Stand up for the facts!
Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.
I would like to contribute
A recent Facebook post criticizes President Donald Trump for "a uniquely American take on dictatorship."
"Wow," begins the Oct. 20 post, a screenshot of this Oct. 18 tweet. "Trump is suing CNN over ‘pro-impeachment bias’ and he demands a ‘substantial payment.’ So basically the news can’t report the news because if it does, the president of America will sue."
This post, which has been shared more than 8,900 times, was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
That’s because Trump hasn’t sued CNN — but he’s threatened to.
In an Oct. 16 letter, lawyers for Trump and his re-election campaign threatened "to sue CNN for what they said was the network falsely advertising itself as a news organization," Reuters reported. The letter calls on executives to "discuss an appropriate resolution of this matter" that would include a "substantial payment" to cover damages.
"Never in the history of this country has a president been the subject of such a sustained barrage of unfair, unfounded, unethical and unlawful attacks by so-called ‘mainstream’ news, as the current situation," the letter says. "My clients intend to file legal action against you to seek compensatory damages, treble damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, reimbursement of legal costs, and all other available legal and equitable remedies, to the maximum extent permitted by law."
The letter doesn’t mention "pro-impeachment bias" though the Washington Examiner among others described the president’s charges against CNN that way.
The letter to CNN was signed by attorney Charles Harder, who represented Hulk Hogan in the lawsuit that took down Gawker and who has sent similar threats to other media for Trump. Last year, Harder suggested the president would sue the New York Times for what he called a "highly defamatory" story. He threatened to sue author Michael Wolff for libel over Wolff’s book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."
So far, though, no lawsuits have been filed. And Rebecca Tushnet, a professor of false advertising law at Harvard Law School, told Reuters that Trump’s latest salvo has "no merit" and that she doubted a lawsuit would ever be filed.
We rate this Facebook post Mostly False.
Facebook post, Oct. 20, 2019
Hayden Black tweet, Oct. 18, 2019
Reuters, Trump threatens to sue CNN, seeks ‘substantial’ payment, Oct. 18, 2019
Washington Examiner, Trump campaign to sue CNN over pro-impeachment bias, demands ‘substantial payment,’ Oct. 18, 2019
Vanity Fair, Gawker-killer Charles Harder is now stalking CNN for Trump after a bias expose, Oct. 18, 2019
Charles Harder letter to CNN, Oct. 16, 2019
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.