While former President Donald J. Trump likes to blast the “fake news media” for their “unfair” coverage of him, he and his counterparts (such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis) are accidentally pushing to have Fox News shut down, but they have no idea they’re doing it.
If Trump and his loyalists get what they want with the passage of bills that essentially attack free speech and journalism, Fox News (as well as all news outlets) will be at risk of getting shutdown – keep reading to learn how.
To the surprise of no one, the former president recently filed suit against veteran journalist Bob Woodward. Trump says because Woodward published audio recordings of interviews with him, Woodward is in violation of copyright law. Laughable, I know. Several legal experts say Trump’s case has basically no chance of winning, but I digress.
“I am continuing my fight against the corrupt, dishonest, and deranged Fake News Media by filing this lawsuit,” Trump said on his This Truth Social site.. “This was an open and blatant attempt to make me look as bad as possible… I will always champion TRUTH and battle against the evil forces of disinformation and Fake News!”, Trump said.
Here’s what Trump told The Washington Post after losing a lawsuit against a journalist who questioned his lies about his net worth: “I spent a couple of bucks on legal fees, and they spent a whole lot more. I did it to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about.”
Trump has long advocated for “opening up libel laws” so that individuals can easier sue people who write things about them that they don’t like.
Trump Set The Stage – Now, Enter Governor Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis absolutely hates the “corporate media” (except for Fox News, of course). He loudly and proudly insists mainstream journalists lie with no repercussions, therefore, he believes the only solution is for the government to intervene with new laws.
Specifically, DeSantis wants to overturn the 1964 Supreme Court case, New York Times v. Sullivan, in which the justices ruled unanimously that for a plaintiff to prove actual malice, the defendant must have defamed a person “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”
What does this have to do with former President Trump?
Trump has lead the charge against the “fake news media” for many years, so naturally DeSantis will beat that same drum in his own state of Florida by supporting another bill that would basically criminalize the use of anonymous sources by journalists, and make the “failure to validate or corroborate the alleged defamatory statement” meet the standard for actual malice.
If passed, it would mean that mistakes by journalist and reporters could no longer be made, period. It would mean news outlets, like Fox News, would be legally liable to prove (with 100% certainty) any fact they report.
Realistically, this is impossible and would essentially mean that public scrutiny of powerful people would no longer be able to happen without legal liability. Joe Cohn of the non-partisan Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) wrote, “Passage of this dangerous bill would spell disaster for free speech by constricting the open debate that is critical for a democracy to function.”
It’s get worse…Gov. Ron DeSantis is currently heavily pushing a bill that would require bloggers to register with the state or face fines.
New York‘s Jonathan Chait put it this way:: “First, DeSantis established the principle that he can and will use the power of the state to punish private firms that exercise their First Amendment right to criticize his positions. Now he is promising to continue exerting state power to pressure the firm to produce content that comports with his own ideological agenda.”
Trump and his loyalists may eventually get their way with the attack on free speech, but they are unwittingly pushing to shutdown their beloved network, Fox News, in the process