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Tipsheet

Fox News Has Been Hit With Another Defamation Lawsuit

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Nina Jankowicz, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security’s now disbanded Disinformation Governance Board, filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News on Wednesday, weeks after the network settled with Dominion Voting Systems.

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“Fox’s employee hosts and commentators derided and lied about Jankowicz on repeat — and continue to do so even today, the lawsuit states. “Several of these falsehoods stand out as especially destructive — and directly contrary to available, verifiable evidence." 

The coverage led to "immediate online harassment and threats, which continue even now," according to the suit.  

Ms. Jankowicz, a prominent specialist in Russian disinformation and online harassment, became the primary subject of their attacks. In 300 mentions over eight months on Fox last year, she was repeatedly demeaned and defamed in highly personal language, the lawsuit asserts. Hosts including Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo and Sean Hannity said her job was “to silence anyone who criticizes the Biden administration” and possibly even, as Mr. Carlson warned, “get men with guns to tell you to shut up.”

The unit Ms. Jankowicz briefly headed, called the Disinformation Governance Board, had no such powers, or any direct authority to affect speech. The department created it to help unify and oversee existing efforts by its various divisions to monitor and defend against disinformation from foreign agents seeking to influence elections; cartels promoting human smuggling operations; and those seeking to undermine the government’s public health and safety efforts. (NYT)

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In an interview with The New York Times, Jankowicz, who resigned from the board after intense criticism, said Fox News should be held accountable.  

“Even after achieving their stated goal of driving me out of government and ending the board, they kept using me as a punching bag,” she said. “It shouldn’t be something we just accept — that the most powerful cable network in the world can attack individuals willy-nilly and not face any consequences after they ruin their lives.”

Jankowicz’s attorney, Rylee Sommers-Flanagan, said the Dominion case shows that defamation lawsuits against Fox can be successful.

“Dominion shows us how egregious the internal conversations that are happening at Fox are; it shows us that Fox News has an absolute disregard for truth when it is related to their ratings,” she told the Times. 


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