Fox News Faces New Defamation Lawsuit By Disinformation Expert Who Led Homeland Security Panel
Fox News is facing another defamation lawsuit, this time from the former executive director of a Department of Homeland Security division tasked with monitoring the threat of disinformation.
Nina Jankowicz sued the network and parent Fox Corp. in Delaware Superior Court. That’s the same venue where Dominion Voting Systems was poised to go to trial in its case against the company before Fox agreed to pay a whopping $787.5 million to settle it.
In her lawsuit (read it here), Jankowicz claimed that the network last year began a “malicious campaign of destruction” against her.
“Over the course of eight months in 2022, Fox talked about Jankowicz more than 300 times,” according to the lawsuit. “Across its broadcast and online publications, Fox’s employee hosts and commentators derided and lied about Jankowicz on repeat—and continue to do so even today.”
The New York Times first reported on Jankowicz’s suit.
Jankowicz claimed in her lawsuit that the network became “obsessed” with her when she was appointed at the executive director of DHS’s Disinformation Governance Board, an internal working group that actually had “no operating authority or capability.” Instead, it was set up to coordinate “between federal agencies and officials who track and respond to disinformation that poses a national security threat—for example, disinformation spread by adversarial states and transnational criminal enterprises,” according to the lawsuit.
But Fox News falsely claimed that she was trying to censor Americans’ speech, that she was fired from her position at the federal government, and that she wanted to give verified Twitter users, including herself, the power to edit others’ tweets, her lawsuit claimed.
“Fox knew these facts, but intentionally distorted them to capitalize on what it saw as a ratings opportunity,” according to the suit.
A Fox News spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
“Beyond the three oft-repeated defamatory statements and in addition to insulting Jankowicz at every opportunity, Fox endlessly and misleadingly discussed Jankowicz in relation to various hot-button political issues,” according to her lawsuit. “When Jankowicz acknowledged that Fox’s bizarrely targeted coverage had led to violent threats against her on personal and professional social media and communication platforms, Fox disparaged her for complaining and called the attacks a couple of ‘mean tweets.'”
Her lawsuit singled out Jesse Watters and Tucker Carlson for saying that she was fired when, “as Carlson and Watters both knew, Jankowicz resigned due to harassment arising from Fox’s defamation.” The lawsuit also cites comments made by a number of other current and former network personalities, including Maria Bartiromo, Dan Bongino and Harris Faulkner.
“Fox’s coverage of Jankowicz was neither news nor political commentary; it was cheap, easy entertainment untethered from the facts, designed to make consumers believe that Jankowicz could and would suppress their speech,” the lawsuit stated. “Fox chose to lie about Jankowicz deliberately.”
The lawsuit also referenced the Dominion lawsuit, claiming that there were similarities in that the network refused to divert from a chosen narrative.
“This commitment to stay the course even as readily available information contradicted statements of fact made on Fox’s platforms is consistent with Fox’s practices in other contexts, including in its election denialism and the related defamation of Dominion Voting Systems,” the lawsuit stated.