covered Sarah Palin’s lawsuit against The New York Times.

But the lawsuit states it “is an action for defamation.” To prove defamation, the plaintiff must: “1) a false statement purporting to be fact; 2) publication or communication of that statement to a third person; 3) fault amounting to at least negligence; and 4) damages, or some harm caused to the reputation of the person or entity who is the subject of the statement.” However, defamation varies state to state.

The Big Lie

“The Big Lie” is the main subject of the defamation complaint. CNN touted Trump questioning the 2020 presidential election as the “Big Lie,” which is another way to connect Trump to Hitler:

23. In its campaign of dissuasion, CNN has branded the Plaintiff as one who subscribes to the notion of the “Big Lie.” The “Big Lie” is a direct reference to a tactic employed by Adolf Hitler and appearing in Hitler’s Mein Kampf. As commonly understood: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” The “Big Lie” was used by Hitler to incite hatred of the Jews and to convince people to ostracize Jewish people. It was an entire propaganda campaign to justify Jewish persecution and genocide. The phrase is not taken lightly and is not bandied about blithely. CNN anchors and commentators understand this. They have not used it against other political leaders and previously criticized political analogies to Nazi Germany and to Hitler.

24. In a CNN broadcast on September 4, 2012, CNN Anchor Ashleigh Banfield discussed a statement by the then-chair of the Democratic Party in California, John Burton. Banfield noted that Burton “actually compared Republicans to Nazis.” Id. She read Burton’s statement during the broadcast: “They lie and they don’t care if people think they lie. As long as you lie, Joseph Goebbels, the big lie, you keep repeating it, you know.” Id. Banfield continued with background on Goebbels, a Nazi propagandist under Hitler. Id. Paul Steinhauser, a CNN Political Director appearing on Banfield’s show, responded: “No, not cool. The Nazi comparisons never work in politics. This is another example of why you don’t or should not do that.” Id. Banfield stated: “I’m getting sick of both parties calling people Nazis…It’s stupid and sick.” Id.

Then Trump brings up CNN’s continued use of the “Big Lie” despite new CEO Chris Licht allegedly telling employees to drop it:

Since then, CNN’s on-air personalities—including John King, Jake Tapper, John Avlon, Brianna Keilar, and Don Lemon, among others—have continued to use the phrase in describing the Plaintiff and the Plaintiff’s questions of election integrity despite an apparent admonition from their Chief Executive Officer.

27. Reportedly, the term “Big Lie” has been used in reference to the Plaintiff more than 7,700 times on CNN since January of 2021. Id.

Trump has a point when he mentions CNN doesn’t use the “Big Lie” when talking about others who deny their election losses. He immediately mentions Stacey Abrams when she appeared on State of the Union in 2019: “In response to what I believe was a stolen election—I’m not saying they stole it from me, they stole it from the voters of Georgia. I cannot prove empirically that I would’ve won, but we will never know. And so what I demanded on November 16 was a fair fight because you see, voter suppression is as old as America.”

CNN also did not challenge anyone after 2016 when they insisted the Russians stole the election from Hillary Clinton, even allowing guests to refer to Trump as an “illegitimate” president: “CNN repeatedly allowed for assertions that the Plaintiff was illegitimately elected largely to go unchallenged, including statements made by Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Jimmy Carter, Jerry Nadler, John Lewis, Dianne Feinstein, Marcia Fudge, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. None of these individuals who challenged the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election were accused of propagating a ‘Big Lie’ or even of lying.”

“Platform to Propagate Its Politics”

Trump accuses CNN of using “its platform to propagate its politics.” He uses the following examples to prove his point:

Meanwhile, CNN has undertaken a smear campaign to malign the Plaintiff with a barrage of negative associations and innuendos, broadcasting commentary that he is like a cult leader, a Russian lackey, a dog whistler to white supremacists, and a racist. It is the stuff of tabloids cloaked as “honored” news.

