September 16th, 2010
03:08 PM ET
4 years ago

Fox News files suit against Carnahan

Fox News has sued the campaign of Missouri Senate candidate Robin Carnahan.
Fox News has sued the campaign of Missouri Senate candidate Robin Carnahan.

Washington (CNN) - Fox News has sued the Senate campaign of Democrat Robin Carnahan in Missouri, claiming improper use of an interview by the cable channel with her opponent Roy Blunt for a "smear ad."

The 2006 interview with Fox's Chris Wallace was used in a recent Carnahan ad, implying the journalist was supporting Blunt – a Republican congressman. The lawsuit says Wallace, as host of "Fox News Sunday," had asked Blunt about the congressman's efforts to become a permanent House Majority Leader. He served in that post in an interim fashion from 2005-06.

In a lawsuit filed in Kansas City Thursday, Fox News claims copyright infringement and invasion of Wallace's privacy. In a 14-page filing, the Democrat's campaign was accused of violating "FNC's valuable and proprietary creative expression" by using the news clip without permission. "The Carnahan ad is designed to make it appear as if Wallace- a trusted journalist- is instead speaking as a campaign operative," said the complaint.

Read the lawsuit here

The complaint notes that Wallace's questions are used in the advertisement but not include Blunt's responses. "The Carnahan Ad is designed to make it appear as if Wallace – a trusted journalist – is instead speaking as a campaign operative. The defendant's conduct in stealing only certain footage from the FNS Interview is also false and misleading: Wallace's tough questions were included, but Blunt's answers and explanations were not."

The 32 second ad, released Monday, consists almost entirely of clips from the Blunt interview on Fox News. Wallace is seen asking, "You have to show you're the party of reform," and "But some question whether you are the man to do that." Wallace also asks about Blunt's past links to convicted, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and to a Philip Morris tobacco lobbyist he was dating at the time. "Are you the one to clean up the House?" asks Wallace. The ad closes with an unseen narrator saying, "Roy Blunt: The Worst of Washington." Carnahan is heard at the beginning saying she approved this ad, as required by the FEC.

Blunt is never shown answering any of the questions. The ad was called "Clean Up the House" and had run on television and on the Web. Current efforts to view the video online were unsuccessful, with the message, "The interview with Roy Blunt that Fox News doesn't want you to see has been temporarily removed. Check back soon."

The complaint says Wallace's "private self-esteem and dignity" were affected by the ad, causing him "emotional or mental distress and suffering." Fox seeks legal fees and unspecified damages.

Blunt and Carnahan are locked in a tough fight over the seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond.

The case is Fox News Network and Christopher Wallace v. Robin Carnahan for Senate Inc. (10-906).

Spokesperson for Carnahan's campaign, Linden Zakula responded with this statement, "We stand behind our ad and will continue to tell the truth about Congressman Roy Blunt's attempt to slip a secret provision into the Homeland Security Act to benefit tobacco giant Philip Morris, while he was dating the company's lobbyist. It's unclear why Fox News refuses to stand by its own content that simply asked questions about Congressman Blunt's Washington record and ties to convicted felon lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Congressman Blunt's 14 year record of wasteful spending, corruption and sticking it to the middle class represents the very worst of Washington: he does not deserve a promotion to the Senate."

Fox News has not responded to CNN's request for comment.

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET


Filed under: Fox News • Robin Carnahan • Roy Blunt
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. diridi

    Fox is bunch of thugs...I never watch....so shouldn't you...

    September 16, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Frank in Valparaiso Indiana

    Chris Wallace trusted journalist? What a joke. His father was. He's a hack.

    As far as Blunt, he should be voted out of every public office he runs for.

    September 16, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Bertina

    Yeah the republicans hate lawyers except when they need them.

    September 16, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Liars and politicians.....pretty much one and the same.

