Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Inside Fox’s Defamation Nightmare

Episode 123 with Mark Bankston

Taking us from the heartbreaking case of the Sandy Hook victims’ families fighting Alex Jones’ defamation to the more recent case against Fox News, attorney Mark Bankston reveals the complexity of free speech issues at the heart of defamation cases. If you’re looking for a primer on the Fox News case, and more broadly on the rights individuals (and corporations, treated under law as people!) have to defend themselves against harmful speech, this is the KK&F episode for you. Watch below:

Acting as the attorney for the families of those killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, Mark played a central role in the crucial defamation cases against Alex Jones for his dangerous, highly public denial of the shooting. Now, he explains what constitutes defamation — and why that label can get so controversial. It’s tied in, of course, to an analysis of current events. Just a few weeks ago, Fox News paid $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems in a settlement over claims that 2020 election conspiracy theories spread by Fox resulted in harm to the company. According to legal experts, Fox’s refusal to settle earlier was surprising and unprecedented for a media company facing a suit that would divulge private information. (Had the case gone to trial, even more private internal documents and information about Fox’s inner workings would have come to light in a highly public way.)

Fox’s massive resources, along with the popularity of its claims of election fraud, have emboldened the company to make and stand behind such conspiracies. Who has the power to fight back, and on what legal grounds? What kind of speech is protected under American free speech rights, and what crosses the line into defamation? These are the questions we’re lucky to have Mark to answer for us, and we’re glad you’re joining us for the discussion. You can listen to this conversation as a podcast when it’s released later tonight on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Podcasts, and more.

Leave a Reply