13. CNN’s reporting on the Plaintiff in recent years has consistently fed a narrative to denounce the Plaintiff’s legitimacy and competency. The reporting is results-oriented, as betrayed in an undercover video: A CNN employee was filmed discussing the Defendant’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election. The employee boasted that CNN helped to defeat the Plaintiff in the 2020 election and called the Defendant, his employer, “propaganda”: “Look at what we did, we got Trump out…I am 100% going to say it. And I 100% believe it that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out.” Id.

Let’s not forget then-anchor Brian Stelter of Reliable Sources not pushing back when Allen Frances said, “Trump is as destructive a person in this century as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were in the last century.”

Trump also notes Anderson Cooper interviewing Linda Ronstadt, who  compared Trump’s rise to that of Hitler. I giggled: “No matter how lovely a voice she may have, Ronstadt is a singer, not a historian. The interview is merely a pretext to repeat CNN’s message under the guise of real ‘reporting.’ More problematic is the use of celebrities to propagate CNN’s message.”

Trump Sues CNN by mchastain on Scribd

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Comments

INB4 Millhouse’s “expert” analysis.

    gonzotx in reply to Mt. Fuji. | October 3, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    Lol

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Mt. Fuji. | October 3, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    At least Mulhouse use’s complete words and not text-speak in his comments.

      INB4 is a forum short for “in before” and used to jump a topic that normally would produce the comments from the know rabble rousers. It just popped into my head.
      I guess you are no fan of the military’s use of acronyms either?

        The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Mt. Fuji. | October 4, 2022 at 8:58 am

        This isn’t the military, but when I served I found them useful. My favorite was DILLIGAFF.

        One from WWII: the Navy referred to the commander in chief United States as CINCUS. They realized it sounded like “sink us”, so changed it to COMINCH.

    Aarradin in reply to Mt. Fuji. | October 4, 2022 at 2:07 am

    Nothing he posts ever pans out, lol

    A Venn diagram of Reality vs Milhouse posts would be two circles that fail to intersect.

    mailman in reply to Mt. Fuji. | October 4, 2022 at 5:44 am

    How could you even begin to question Justice Millhouses “expect” analysis on EVERYTHING!

Keep suing President Trump

I’m guessing a key fact here might be when alleged ‘hard news journalist’ talking heads were using these terms while allegedly reporting facts.

I would guess CNN’s ‘opinion’ and ‘analysis’ talking heads are free to opine all they want. Just as Foxnews’ prime time lineup does.

CNN is scum, but I don’t see the defamation claim under all that mess. Calling someone a nazi is not defamation. It’s an opinion, not a statement of fact, and therefore cannot be defamatory.

The same thing with calling someone a liar. Accusing someone of a specific lie can be defamation, if they can prove that what they said is actually true, and (in the case of a public figure) that you knew it was true. But calling someone a liar in general is just an opinion, so you don’t even have to try to defend it.

The same goes for “Russian lackey”, etc. A specific allegation that Trump did this or that at Putin’s instructions would be actionable, if he could prove it was false and that they knew it was false. But a general statement that he’s “in Putin’s pocket” is not actionable, just like all the people who say that about Biden or McConnell.

As for CNN “using its platform to propagate its politics”, it’s entitled to do that. The first amendment guarantees that. It’s not using “public airwaves”, so it doesn’t need a license and it can’t be required to keep its opinions to itself.

    Juris Doctor in reply to Milhouse. | October 3, 2022 at 10:41 pm

    This objectively an incorrect statement. See Soobzokov v. Lichtblau (3d Cir. 2016) 664 Fed.Appx. 163, 168 //Calling someone a nazi is not defamation. It’s an opinion, not a statement of fact, and therefore cannot be defamatory.//

      Milhouse in reply to Juris Doctor. | October 3, 2022 at 11:38 pm

      Liar. Nothing in that case contradicts my statement. In fact the case is irrelevant, because the defendant hadn’t called the plaintiff a nazi or indeed anything bad. It was all in the plaintiff’s mind. But even had he called him a nazi, so long as he didn’t mean an actual Nazi, i.e. a card-carrying member of the NSDAP, it would not be defamatory. (And obviously nobody has ever claimed Trump was that! Everyone understands that when you call someone born after 1930 a nazi, you don’t mean an NSDAP member.)

        gonzotx in reply to Milhouse. | October 4, 2022 at 9:40 am

        Isn’t calling someone a “Liar” name calling?

