Fox News successfully argued in court that no "reasonable viewer" actually believes Tucker Carlson.
A federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News, after the network argued that no "reasonable viewer" takes what Tucker Carlson says seriously.
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The case was brought on by Playboy model Karen McDougal, who Carlson said blackmailed Donald Trump. McDougal engaged in a 10-month affair with Trump in 2006, but Carlson claimed her story “sounds like a classic case of extortion” and that she “approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money.”
Fox's lawyers claimed, successfully, that Carlson isn't “stating actual facts” on his show, but engaging in “non-literal commentary.”
"This 'general tenor' of the show should then inform a viewer that he is not 'stating actual facts' about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in 'exaggeration' and 'non-literal commentary,'" Federal Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil said in the ruling.
"Given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism.'"
"Karen McDougal's lawsuit attempted to silence spirited opinion commentary on matters of public concern," Fox News Media said in a statement. "The court today held that the First Amendment plainly prohibits such efforts to stifle free speech. The decision is a victory not just for FOX News Media, but for all defenders of the First Amendment."