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Judge tosses suit over Trump affair story after Fox News argues no "reasonable viewer" takes Tucker Carlson seriously

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Judge rules that Karen McDougal failed to prove Tucker Carlson was accusing her of an actual crime by calling her payout "extortion."



A Manhattan judge has tossed out a defamation lawsuit against Fox News brought by the former Playboy model who took a $150,000 payoff to squelch her story of an affair with a pre-presidency Donald Trump. Karen McDougal had alleged in the suit filed late last year that Fox host Tucker Carlson slandered her by calling the payout "a classic case of extortion."

U.S. District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil ruled on Thursday that McDougal failed to prove that Carlson was accusing her of an actual crime in a way that would back up a defamation claim. The judge said that lawyers for Fox "persuasively" argued that "any reasonable viewer 'arrive with an appropriate amount of skepticism' about the statements" Carlson makes, according to a court filing.


The judge called the on-air remarks "rhetorical hyperbole and opinion commentary intended to frame a political debate, and as such, are not actionable as defamation," the judge said in a written ruling.



In an email to The Associated Press, McDougal zeroed in on the part of the ruling that found her claim didn't meet the legal standard showing there was malice by Carlson.


"I believe reporting something you know is a lie as 'news' or 'undisputed facts' is the very definition of malicious," she wrote.


A statement from Fox called the decision a victory both for the network and "all defenders of the First Amendment."



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4 minutes ago, marioandsonic said:

It's sad that the judge thinks anyone that watches Fox News qualifies as a "reasonable viewer".

"I watch Fox, I am reasonable, therefore all Fox viewers must be reasonable" because they don't want to grapple with the fact that the people they ally with, the Republican base, are absolutely terrifying

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