        Danny in reply to Milhouse. | October 4, 2022 at 10:40 am

        Your idea that somebody being a Nazi is not a statement of fact simply can not stand under any standard.

        “Nazism is a form of fascism,[2][3][4][5] with disdain for liberal democracy and the parliamentary system. It incorporates fervent antisemitism, anti-communism, scientific racism, and the use of eugenics into its creed. Its extreme nationalism originated in pan-Germanism and the ethno-nationalist neopagan Völkisch movement which had been a prominent aspect of German nationalism since the late 19th century, and it was strongly influenced by the Freikorps paramilitary groups that emerged after Germany’s defeat in World War I, from which came the party’s underlying “cult of violence”.[6] Nazism subscribed to pseudo-scientific theories of a racial hierarchy[7] and social Darwinism, identifying the Germans as a part of what the Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race.[8] It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a homogeneous German society based on racial purity which represented a people’s community (Volksgemeinschaft). The Nazis aimed to unite all Germans living in historically German territory, as well as gain additional lands for German expansion under the doctrine of Lebensraum and exclude those whom they deemed either Community Aliens or “inferior” races (Untermenschen).”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism

        That is a very common definition of Nazism and if you ask 2000 people 1900 will give you that response and the remaining 100 will be telling you something extremely similar that means exactly the same thing.

        The case mentioned also very much does not agree with you on Nazi not being a statement of fact this is actually from the decision

        “Plaintiff is mentioned in the Book four times. (Balin Decl. Ex. B at 139-140, 178, 229-230, 234.) On pages 139-140, Lichtblau describes Plaintiff’s long-standing belief in his father’s innocence and efforts to defend his father’s name. (Balin Decl. Ex. B. at 139-140.) Nothing in that passage is injurious to Plaintiff’s reputation or would subject him to ridicule, contempt or hatred. Lichtblau is merely attempting to describe an understandable pattern of behavior seen in first-generation children of accused Nazis who “believe[] in their fathers and their innocence . . ..” (Id. at 138.) Lichtblau next mentions Plaintiff when he notes that Plaintiff “rushed back from the Middle East to be with his father” as he was dying. (Id. at 178.) This indicates admirable filial devotion and is not defamatory. Lichtblau next notes that Plaintiff “pressed authorities to reopen the investigation” into his father’s murder and brought an unsuccessful lawsuit alleging that “prosecutors failed to bring charges against anyone because of his father’s notoriety as a Nazi.” (Id. at 229-230.) Again, rather than defaming Plaintiff, this section evidences a son’s devotion to his father and desire to obtain answers about his murder. Finally, Lichtblau thanks Plaintiff in the Book’s Acknowledgments for his “cooperation.” (Id. at 234.) Plaintiff argues that this “implies that [Plaintiff] helped Lichtblau in preparation of the book that falsely accused Tscherim Soobzokov of being a Nazi war criminal.” (Compl. Count Three ¶ 21.) Although Plaintiff may dislike or disagree with conclusions Lichtblau drew when writing the Book, Plaintiff did cooperate with Lichtblau, meeting with him for several days, communicating by telephone, email and text, and providing him with documents. Lichtblau’s thanks provided a truthful description of Plaintiff’s involvement with the development of the Book and truthful statements can never be defamatory. Consequently, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for defamation and Defendants’ motion to dismiss Counts One and Two of the Complaint will be granted.”

        If being labelled a Nazi wasn’t defamation that section would be absent and be replaced with a reminder that being labelled a Nazi isn’t defamation. Judges will NEVER indulge “did it happen” if “did it happen” is completely irrelevant.

        Trump is unlikely to win but enough of this theory of yours that words have no meaning and everything falls under opinion, not everything does and words do have meaning and judges in this country routinely acknowledge words have meaning which is why that judge went over “did this happen as plaintiff claims” instead of “I am dismissing this because being labelled a Nazi isn’t a statement of fact”.

