Falling back on his personal trend to sue when he’s unhappy, President Donald Trump’s campaign has sued a Rhinelander WI. television station that has refused to remove an anti-Trump ad provided by a pro-Biden super-PAC.
Now first, if the ad is actually incorrect and defaming, it seems to me that the Trump campaign should be suing the super-PAC. But the PAC has deeper pockets than a small TV station in Rhinelander. Am I right?
And is this a first amendment issue? For both the super-PAC and the TV station. What grounds does the campaign have?
Trump’s campaign filed the lawsuit on Monday in the state of Wisconsin circuit court against WJFW-TV, an NBC affiliate, claiming that the ad “takes audio clips of candidate Trump and pieces them together to manufacture a false statement that was not made by the president: ‘The coronavirus, this is their new hoax.’”
Now it’s interesting that the lawsuit describes the President as candidate Trump. I imagine a candidate has a little more protection that an elected official from false statements…but even a candidate doesn’t have the advantages that a ‘private citizen’ would. But no matter what term is used, we have to see that this is the President of the United States…and he’s pretty much fair game here.
But he’s not playing fair at all using his office the threaten the TV station…now as a candidate he wouldn’t have this authority…but as the President he has the power…but as far as I am concerned not the authority. And to threaten a station’s license because you are pissed is unethical and should be illegal.
Trump’s campaign also has warned not just of lawsuits but that they could “put your station’s license in jeopardy.”
And the campaign itself has neither power nor authority over licensing unless they as individuals want to file a complaint.
So yes the campaign wants to conflate the campaign with the presidency…but otoh wants to keep them separate. How does that work?
I hope the media wins here. I think they have the First Amendment on their side…and ours!
And it’s interesting that the retweeter of dubious and doctored content would object to the things that he actually said.
And the Last Word?
Josh Schwerin, senior strategist and communications director for Priorities USA, wrote on Twitter, “One of the weird things about Trump suing now is that by waiting nearly 3 weeks, the ad has basically run its course and we’d be moving to the next one anyway. Even if they were successful everyone already saw the ad.
He said, “This is about bullying TV stations for the future. They are trying to make sure stations are afraid to run ads that are critical of the president, even if they are completely true.”