Fox News Faces Lawsuits Over Coronavirus Coverage
Fox News is facing a number of lawsuits from viewers over their coverage of the coronavirus. Some viewers say they were blindsided when the full extent of the problem became apparent. They accuse Fox News of downplaying the severity of the pandemic and providing false information.
The lawsuit is an attempt by interests from the State of Washington to prevent Fox News from sharing unfactual or untruthful information concerning the coronavirus.
Is Fox News Required to Report “The Truth”
In an age of spin and infotainment, news outlets are protected by the First Amendment from certain claims. While they can still face defamation cases, these lawsuits are difficult to win because the press enjoys broadscale immunity when it comes to “opinion pieces”.
Nonetheless, it does owe some kind of a duty of care to its viewers. If, for instance, Fox News brought an expert on the air who said you could cure coronavirus by using chemicals used to clean your aquarium, and someone tried this and died (this didn’t happen, it’s just an example) then you may have a direct link between Fox News reporting and a physical injury. In other words, that would be actionable.
However, the claims that Fox News downplayed the severity of the virus is not as direct as a personal injury attorney would hope for. In other words, it may be more difficult to file a lawsuit since there may not have been a direct connection between Fox News broadcasting and some real-world injury.
Is Fox News Putting Elderly People at Risk?
If you came away with the belief that the virus was no big deal, not much different than the flu, or created by the media as a way to harm the current president’s re-election bid, then chances are, you were listening to a right-wing media outlet—not necessarily Fox News. However, if you were an elderly person, in the risk group, and still had these beliefs, and then got infected from the virus because you didn’t take the proper precautions, one could make the case that Fox News directly caused your infection. However, is that a strong case?
Meanwhile, while all these talking heads were downplaying the virus, Fox News itself began implementing work-from-home procedures by the middle of March with a memo that stated that the earliest day they could expect to return to work was May 4.
A lawsuit of this kind could open the floodgates to all types of lawsuits against media outlets. Worse still, it isn’t apparent that Fox News did anything that was illegal. Other cases involving false news reporting have been dismissed against Fox News amid First Amendment concerns. But isn’t this a bit like yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater? Or is it more like telling a crowded theater that they shouldn’t worry about the fire because it’s unlikely to harm them? Should the theater-goers be allowed to sue if they get burned?
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been caused an injury due to the negligence of another person, you are entitled to recover damages related to your injury. Call the Houston personal injury lawyers at Livingston & Flowers today to set up a free consultation.