        Reason a judge rules is always as important as the ruling.

          taurus the judge in reply to Danny. | October 4, 2022 at 11:40 am

          All those words to be 100% wrong. Amazing

          Danny,

          You need a learning annex on the “legal application” of words as they apply to this subject in proper context.

          Danny in reply to Danny. | October 4, 2022 at 12:24 pm

          To follow up to address Taurus almost everything in that post is quotation. I quoted what the universally agreed on definition of a nazi is and further quoted the actual case from the judges decision https://casetext.com/case/soobzokov-v-lichtblau

          An actual serving judge agreed with me, the judges quotation wouldn’t have been available to find if he just didn’t find the term nazi to qualify as defamation.

          Separating opinion from statement of fact can be hard but the law does try to do that and being a Nazi is a statement of fact.

          taurus the judge in reply to Danny. | October 4, 2022 at 12:40 pm

          Don’t give up your day job Danny

          Here’s where you sit down and listen to those who actually know the subject and learn.

          In short ( taking a little liberty on total accuracy to keep it simple)

          what you references IS “a” definition of Nazi BUT NOT THE ONLY ONE.

          One day, open a dictionary and study those little characters to see what they say.

          You will find many words with radically different (often contradictory) definitions and then another level of conversational use ( slang)

          So, to “prove” ( to the legal standard) that CNN calling Trump a NAZI for the purposes of winning in a court..

          Trump would have to first establish WHICH DEFINITION of the word they “really meant’ ( proving “intent” at best is damn near impossible of itself)- to the exclusion of all others

          Then he would have to FACTUALLY disprove it

          Then he would have to PROVE they knew this up front and deliberately lied.

          Trump probably can easily prove he isn’t a Nazi ( but what definition- ahh, that’s the sticky wicket)

          A VERY high bar

          Either you’re an idiot or you think we are. You lay it out here: prove you’re not a . . . wife-beater, Nazi, racist, whatever.

          There is no “sticky wicket’ on President Trump being a Nazi or not and being able to “prove it.” That’s freaking nuts. But you are just poking and prodding and hoping something will stick. Sorry, no one here is interested in crime of any kind, including lawless insurrection promoted by an, I would say, obvious feebie plant.

          taurus the judge in reply to Danny. | October 4, 2022 at 12:42 pm

          PS
          @ Danny

          In this case, I REALLY DO wish you were right and I was wrong.

          I really do.

          Its just not going to be though.

        M Poppins in reply to Milhouse. | October 4, 2022 at 12:47 pm

        Then what do you mean when you call someone a Nazi?

          taurus the judge in reply to M Poppins. | October 4, 2022 at 1:03 pm

          That’s the whole point Milhouse was making from the legal perspective.

          Let me try to use a different approach.

          By literal definition ( factually) a “Nazi” is ONLY a card carrying member of the German NSDAP. (That’s the origin of the term and its basal meaning)

          Since then colloquially its used to describe Germans in general of the period, members of the German army of WWII in general, adherents of facism, socialism, people who use unjust force, dictators, people who literally wear brown or black shirts, skinheads and a whole lot more.

          Basically a noun used “symbolically” based on the original definition.

          Those “symbolic” uses are not “fact” because the definitions are all over the place and even subjective or individual in make up so calling someone a “Nazi” by any of those is a personal belief or opinion which is covered under protected speech.

          If they called Trump an actual card carrying member of the NSDAP then there would be a basis in FACT to refute their claim. (They didn’t do that)

          EVEN THEN- that claim alone would not “defame” him ( to meet the statute requirement)

      mailman in reply to Juris Doctor. | October 4, 2022 at 5:45 am

      Even when they state it as fact?

        taurus the judge in reply to mailman. | October 4, 2022 at 9:51 am

        There’s a part 2 to that

        Stating as a “fact” then is that statement a “belief” as “believes it true” ( an opinion)

        Stating as a fact “knowing” ( having specific knowledge to the accuracy of the belief)

        “Technically” it can only be a “lie” ( defined as a deliberate act with intent to damage) unless one “knows” the truth thus being able to know what the truth “isn’t”.

