CNN, arguably more so than any other media outlet, rejected any remaining shred of objectivity and descended into pure partisanship with its incessantly negative “coverage” of former President Donald Trump over the past several years.
Now Trump has hit back with a defamation lawsuit against CNN that seeks $475 million in punitive damages plus an unspecified amount in compensatory damages in response to the network’s unyielding attacks on his name and reputation, the Washington Examiner reported.
The former president’s suit specifically took issue with CNN’s deliberate, overt, and repeated comparisons of himself and his allies and supporters with Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and Nazism, as well as the clearly Nazi-associated “Big Lie” phrase with regard to Trump’s questions about the 2020 election results.
Defamation, libel, slander, and false smears
“Beyond simply highlighting any negative information about the plaintiff and ignoring all positive information about him, CNN has sought to use its massive influence — purportedly as a ‘trusted’ news source — to defame the plaintiff in the minds of its viewers and readers for the purpose of defeating him politically,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in the 29-page filing.
“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,” the suit continued. “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.'”
The attorneys proceeded to note that CNN did not use those and other smears as hyperbole or opinion, but rather as true and confirmed facts, which would constitute “actual malice” — the legal standard for defamation — as they were delivered with “real animosity” for the purpose of causing “true harm” to Trump, his name and reputation, and his future political chances.
The lawsuit took particular exception to CNN’s many direct comparisons drawn between Trump and Hitler or Nazism, of which it provided numerous examples, and even cited a study that found no fewer than 645 instances since the 2016 election in which “Trump,” “Hitler,” or “Nazi” were uttered within 10 words of each other in network articles and broadcasts.
It also took issue with CNN’s incessant use of the phrase “Big Lie” — estimated to have been used at least 7,700 times since Jan. 2021 — with regard to Trump’s objections to the 2020 election outcome, as that phrase is an openly admitted reference to an infamous quote from top Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who once said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
Trump seeks legal accountability from CNN
Former President Trump issued a statement Monday to announce the lawsuit against “CNN, the once prestigious news channel that has devolved into a purveyor of disinformation, defamation, and Fake News, at a level which the American Public, and indeed the World, will not even believe is possible.”
He asserted that “the time has finally come to hold CNN responsible and legally accountable for their willful deception and defamatory statements made about me and both, directly and indirectly, my strong, devoted, and patriotic supporters.”
Trump further noted that he was considering additional lawsuits against a “large number of other Fake News Media Companies for their lies, defamation, and wrongdoing” against him, as well as the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021, given the one-sidedness of its probe and potentially defamatory portrayal of him.
“I am proud to file today’s lawsuit in order to begin the process of standing up to Fake News and the Mainstream Media,” the former president concluded.