29 July 2023

Donald Trump v. CNN:
“Bad rhetoric is not defamation…”

State of the Union

Donald Trump’s defamation lawsuit against CNN has been dismissed by a judge whom Trump appointed during his presidency. Trump sued CNN for $475 million last year, accusing the network of maliciously comparing him to Hitler by describing his false statements about the 2020 presidential election result as ‘the big lie’, a phrase used by Hitler in his autobiography Mein Kampf (‘my struggle’).

In his dismissal, issued yesterday, District Judge Raag Singhal criticised CNN’s inflammatory rhetoric, though he ruled that it was not libellous: “The Court finds Nazi references in the political discourse (made by whichever ‘side’) to be odious and repugnant. But bad rhetoric is not defamation when it does not include false statements of fact.” Singhal, appointed by Trump in 2019, concluded that “CNN’s statements while repugnant, were not, as a matter of law, defamatory.”

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