        Very high burden of proof and very “debatable”

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Milhouse. | October 3, 2022 at 11:18 pm

    One can always tar and feather someone by framing something as opinion, or by asking a question. I have done this for years, only been sued twice and prevailed both times. In both those cases, the opponents paid a heavy price. One was an attorney operating on behalf of a client who routinely defrauded people of tens of thousands of dollars. When I was finished with him, he only had one last client, and then he died.

    I appreciate the value of attorneys, even adversaries, unless they are crooked.

      Milhouse in reply to JohnSmith100. | October 3, 2022 at 11:43 pm

      Indeed one can do a lot of damage without crossing the line into defamation. That was Oberlin College’s mistake. Had Raimondo been a little bit more careful, and confined her rhetoric against Gibsons to the usual charges of “racism”, the harm to Gibson’s would have been exactly the same, but they would have had no case. Oberlin is $36M poorer, plus its legal costs, because she distributed a flier that was reckless enough to make a factual statement, without checking to make sure that statement was true.

    M Poppins in reply to Milhouse. | October 4, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    I disagree – liar, thief, whore, etc. are all defamatory slurs that are articulated to demean and damage a reputation, and are actionable.

I hope these giants of the legal profession are ready for the anti-SLAPP motion and the fee motion that will come next.

It’s hard to see what genuine legal strategy would produce such a complaint.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Publius_2020. | October 3, 2022 at 11:25 pm

    Well, if one is willing to join that kind of opponent in the gutter, it is always possible to fix their wagons.

    If nothing else, Trump is tarring and feathering them, rightfully so. And bet more firing come soon.

    jakebizlaw in reply to Publius_2020. | October 4, 2022 at 12:43 am

    Disagree. Trump’s complaint makes a plausible case for a change in the case law, albeit a long stretch for a major political figure. I’ve observed a slippery slope in the federalization of the tort if defamation in the nearly 60 years since NYT v. Sullivan, which concerned an open letter-type ad which criticized Southern police officials for persecuting civil rights activists. The actual malice standard has ballooned from applying to public figures to topics of public interest; and opinion has cloaked many misrepresentations of fact from being held defamatory. The Sullivan precedent is ripe for being narrowed to its original holding, if not being overruled entirely (which would make the reaction to Dobbs seem like bean bag by comparison).

      Milhouse in reply to jakebizlaw. | October 4, 2022 at 1:00 am

      Even if Sullivan were to be overturned entirely, indeed even if Trump were a private person, please explain how you think any of the complained-of statements would be actionable.

      Do you dispute that calling someone a racist, a neo-nazi, or even “literally Hitler” is not actionable? Or do you distinguish these statements from that, and if so how?

      taurus the judge in reply to jakebizlaw. | October 4, 2022 at 10:30 am

      @ Jake

      I personally think Team Trump has a hidden agenda here.

      I suppose Trump could be making a “test case” but I don’t think that would be a wise use of money and resources but we will see,

      Even when I remove the test of Sullivan (granted I have only scan read the complaint so could be missing something)..

      I do not see anything legally actionable so far. ( that isn’t covered under the 1st amendment)

      What am I missing?

One interesting challenge this suit faces is the question of what state defamation law controls? New York, Florida, or DC.

There is also a glaring SMJ issue in that CNN and Trump may be found to be not diverse. (NY &NY).

Until Sullivan and the rest of the tortured precedent re public figures which allows the media to spout nonsense and lies is overturned this case is a loser.

No one, not an organization and no individual should be able to make public claims they cannot prove regarding someone else. However, the truth should always be an insurmountable defense. If you are in fact obese then you have no case when someone points out that fact in print.

Alternatively, one very effective way to reduce the temperature and name calling would be to bring back dueling. Suddenly there would be the possibility of a very personal consequence for behavior that the target found to be offensive.

    Milhouse in reply to CommoChief. | October 3, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    Even without Sullivan this case looks like a loser, because there’s no provably false statement of fact. It’s all opinion, which is by definition not defamation.

      CommoChief in reply to Milhouse. | October 4, 2022 at 8:50 am

      An opinion is rooted in the person’s interpretation of facts/evidence at hand. A statement offered up without any underlying factual basis isn’t an opinion.

