Trump apparently isn’t “any reasonable viewer”… he is a deranged old man regurgitating any meme fed to him by right wing extremist media or Russian troll farms… think FrankC, but with nukes.
U.S. District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil handed Fox News a victory Thursday, dismissing a defamation lawsuit brought against the network by Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model.
McDougal, who credibly claims to have had an extended affair with Donald Trump before he entered politics, sued Fox after host Tucker Carlson accused her of trying to extort Trump during the 2016 campaign by sharing the story of their alleged relationship. McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc., publishers of the National Enquirer, for the rights to her story — money which was repaid by Trump and a story which was intentionally buried. Carlson claimed that this “sounds like a classic case of extortion.”
Vyskocil’s opinion rejected the argument that this was defamatory because she accepted Fox’s arguments about how viewers approached Carlson’s program.
The “ ‘general tenor’ of the show,” her opinion stated, “should … inform a viewer that [Carlson] is not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘nonliteral commentary.’ … [G]iven Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statements he makes.”
That assertion about Carlson and his comments came at an interesting moment. On the same day, the White House press secretary tried to dismiss concern about a controversial comment from the president by disparaging the question that prompted the comment as coming from … a reporter for Playboy. More to the point, CNN released a report Thursday showing how some Trump supporters specifically failed to distinguish between satirical and actual political content on social media.
It’s safe to say that this applies to Carlson’s fulminations as well. His show on Thursday evening, for example, included plenty of the sort of “exaggeration” and “nonliteral commentary” that Fox News and Vyskocil are confident “any reasonable viewer” would treat with skepticism.