    September 16, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Ramon

    Paired and unbalance fox news

    September 16, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. Fox Trot

    ...and this is the same News "organization" (Fox) who gave $1 million to the Republican Governor's association for campaigning?
    ...and this is the same Fox news whose original investment money to incorporate came from the same Saudi who bought the land where the 911 mosque is being built?

    Fox News....your unbiased source for election news? (lol)

    September 16, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. Whatever

    WHAT A JOKE!!!!!!!! She must be saying something right otherwise why are the whining!!!!!!!!! Now they just put this situation into the spotlight. Thank you!!

    September 16, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Mom of 3

    Come on - Fox "news" donated $1 million to the GOP. Does anyone REALLY still believe they are not biased? They are basically the GOP news station. If you choose to work for a news company so biased that they donate such a large amount to their favored group expect to be considered biased right along with them.

    September 16, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. Ken

    "FNC's valuable and proprietary creative expression" by using the news clip without permission. "The Carnahan ad is designed to make it appear as if Wallace– a trusted journalist– is instead speaking as a campaign operative,"

    appears? Isn't Fox basicly every Republican/Tea Party campaign operative?

    September 16, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Lori in St Pete

    Considering faux infotainment owns the GnOP, Wallace WAS speaking as a campaign operative.

    September 16, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Hope They Win

    These smear campaigns that all candidates run are childish and stupid. Run on your own merits. Just like obama blaming everything on bush, as an article I read stated, a president does not make a surplus or deficit, congress does. And the democrats were in charge of congress since 2006. not trying to defend bush, didn't like him either
    but put blame where blame is due.

    September 16, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Bernice

    Oh my, Murdoch needs money..Send his a$$ back to his country...He has divided our country & got rich doing it...Shut fox news DOWN..A disgrace!!!

    September 16, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. barry

    Good job Fox News! It's amazing what liberals will try to pull. If it's illegal, unethical, or immoral Democrats are all for it. It's good that Fox had the courage to call Carnahan on her behavior.

    September 16, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. louise

    Fox has given thousands to Rethugs campaigns, why would anyone be surprised?

    September 16, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. larry

    The False News Network strikes again. What a bunch of liars and morons. Ruprict Murdckhead should be ashamed.

    September 16, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Preston

    Chris Wallace blatantly supporting a Republican? Not possible! Multi-billionaire Murdoch and his henchmen trying to stifle a Democrat? Can't be! Republicans accusing Democrats of "smear ads"? Well... maybe. They should know, having written the book.

    September 16, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. Geoz

    I assume that if Fox and Wallace believe in a "right to privacy" that they also support a woman's right to choose. ... but not holding my breath that they even understand the connection.

    September 16, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    "FNC's valuable and proprietary creative expression"

    Creative expression, not news! Smear campaign?? I guess Fixed News doesn't like tasting their own medicine.

    September 16, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. Gpenn

    And I'm sure he was acting as a campaign operative. I hope this suit goes forward, because the discovery alone will be well worth it. All of Fox News' internal memos will become public.

    September 16, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. gg

    The neo-fascist Fox organization is trying to destroy Americans' right to freedom of speech.

    September 16, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Peter s

    The Democrat were supposed to drag Fox news to court long time ago now the opposite is happening!! fox playing victim!!!

    September 16, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. jim

    For Carnahan the ends justifies the means.Typical democrat tactic . Hope she's made to pay through the roof..

    September 16, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. aneanderthal

    Love it don't libs. Fox suing a lib for what else, something sneaky, dishonest and underhanded. I am sure most of you libs won't find a thing wrong with this, after all you are the same dope addicts that voted for this corrupt, inept, incompetent, union toady president we have.

    September 16, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Troubled Independent

    My, my the dumbo-crats are getting desperate.

    September 16, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. larry

    The "ad is designed to make it appear as if Wallace– a trusted journalist– is instead speaking as a campaign operative,"
    Other than right wing morons, who the F on this planet would ever consider that piece of dreck Walrus "a trusted journailst" No one of intelligence.

    September 16, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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