      The point here is that allegations or assertions must be rooted in facts/evidence in order to be a defensible argument. If one makes a statement that X is an ‘ist full of isms’ they need an underlying factual basis to form their opinion from their interpretation of those objective facts.

      IMO, No facts = name calling as are bizzaro interpretations from a fact that reasonable people would reject as unsupported conclusions because those conclusions are unreasonable = name calling. Bullies engage in name calling. The best way to stop bullies is to kick them in the jimmy until they fall down and keep kicking them until we grow weary of inflicting pain and injury. That’s the only way the bullies learn to stop.

        taurus the judge in reply to CommoChief. | October 4, 2022 at 10:35 am

        Actually Chief.

        A “belief” does not have to have an underlying basis in fact.

        I’m certain CNN will argue they “believe” Trump fits the description by his “acts” as viewed through their “lens”. In most cases, that’s protected speech.

        I still do not see a “statement of fact” allegation made by them and I am looking for one so somebody please point it out.

        I think Trump has a hidden motive here and its not based on “winning” or otherwise even “prevailing” on this issue

          CommoChief in reply to taurus the judge. | October 4, 2022 at 11:55 am

          Taurus,

          A belief isn’t an opinion for precisely the reason you state. We use the phrase believer for those who subscribe to the dogma of a particular religion.

          Beyond intelligent design and a Creator there’s not a great deal of evidence to support Catholicism v Episcopal v Lutheran v Muslim v Jewish. The adherents of those dogmas have certainly agreed at times that the differences between them are worth fighting over due to their beliefs.

          An opinion, on the other hand, is formed from objective facts. An example would be two expert witnesses called to review something. They each observe the same set of data but may come to different interpretations of what that data reveals.

          taurus the judge in reply to taurus the judge. | October 4, 2022 at 12:14 pm

          Respectfully Chief

          In the legal realm, a “belief” is nothing more than an opinion.

          I testify as an expert frequently and I may have “facts” ( test results and so forth) that meet the definition of scientific evidence but my “conclusion” based on those facts is an OPINION regardless of my “belief” based on those “facts” ( and it gets crossed)

          By definition “belief” is simply individual “acceptance” ( or denial) of a “thing” and as such is a CHOICE based on an individuals personal criteria.

          There is no significant difference at the root level from a legal perspective.

          The law does not require “proof” of a belief or a “layman’s” opinion and that’s why its not held to the same standard that “scientific evidence” is held to.

          Chief, you see it now, right?

          CommoChief in reply to taurus the judge. | October 4, 2022 at 6:06 pm

          Taurus,

          A layman can testify to what they witnessed and offer a logical inference of a reasonable person. An expert due to education and sometimes experience can draw conclusions from evidence they review but didn’t witness being created.

          You can offer a mere belief that is untethered to any fact such as ‘I believe he hated his neighbor’. However, when no police reports of any friction exists, not even a call record. No civil CT issues over an easement or whatever exist. All the family, friends, neighbors say they got along and this person has zero evidence to offer themselves to support that belief. IOW this person would be offering a belief based upon…nothing and would impeach/undermine their own credibility. Which is what our current 1st amendment precedent allows or perhaps even encourages.

          IMO the Trump case is a loser under current precedent. Someday that will change. Perhaps it will take someone who decides not to run to CT but instead run to the mattresses and hire someone more effective than an Attorney in delivering a more personal form of justice.

          The average local Karen could benefit from a solid ass kicking as a reminder that the veneer of civilization stops at lines we don’t cross. The average headline seeking, click baiting journalist might require a professional administering repeated applications.

      Dimsdale in reply to Milhouse. | October 4, 2022 at 10:05 am

      So, does this relegate the “news” to opinion? CNN stands for Cable News Network, not Cable Opinion Network, and is force fed (or was) to airports and other public places, without a corresponding difference of opinion?

      Is not the responsibility of “news” to be even handed, unbiased, or at least fair (not the leftist definition of such)? It is one thing to dial up “The View” or “Fox and friends” and know what you are getting, but misrepresenting opinion as “news” does need to be addressed.

