A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit Donald Trump filed against CNN in which the former president claimed that any mention of his efforts to allegedly rig the 2020 election being referred to as “the Big Lie” in news reports or by the network’s hosts amounted to equating him with Adolf Hitler.
Trump claimed that the references hurt his reputation and political career and had sought $475 million in punitive damages in the federal lawsuit that was filed in South Florida last October. Trump is running for president for the third time in 2024, seeking the GOP nomination.
“U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal, who was appointed by Trump, said Friday in his ruling that the former president’s defamation claims failed because the references were opinions and not factual statements,” the Washington Times reported. “Moreover, it was a stretch to believe that, in viewers’ minds, that phrase would connect Trump‘s efforts challenging the 2020 election results to Nazi propaganda or Hitler’s genocidal and authoritarian regime, the judge said.”
“CNN’s use of the phrase ‘the Big Lie’ in connection with Trump’s election challenges does not give rise to a plausible inference that Trump advocates the persecution and genocide of Jews or any other group of people,” the judge wrote in his decision.
Trump filed his lawsuit late last year, alleging damages to his reputation over what he called “fake news.”
“A lawsuit was filed today against CNN, the once prestigious news channel that has devolved into a purveyor of disinformation, defamation, and Fake News, at a level which the American Public, and indeed the World, will not even believe is possible,” he said in an announcement posted to his Truth Social platform.
“For years I have watched this take place, often in disbelief, but the time has finally come to hold CNN responsible and legally accountable for their willful deception and defamatory statements made about me,” he added.
“President Donald J. Trump, has been a long-time critic of the defendant, Cable News Network, Inc. (‘CNN’) — not because CNN does a bad job of reporting the news, but because CNN seeks to create the news,” the lawsuit said.
“Beyond simply highlighting any negative information about the plaintiff and ignoring all positive information about him, CNN has sought to use its massive influence — purportedly as a ‘trusted’ news source — to defame the plaintiff in the minds of its viewers and readers for the purpose of defeating him politically, culminating in CNN claiming credit for ‘[getting] Trump out’ in the 2020 presidential election,” the lawsuit added.
“CNN’s campaign of dissuasion in the form of libel and slander against the plaintiff has only escalated in recent months as CNN fears the plaintiff will run for president in 2024,” it said.
The suit called CNN’s coverage of Trump “part of its concerted effort to tilt the political balance to the Left” with the use of “scandalous, false and defamatory labels” which amounts to a “reckless disregard for the truth.”
“CNN has been given the dreaded ‘Pants on Fire!’ designation by PolitiFact for its stories comparing Trump to Hitler. Still, it persists, requiring the time and expense of filing the instant lawsuit,” the complaint added.
“CNN has undertaken a smear campaign to malign the plaintiff with a barrage of negative associations and innuendos, broadcasting commentary that he is like a cult leader, a Russian lackey, a dog whistler to white supremacists and a racist. It is the stuff of tabloids cloaked as ‘honored’ news,” the complaint said before going on to cite instances when the term was utilized.
“CNN’s persistent use of ever-increasing defamatory characterizations of the Plaintiff up to and including comparing him to [Adolph] Hitler and Nazism demonstrates that it published its defamatory statements about the Plaintiff with actual malice,” the complaint continues
“CNN’s highly defamatory and persistent association of the plaintiff to Hitler and Hitler’s ‘Big Lie’ is no mistaken misappropriation,” the lawsuit read.
“It is wanton and malicious ‘reporting’ intended to feed a narrative and to achieve the desired end: to cause readers and viewers to associate the plaintiff with the lowest of low, to fear him, to not vote for him, and to support campaigns against him,” the complaint said.