Trump v. CNN

“In a demand letter sent to CNN on Wednesday, an attorney working for the president outlined his intention to sue CNN for its willful misrepresentation of itself. For years, CNN has told viewers, advertisers, and sources that it is an unbiased, straight news outfit. That’s a lie, and the president’s lawyers believe it actually violates the federal Lanham Act’s prohibitions on false and misleading advertising.”

That is from Daily Caller.   Here is more from the Washington Examiner:

Listing several examples from the just-released Project Veritas videotapes of CNN insiders describing Zucker’s demand for “impeachment above all else,” [Trump attorney Charles J.] Harder wrote that they “are merely the tip of the iceberg of the evidence my clients have accumulated over recent years.”

He added, “Never in the history of this country has a President been the subject of such a sustained barrage of unfair, unfounded, unethical and unlawful attacks by so-called ‘mainstream’ news, as the current situation.”

So, does Team Trump have a reasonable chance to make their case stick?   The First Amendment has traditionally placed a very high bar for such a case to go to trial.   However, there is a basis under the Lanham Act to press on the ‘truth in advertising’ front.

We have all known that Trump’s charge of “fake news” is true of all the legacy media, but it is particularly true of CNN.

In this case, Team Trump does not need to win the trial; it would be a major victory just to get to trial.   Discovery could be used to expose CNN, verifying the findings of James O’Keefe and his “Project Veritas.”

Here are the bullets at the top of the Project Veritas report:

    • Cary Poarch, Who Works at CNN’s Washington DC Bureau, Says: “I Decided to Wear a Hidden Camera…to Expose the Bias”
    • Records Zucker’s 9AM Daily Rundown Calls
    • Zucker Emphatically States Fox News is “Beyond Destructive for America”
    • Zucker to Staffers: “Impeachment is the Story,” Ignore Other Stories
    • Employees Ordered by Zucker to ‘Knock Off’ Their Friendliness Towards Lindsey Graham
    •  Nick Neville, CNN Media Coordinator: “Jeff Zucker…has a Personal Vendetta Against Trump,” “…Then You Get on the 9AM Call and the Big Boss, Jeff Zucker, F**king Tells What to Do”
    •  Neville: It’s About ‘Ratings,’ “…It’s, like, They Pulled Names Out of a Hat and It’s Like We’re Watching the Gameshow Network”
    • CNN Floor Manager Mike Brevna: “It’s the Trump Network, Dog… They Sold Themselves to The Devil”
    • Brevna Recalls Colleagues ‘Sobbing,’ And Says The “Office Was Like a Funeral” After Trump Election Victory
    • CNN Media Coordinator, Christian Sierra, Confesses CNN Prepares ‘Softball Interviews’ for Democrats Compared to Republicans, and Suggests “Anti-Trump Crusade” After 2016 Election
    • Top Network Executive David Chalian Says Republicans are ‘Delusional, Defiant, or Silent’ With Regards to Trump’s Impeachment Story
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10 thoughts on “Trump v. CNN”

  1. Project Veritas:

    https://www.projectveritas.com/2019/10/14/exposecnnpart1/

    coverage of Team Trump legal threat:

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/trump-campaign-to-sue-cnn-over-pro-impeachment-bias-demands-substantial-payment

    https://dailycaller.com/2019/10/18/digenova-president-cnn-fake-news/

    It should be stressed that this case is not about any monetary damages that might be awarded. This is purely about vindicating the president and exposing CNN’s core, organizational and institutional bias and dishonesty once and for all by asking a jury to determine that — legally — CNN is fake news.

    Lanham Act:

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/lanham_act

    We recently trashed CNN at 10 Cents’s post:

    https://www.ratburger.org/index.php/2019/10/17/dnn-the-truthiest-name-in-news/

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  2. The insider whistleblower at CNN had campaigned for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries.

    https://www.projectveritas.com/2019/10/15/part-2-cnn-leadership-and-staffers-reveal-true-sentiments-network-picks-favorites-among-democratic-candidates-on-eve-of-debate/

    CNN Insider Cary Poarch said, “I just want us to have a free and fair election. That’s what it’s all about. Like we get an information presented to us. We can, we can pull the lever for whoever we want. Again, left, right center, whatever. That’s the American dream. That’s what it should be. I don’t need to have some ideology shoved down my throat. That’s twisted in a way.”

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  3. In my humble but informed opinion, no, the Trump team can’t possibly win.  And shouldn’t sue.  It’s like if you sue someone who is harassing or stalking you:  after you sue, they can address discovery to you, compel you to appear for depositions, etc.

    Trump should tweet (yes, that’s what I said!)  all the salient points about the Veritas exposé, and all his spokespeople should repeat them, constantly. The goal is, or should be, to discredit CNN in the public eye. Suing and losing isn’t going to make anybody feel better except CNN.  Ask Nick Sandman.

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  4. MJBubba:
    So, does Team Trump have a reasonable chance to make their case stick?

    No.

    MJBubba:
    However, there is a basis under the Lanham Act to press on the ‘truth in advertising’ front.

    As in the PragerU case, the judge could simply say that all CNN’s representations of fairness are “mere puffery”. Actually, PragerU had a much stronger case against Google than Trump does against CNN. PragerU should have appealed. The “mere puffery” doctrine arose from inherently vague things like restaurants advertising “Tastiest Steak in Town” that people automatically would discount.

    MJBubba:
    In this case, Team Trump does not need to win the trial; it would be a major victory just to get to trial.   Discovery could be used to expose CNN, verifying the findings of James O’Keefe and his “Project Veritas.”

    Will be dismissed before discovery. The only thing Trump could get would be for the dismissal to expressly or implicitly say things like “the ordinary consumer would not expect CNN to tell the truth about its lack of fairness and objectivity”.

    And it may not even get there. CNN might obtain dismissal for lack of standing.

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  5. Hypatia:
    If they really think CNN violated  the Lanham Act, sic the Federal Trade Commission on ‘em!

    That seems like a good idea.   Let the bureaucratic investigation begin !

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  6. I don’t think Trump needs to sue in order to quit calling on CNN at press conferences.

    He should use Twitter to chide any Republican who appears on CNN.   Freeze them out.

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