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Fox News Just Won A Court Case By Claiming No 'Reasonable Viewer' Believes What Tucker Carlson Says

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon

Most reasonable people realize that much of what Fox News host Tucker Carlson says is not the truth, but attorneys representing Fox News have just used that to successfully defeat a defamation suit in court.

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal brought suit against Carlson for defamation of character over remarks that he made on air in 2018. Carlson alleged that McDougal had extorted the President "out of approximately $150,000 in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair."

Instead of trying to spin Carlson's comment, or outright deny it—which would be difficult since he said it on air, Fox News' attorneys asked the judge to dismiss the case because Carlson isn't believable anyway.

They claimed:

"Carlson's statements were not statements of fact and that she failed adequately to challenge actual malice."

During the show in question Carlson claimed that McDougal:

"...approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn't give them money."

They also said that Carlson:

"...cannot be understood to have been stating facts, but instead that he was delivering an opinion using hyperbole for effect."

In asking that the case be dismissed, the attorneys excused Carlson's words with the assertion that he wasn't being serious so there is no slander.

They stated:

"...the use of that word or an accusation of extortion, absent more, is simply 'loose, figurative, or hyperbolic language' and does not give rise to a defamation claim."

United States District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil granted their motion to dismiss the case.

In her filing, she said that Fox News' attorneys argued persuasively, and that:

"Given Mr. Carlson's reputation, any reasonable viewer 'arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism' about the statements he makes."

Not everyone online agreed with the judge's ruling though, and many had some extra criticism for Fox News.





While it is true that Carlson has quite a reputation for saying things that are not necessarily true while on the air, it doesn't stop many people from believing what he says and being influenced by it.

Any "reasonable viewer" might know not to take anything he says seriously, but there are a whole lot of people who should be considered unreasonable by that definition.

Maybe Fox News should tell them.