Judge tosses defamation suit against Tucker Carlson: 'Any reasonable viewer' would not trust him for news

Judge tosses defamation suit against Tucker Carlson: 'Any reasonable viewer' would not trust him for news
Tucker Carlson speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Credit: Gage Skidmore

Back in 2016, Donald Trump participated in a conspiracy with his former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen and David Pecker (then-publisher of the National Enquirer) to silence women who were coming forward with stories of sexual affairs with Trump. One of the women that was paid off was former Playboy model Karen McDougal. According to reports, Pecker used hush money from Trump, funneled through Cohen, in order to buy McDougal’s story (as well as Stormy Daniels’), and then bury the stories after having the women sign a non-disclosure agreement. You know, dirtbag stuff.

Fox News and the rest of the right-wing propaganda machine went to work first attacking the veracity of the women’s claims and then very quickly (because it was obvious that Trump had affairs with them because Trump is a known dirtbag and the evidence was overwhelming) began twisting these women’s stories into a deep state-funded conspiracy to take Trump down. People like Fox News’ intellectually vacuous Tucker Carlson were sent out to help assassinate the character of the women involved.

In December 2018, Tucker went on his Fox News show and said that Karen McDougal (and Stormy Daniels for that matter) had “extorted” Donald Trump. He said that extortion was a crime—he was right, it is a crime. But Karen McDougal didn’t do that and Tucker Carlson’s characterization that she had “approached Trump and threatened to ruin his career or humiliate his family if he did not give [her] money” was erroneous. So, Ms. McDougal sued Carlson in December 2019.

On Thursday, McDougal’s lawsuit against Tucker Carlson was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil—not because Tucker Carlson didn’t say those things but because according to Judge Vyskocil, no one should believe anything Tucker says about anything.

Fox persuasively argues that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer “arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism” about the statements he makes. Whether the Court frames Mr. Carlson’s statements as “exaggeration,” “non-literal commentary,” or simply bloviating for his audience, the conclusion remains the same—the statements are not actionable.

There you go. He’s so full of shit it doesn’t matter what he says. Tucker is right up there with Alex Jones.


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