Fox News’ Lawyer: ‘A Reasonable Viewer’ Wouldn’t Think Tucker Carlson’s Show Is News
A lawyer for Fox News has argued before a judge that no reasonable viewer would consider Tucker Carlson’s show to be news. Carlson is one of the network’s biggest and most controversial stars, and he’s currently being sued for defamation.
“Would a reasonable viewer be coming here and thinking this is where I’m going to be hearing the news of the day?” asked Fox News’ attorney Erin Murphy.
“What we’re talking about here, it’s not the front page of The New York Times,” Murphy told a district judge.
“It’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, which is a commentary show.”
Murphy appears to have earlier argument the reverse position – that Carlson’s claim was protected speech under the First Amendment because it was ‘hyperbolic’.
“There’s no statement that a reasonable viewer would understand in this context to state something provably false,” Murphy said.
The point at issue is Carlson’s on-air suggestion that former Playboy model Karen McDougal was trying to extort money from President Donald Trump. McDougal’s defamation claim is based on these statements.
“Two women approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money,” Carlson had said. “Now that sounds like a classic case of extortion. Yet for whatever reason, Trump caves to it, and he directs Michael Cohen to pay the ransom. Now, more than two years later, Trump is a felon for doing this. It doesn’t seem to make any sense.”
The court case is ongoing.