Fox News Could Be Sued if Its Anti-Vax Statements Caused People to Die
by John Culhanw
July 23, 2021
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/202 ... wsuit.html
(Slate) Since the vaccines for COVID-19 became available, public health authorities, respected medical professionals, some employers, and responsible politicians have been urging, coercing, and bribing us all to get immunized. With the emergence of the more infectious, more virulent, and now dominant delta variant, soaring positive rates have pumped new urgency into these pleas. Yet vaccine uptake rates have slowed to a crawl, and most of those who remain unvaccinated say they don’t plan to change their minds. Unless that changes, expect higher mortality rates, breakthrough infections, and potentially a return to the pandemic lockdown state we’d all hoped we’d left behind.
A constellation of reasons can be cited for ongoing vaccine hesitancy, but one key factor is the prevalence of quack “experts” willing to misinterpret data, lie about statistics, and just plain make stuff up. Leading the misinformation charge has been Fox News—and particularly Tucker Carlson. Night after night, Carlson has provided a platform for sowing fear and confusion among his viewers about the efficacy of the vaccine and its side effects. Although the network has recently sounded a more responsible note, that turnabout has by no means been across the entire network and it comes too late for an untold number of people who have been newly sickened or died from the disease, and who might have been saved through immunization. There may actually be some legal remedy, though, for the damage wrought by the network. COVID victims who were taken in by Carlson’s vaccination misinformation, or their estates, may be able to sue Fox News under the ancient common law theory of fraud. They would have a reasonably good chance of success, too.
Tort law allows anyone injured by the intentional bad act of another to sue for personal injury, property damage, or economic loss caused by the wrongful activity. The specific claim that relates to harm caused by deliberate misrepresentations is fraud, and, depending on what misinformation someone ingested, and how they reacted to it, it’s easy to imagine that many viewers would be able to state a good claim. What’s needed to prove a case for fraud is clearly established through centuries of judicial decisions.
's defense would likely be similar to that taken by other Trumpians which goes something like, "We are just here to entertain, everybody knows that we should not be taken seriously."
The sad part being is that apparently not "everybody" knows that fact.