      That said, the “Big Lie” is the big lie: the real Big Lie was the Russian Collusion delusion, which they obviously still push, even though it has been definitively debunked. And linked to Hillary, let us never forget.

        taurus the judge in reply to Dimsdale. | October 4, 2022 at 12:00 pm

        Lets go down the list here

        ALL news is opinion

        Nothing is ‘force fed”

        Don’t confuse an “ethical standard” with a “legal requirement”

        Sadly, I personally agree with you 100% but its a fatally flawed premise that has already lost and it puts me in the position of backing up Milhouse but I have also looked and don’t see any legally enforceable “defamation”.

        Believe me, I want to be wrong on that but as of this post, nobody has shown a single point that is.

      M Poppins in reply to Milhouse. | October 4, 2022 at 12:50 pm

      “Russian lackey” is actionable

I think you all are missing the point. Trump nor his legal team has any reason to believe they will prevail in a suit of this nature. They’re pretty intelligent people.

So, try real hard and imagine another reason why they file suit against CNN.

    That’s what I’ve been thinking. Trump may not win in court but in the end, he will had many months to make his case to the American people almost daily. This about taking it to the people.

    This case could carry long after the FBI/DOJ panty raid case is over which, if the DOJ/FBI fails to establish primacy over the law, would amplify Trump’s message heading into 2024. Trump might even introduce the libelous assaults on Judge Aileen Cannon and the Special Master as evidence. Sweet!

    It’s not like those of us who understand what is being done to Trump are just a tiny minority. We are probably in the majority already and growing. Recent polls reveal that his message is resonating across political party lines and that his popularity is growing among minorities and women.

    While the left keeps pushing their “one size fits all” script of name calling in lieu of reasoned debate, a connected Trump is resonating among an increasingly frustrated populace fed up with being insulted and lied to. Try to “flatten THIS curve”!

    taurus the judge in reply to Barry. | October 4, 2022 at 8:13 am

    Barry, the more I read the case, the more it appears you may be correct here.

    I think “bringing the suit” is the strategy here and win or lose isn’t the goal.

    Dimsdale in reply to Barry. | October 4, 2022 at 10:09 am

    Maybe it will push the new CNN CEO into accelerating the constructive changes he has been making recently.

    Subtle yet effective. The leftists at CNN continue to make themselves targets of involuntary severance,

    It should be fun to watch.

Wish they’d challenge the Constitutionality of Sullivan as well.

14th Amendment requires that the law apply equally to everyone. Sullivan reversed the burden of proof and set an insurmountable bar for the plaintiff in any case where the victim could be defined as a “public figure”.

Result has been a two-tiered system of injustice in which “public figures” can be slandered at will with no chance whatsoever of justice.

    Milhouse in reply to Aarradin. | October 4, 2022 at 5:25 am

    Sullivan is the Supreme Court’s authoritative interpretation of what the constitution requires; therefore by definition it can’t be unconstitutional. The constitution can’t be unconstitutional. That’s like those leftists who claim that an amendment could be unconstitutional.

      Dimsdale in reply to Milhouse. | October 4, 2022 at 10:10 am

      Yet it could be overturned….

      Aarradin in reply to Milhouse. | October 4, 2022 at 10:18 pm

      Roe v Wad was the Supreme Court’s UNCONSTITUTIONAL authoritative interpretation of what the constitution requires.

      There was nothing in the Constitution that supported that decision, so it was overturned and thrown in the trash.

      With Sullivan, not only is there no support in the Constitution for the decision but that decision flies directly in the face of the 14th Amendment’s requirement that the law must apply equally to everyone.

      Justice Thomas has recently, and repeatedly, been quoted in print essentially begging for someone to challenge Sullivan.

      As usual, Milhouse, your post here is complete garbage.

If that child could end up a multi-millionaire thanks to suing the Democrat media for only ONE incident with a Native American imagine what Trump can achieve based on YEARS of lies peddled as fact by CNN! This guys networth is about to double thanks to Democrats! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

CNN isn’t in the news business. It’s in the fiction business, a narrative world what its viewers prefer to live in. Furthermore the viewers know it. That’s the actual defense.

