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. Tim

    Fox suing someone??? Now that's funny. The most slanted news commentary station (notice I did not say reporting) on the airwaves. Fox news wouldn’t do a negative report on a Republican if he or she murdered someone. They would say, it had to be an accident and we should just move forward. Then they would bring Michael Steele out of the shadows to say we will deal with it internally and any publicity is purely a Democratic attempt make it a political issue.

    September 16, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. financeman

    This will be great! Fox News just opened the flood gates to lawsuits against themselves for all of the inaccurate reporting and commentaries of Glenn Beck from MSN and the many other false and twisted reportings from there own news faux journalist. I hope they reap what they sow.

    September 16, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. klarg

    Wait! Fox News personnel aren't the same as Republican campaign operatives?

    Also, what is Fox News referring to when they cite, "FNC's valuable and proprietary creative expression?"

    September 16, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. It's amazing how much the right wing loves to bash lawyers, then . . .

    goes running to them, anytime they think they've been "wronged"

    Gotta love FoxDogma

    September 16, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. ABM

    Look who is playing the victim...Really!!!! They have NO integrity what so ever. They should be sued for false advertisement – fair and balance my $$$.

    I guess Ms. Sherrod and every Dem bashed by Fox Republican News should be able to sue them to the brink of bankruptcy.

    September 16, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. Aron

    Fox employees "trusted journalists" LOL!!!!

    September 16, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Let Faux News sue all they want! The TRUTH is the TRUTH!

    In NOvember vote NO for the Party of NO!

    September 16, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. MR AMERICA

    The fact that Fox is suing her shows it's bias.

    Incredibly funny! Fox is a joke.

    September 16, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. Jon

    Fox News operates as an agent of the Republican party. Everyone knows that. This silly lawsuit isn't going to make people suddenly think they employ real journalists. The only credentials you need to work at Fox are registration in the Republican party (for men) and looking great on camera (for women).

    September 16, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. jim, indiana

    the irony is delicious,

    September 16, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. Rick C.

    "the Democrat's campaign was accused of violating "FNC's valuable and proprietary creative expression"

    I think they (FNC) will win this. No one will argue about their 'creative' news reports.

    September 16, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. Rogerq

    "valuable and proprietary creative expression" well, if a portrait made from human and animal feces qualifies as art I guess what Fox news puts out can be called creative expression. The "valuable" part is an outright lie.

    September 16, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. JFS

    WAY TO GO ROBIN !!!! You have PO'd the biggest Right Wing Propaganda Machine in the world. I only wish I were a Missouri Resident. I'd vote for you twice. We can only hope that the voters in your state can appreciate how Independent you are. You must have ruffled ole' Roy's plumes and he had to bringing the BIG (out of state) GUNS. Make everything you can of this !!! You deserve the win for your state and its residents.

    September 16, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. John

    Since when is anyone who works for Fox News considered a "trusted journalist"? I saw the owner of Fox News say (I paraphrase) "we provide entertainment", they don't really even consider themselves news providers.

    September 16, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. President Obozo: On vacation and OUT TO LUNCH

    Oh my! A DemocRAT twisting the truth?! Say it ain't so!

    September 16, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. GP

    This is too rich. FOX News suing because someone used their footage without permission?

    Hello? James O'Keefe ring a bell? How many video's did FOX News show of people that were illegally filmed?

    September 16, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. LYNETTE IN CA

    All the people at Fox are a bunch of morons and wienies!

    September 16, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    So the Fox Republican News Channel isn't happy that it's actual words are being used? Should we all start crying for poor Fox Republican News for being shown what everyone with half a brain knows they are? The lawsuit is a joke although not as big of a joke as Fox Republican News is.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO. Also, just turn off Fox!

    September 16, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. chitownphilly

    "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.

    HAHAHAH, YEAH THATS BECAUSE HE IS!!!!!!!!!!!! FAUX NEWS IS SUCH A JOKE HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA SEE ITS FUNNY!!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHH see you in november pea brains

    September 16, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Jason

    if the interview was on Chris Wallace's show wasn't it aired for public consumption? In my opinion, you can't air an interview on national television and then say that you can't quote the interview later on. What is Fox afraid of? That people won't think they are "fair and balanced"? Most people don't think that anyway. Also, campaign ads always show clips of past interviews to try and catch their opponent in a bad quote or they take a quote and take it out of context to make their opponent look bad, how is this different?

    September 16, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  21. lil

    All democrates should file suits against fox. fox news hanady did the same thing with an Obama speech last week. Maybe Obama should sue hanady.

    September 16, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  22. eleanor fitzgerald

    Apparently Fox News does not like a dose of its own medicine.

    September 16, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. cecilia

    Sorry but Chris Wallace is just like everyone else at Faux News -they are all the mouth piece of the Republican Party – they get paid to do just that and they do it rather well.
    don't whine about poor ole Faux News being mislead. they do it to their viewers day in and day out

    September 16, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. D. Bunker

    What a bunch of weasels! DumFux News used almost all its time to spread lies, and then sues when someone tries to use a clip to show the truth. If I had my way, everything a politician said on camera would be fair use for anyone else to use. How else are we to learn which of them are honest and which are lying propagandists and/or corporate prostitutes?

    September 16, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. Crazy Harry

    Since Fox serves at a mouth piece for the wacky right ring republicans, it only seems fair to make that assumption.

    I guess this is a sign that they admit to it.

    September 16, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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