Threat to press freedom: Washington state court confronts suit blaming Fox News for COVID-19

Threat to press freedom: Washington state court confronts suit blaming Fox News for COVID-19

[Ed. – Note that in the absence of our regulatory apparatus for broadcasting and “consumer protection” (in this case, the state of Washington’s), there would be no way to bring this case.  Regulation of other things is always how constitutionally-protected rights are attacked.]

A judge on a Washington state court has a chance May 21 to quash a dangerous, outlandish lawsuit against Fox News that would eviscerate First Amendment media freedoms. He should indeed quash it.

The suit is brought by a 3-year-old group of leftist provocateurs called WASHLITE, which stands for the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics. They are suing Fox News for alleged violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act, which outlaws deceptive practices in the course of commerce. WASHLITE says Fox should be punished because some of its on-air personnel, like many other members of the media, spent weeks downplaying “the danger of the international proliferation of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19.” The result, says the group, was that its members’ health and livelihoods were put at risk, and indeed, it says one of its members contracted COVID-19.

The obvious rejoinder is that Fox is a news organization protected by the First Amendment’s freedom of the press.

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