CNN is news in a fictional world, not in the real world, and moreover its business model depends on it.

In the real world there’d be no business. There’s no actual demand for hard news.

What about all the commentators here who refer to Biden and people in his administration as Hitler, fascists, racists, and liars? Should all of you guys be sued for defamation as well?

Uh, sure. Give it a try. Let me know how it goes. I’ve been called everything over the years including many times by Milhouse. Some of them real doozies. Maybe I could sue him and seek “damages”?

Antifundamentalist | October 4, 2022 at 8:52 am

I’m quite cerain I’ve heard CNN make claims that Trump said something very specific, but when you listen to the actual clip, Trump said no such thing. And then they used that false statment to allude to him being a white supremecist. Why would that not count as libel or slander? They factually misconstrued or outright lied about his statments on a regular basis from at least 2015 on.

    taurus the judge in reply to Antifundamentalist. | October 4, 2022 at 9:54 am

    They will argue their “interpretation”- not a direct quote

      Again, is the “news” institution in the business of “interpretation” or actual reporting of facts and complete, in context quotes?

        Dimsdale in reply to Dimsdale. | October 4, 2022 at 10:14 am

        Considering that they repeat the same news, over and over again, there is clearly time to do the job correctly.

        They choose not to.

        taurus the judge in reply to Dimsdale. | October 4, 2022 at 11:46 am

        Yes, the first amendment CLEARLY gives them the RIGHT to publish their “interpretation”.

        The news “business” is MAKING MONEY and they make money by selling the news.

        They make the news” enticing” by putting their “spin” on the facts to motivate people to buy it.

        Been that way literally from day 1.

        That’s why the bar is so high.

          CommoChief in reply to taurus the judge. | October 4, 2022 at 10:02 pm

          Dueling existed at day one. Public alterations were more common among the class of influencers of the day. Some would even destroy printing press, equipment, offices and distribution networks to retaliate v lies. Newspapers were commonly associated with political parties and they competed v each other in the same cities.

          All those existed and acted as a deterrent to one degree or another for publishing absolute falsehoods from day one.

cannot see how he could win.
but maybe he can stretch it (I doubt it) until just after any discovery timeframes before it gets tossed.
but it will get tossed.

    taurus the judge in reply to dmacleo. | October 4, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    Actually, it depends on what the objective is to define what “win” actually is.

    Based on my read, I don’t see a legal victory here so “winning the case” probably isn’t the goal.

    Perhaps a “win” is the timing, the fact he brought the suit ( being on the attack), shaping public opinion, appealing to his base right before a midterm, discovery or something else.

    I have no idea what a “win” is going to be but I seriously doubt it is going the distance and getting a cash positive settlement.

About whether or not the names/claims of CNN rise to defamation, slander, etc., does the legal perspective change at all when considering the effect such claims have on the audience?

Recently, a man in ND ran down an 18 year old whom he’d been told was a “republican extremist”. I reckon the same argument could be made, that it was the opinion of the speaker which is protected free speech – words only – which by themselves are not injurious. Except for the young man who was run down and killed by someone who took the words / accusation literally and targeted him.

    taurus the judge in reply to MrE. | October 4, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    @ MeE

    You>>>About whether or not the names/claims of CNN rise to defamation, slander, etc., does the legal perspective change at all when considering the effect such claims have on the audience?

    Not in any significant way for statements made in general to a “populace” regarding defamation et al.

    Now in a rare case, if it could be proven ( almost impossible but can be done) that the speaker targeted someone/people specifically and used words designed to incite them with the intent- that “could” be possible but so improbable that it wouldn’t be worth the attempt except in a rare case. ( and that would be to commit an act- not influence a personal belief)

BierceAmbrose | October 4, 2022 at 4:16 pm

Fascinating. The Orange Crush is still the spectacle of the empire.(*)

Whatever the legal maneuverings or outcomes, filing this infiltrates the national conversation and grabs news cycles for a long time. Even “Trump is an idiot and can’t win!” puts the issue into the mix.

Would The God Emperor(*) have done this absent the FBI Panty-Raid? The two events change the communication landscape for each other.

(*) Callback to an ironic first-term meme.