Even before he became President, Donald Trump was no stranger to courtrooms. And he continues to fight a barrage of lawsuits, many of which seem to revolve around the First Amendment.
But maybe the weirdest lawsuit yet has just been resolved: the former POTUS was sued for retweeting a “fake news” meme on his account when he was President.
This has resulted in a “first-of-its-kind” ruling by a New York judge.
Trump made waves when he retweeted a video originally posted by social media personality CarpeDonktum. This meme slammed the mainstream media for being “fake news” and got a ton of circulation.
The Hollywood Reporter described the video as follows:
Cook found a video of a white toddler running after a black toddler and stuck a chyron reading ‘breaking news’ over it. The captions read, ‘Terrified Todler [sic] Runs From Racist Baby’ and ‘Racist Baby Probably A Trump Voter.’
The video then fades to black, and reads, ‘What actually happened.’ The toddlers run at each other and embrace.
A new caption: ‘AMERICA IS NOT THE PROBLEM…FAKE NEWS IS. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FAKE NEWS DUMPSTER FIRES.’
Twitter reacted fast — they slapped their “manipulated video” label on the meme.
Everything seemed to fall apart after that, as the family of the babies in the vid filed a private suit against both Trump and CarpeDonktum (real name Logan Cook) for “the exploitation of the childrens’ image.”
But the real question Judge Cohen wanted answered was, “is the video considered ‘newsworthy'”?
And he answered in his decision:
It is common knowledge that one of the principal tactics of Trump’s presidential campaigns, as well as his presidency, was to incessantly attack the mainstream media as purveyors of ‘fake news,’ including his claim that the media exaggerates the extent of racial division in this country.
Thus, the video’s references to ‘fake news’ and its depiction of race relations, however distorted, are clearly newsworthy.
Cohen concluded that the video is clearly satire, and therefore the court can take no action.
Obviously, the judge wasn’t a big fan of the video – he called it “distasteful” – and he was critical of Trump’s “fake news” message in his ruling. But at least he stuck to the law.
In this case, freedom of speech earns a definite victory. On top of that, accusations of the media manipulating the facts to push a certain agenda continue, and Trump isn’t the only one making these accusations.
One could also point to evidence that the media treats current President Joe Biden very differently.
In some ways, Trump was only echoing what many Americans were thinking — that they simply can’t trust the media any longer. And yes, anyone (including Donald Trump) is allowed to say it.
That’s really what the First Amendment is all about, after all.
- A New York judge issued a “first-of-its-kind” ruling in a case involving Donald Trump’s “fake news” meme.
- The judge decided the video in question was satire, and it also qualified as “newsworthy.”
- He was forced to dismiss the case, even though he called the meme “distasteful.”
Source: The Daily Wire