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Regulating Communications

Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics (WASHLITE) v. Fox News


Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics (WASHLITE) v. Fox News (Superior Court of Washington County of King, May 27, 2020) – WASHLITE sued Fox News and others alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act. The complaint states that Fox News “knowingly disseminated false, erroneous, and incomplete information” about COVID-19 that the public reasonably relied on. WASHLITE argues that because Fox News characterized COVID-19 as a “hoax” and “conspiracy,” it hurt efforts to effectively implement mitigation and countermeasures to contain the virus and “forestall mass death.” Superior Court Judge Brian McDonald dismissed the lawsuit stating that WASHLITE failed to establish a case because its “assertions do not hold up to scrutiny” and while its goal to ensure the public received accurate information about COVID-19 was “laudable,” the claims “run afoul of the protections of the First Amendment.” Read the full opinion here.  

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – October 15, 2020.

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