On Monday, former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against CNN for defamation in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
“CNN has sought to use its massive influence — purportedly as a ‘trusted’ news source,” the lawsuit reads. “to defame the Plaintiff in the minds of its viewers and readers for the purpose of defeating him politically, culminating in CNN claiming credit for ‘[getting] Trump out’ in the 2020 presidential election.”
The suit, which is seeking $475 million in damages, alleges that CNN reports untrue information as fact: “CNN’s campaign of dissuasion in the form of libel and slander against the Plaintiff has only escalated in recent months as CNN fears the Plaintiff will run for president in 2024. 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.'”
“These labels are neither hyperbolic nor opinion: these are repeatedly reported as true fact, with purported factual support, by allegedly ‘reputable' newscasters, acting not merely with reckless disregard for the truth of their statements,” Trump's lawyers claim. “but acting with real animosity for the Plaintiff and seeking to cause him true harm.”
“CNN has been given the dreaded “Pants on Fire!” designation by PolitiFact for its stories comparing Trump to Hitler,” the suit continues, adding, “Still, it persists, requiring the time and expense of filing the instant lawsuit.”
In order for President Trump to prove that CNN has defamed him, his lawyers will have to prove that CNN's journalists actually acted with malice or reckless disregard when they reported on the former president, according to The Hill.
The lawsuit is a long time coming given that Trump announced his intention to do so back in July with a letter to CNN executives.
“I have notified CNN of my intent to file a lawsuit over their repeated defamatory statements against me,” Trump said in a statement. “I will also be commencing actions against other media outlets who have defamed me and defrauded the public… I will never stop fighting for the truth and for the future of our Country!”
While the former president attempts to extract damages from CNN, this isn't the first time he has attempted to hold a left-wing news outlet accountable for its reporting.
In 2019, the Trump campaign sued the New York Times over a piece titled, “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo,” per the New York Times.
In a time when CNN is undergoing incredible change under the leadership of Chris Licht in an attempt to become more moderate, this lawsuit is a reminder of the partisan nature of the network that allowed it to thrive under the Trump presidency as it pushed conspiracy theories to undermine a legitimately elected president.
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