On Monday, October 3, the former president of the United States (US), Donald Trump, sued Cable News Network (CNN) with a defamation lawsuit. Trump is seeking $475 million in punitive damages, as per the suit he has filed in US District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
According to the claims in the lawsuit, Trump has accused CNN of using its influence as a cable TV network to defame him. Trump, who has teased his intentions to run for the 2024 US presidential elections, has also claimed CNN's actions are "defeating him politically."
Donald Trump sues CNN for defaming and damaging politically, seeks $475 million in punitive damages
The lawsuit filed by Trump has claims related to CNN's smear campaign against him. Furthermore, Trump's lawyers have claimed that the left-leaning cable news channel has addressed their client with words like 'racist, Russian lackey, and insurrectionist', and at one point compared him to the ill-famed German dictator, Hitler.
Here's what the allegation from Trump's lawsuit read:
"As a part of its concerted effort to tilt the political balance to the left, CNN has tried to taint the Plaintiff with a series of ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels of 'racist,' 'Russian lackey,' 'insurrectionist,' and ultimately 'Hitler."
As per the accusations from the lawyers of Donald Trump, Lindsey Halligan and James M. Trusty, CNN's negative reporting against the former president is politically motivated. A quote from Halligan and Trusty's 29-page-long complaint reads:
"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."
Trump's lawyers further 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."
Apart from the allegations, there was a specific mention of the term "Big Lie" in the lawsuit, which Trump's legal team claimed was deliberately used to associate their client with one of the most "repugnant" figures of the modern era, Adolf Hitler.
Interestingly, Donald Trump's tussle with CNN is nothing new. During his first term as US president, Donald Trump criticized or showcased his displeasure regarding Cable News Network's negative reporting of him and his tenure on multiple occasions.
Back when Donald Trump still had an account on Twitter, in one instance, he even called for the boycott of CNN. Evidently, CNN has never been Trump's favorite news channel, mainly due to the clash of their political ideologies. On the other hand, the former president has praised Fox News multiple times.
In May 2017, a study around news coverage of Trump's first 100 days was published by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy of Kennedy School, Harvard University. It was found by the study that 93% of coverage from networks, CNN and NBC, was negative.
Furthermore, other media outlets like CBS and BBC also reported highly negative coverage. Surprisingly, Fox News, which is prevalent for its conservation stance, was also comparatively more critical of Donald Trump during his first 100 days in office.