Fox News received a welcome reprieve from coronavirus-related litigation Wednesday when a Washington state judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a public-interest group claiming various personalities at the right-leaning cable channel spread dangerous misinformation in violation of the state’s consumer protection laws.
The Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics—aka WASHLITE—vowed to appeal the 8-page order by King County Superior Court Judge Brian McDonald, who dismissed the lawsuit on First Amendment grounds.
“WASHLITE’s professed goal in this lawsuit—to ensure that the public receives accurate information about the coronavirus and COVID-19—is laudable,” McDonald wrote, according to the Times of San Diego. But the lawsuit “runs afoul of the protections of the First Amendment,” the Seattle-based judge added.
“We have a lot of respect for the judge,” said WASHLITE member Arthur West, who added that an appeal will soon be filed in state appellate court. “It’s a well-reasoned opinion. It was thorough. We respectfully disagree.”
A Fox News spokesperson, meanwhile, told The Daily Beast: “Using a false portrayal of Fox News Channel’s commentary, WASHLITE attempted to silence a national news organization to settle a partisan grievance. This was not only wrong, but contemptuous of the foundation of free speech and we are both pleased the court dismissed this frivolous case and grateful to the First Amendment community that rallied to our side.”