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

Fox News files suit against Carnahan

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption ="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. Dale

    Fox News is definitely not unbiased journalism. It is the propaganda mouthpiece of the Republican party.

    Besides, they have no case- whether they are unbiased journalism or not is a matter of opinion, not a matter of fact. Therefore, you, me or Robin Carnahan can hold any opinion we want of Fox News and can express that opinion freely. It's called freedom of speech.

    September 16, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Jesse

    is she that desperate to find dirt on someone that she has to go after a news station instead? ha what a Joke these democrats dont support my views as a democrat once I help vote them out well vote in true democrats!

    September 16, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. chuck

    Is it not a stretch of the imagination to use the words "a trusted journalist" and "Fox News" in the same paragraph? Any organization that has to tell viewers that it is "fair and balanced" every 15 minutes is probably anything but. Did you ever notice how they use so many colorful and constantly moving graphics to keep the attention of their attention deficit disorder viewers? Ooooohhhh! What pretty colors!!!!!!

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

    So what.........................what about reporting the American news FOX???

    September 16, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. Ed L

    What a joke.... Fox "news" is a total fraud. All it is is the stooge of the GOP.

    September 16, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. carlos

    "FNC's valuable and proprietary creative expression" says the lawsuit, this is hilarious....valuable to whom.....ants in an anthill??....creative??? there is absolutely NOTHING creative about this corrupt cable station, I am talking about f..ks news.

    Ms. Carnahan should countersue those hypocrites, ALL of them, they are nothing to the nothings

    September 16, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. Blue Dog Missourian

    Her ads look to me like even FOX sees Blunt as slime. I wonder if Roy got upset and called up Roger Ailes to try to help him out. But hey, he's not a "beltway insider."

    September 16, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. Laverne

    Well, aint this the pot calling the kettle black. I don't know of anyone who has falsified interviews, photos, etc more than "Fox No News". This is a stinky attempt to unseat Mrs. Calahan. I hope the dems are ready to play hardball because if they are not, they are going to get destroyed!

    September 16, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Senior Misterioso

    I guess 'fair and balanced' never heard of 'fair use'.

    September 16, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. jae

    r u serious. Fox news is sueing for copyright infringment. then the 1st people they should sue is themselves for false advertisement, "Fair & Balanced" my patuti. Next for false reporting, like when hannitizer used video of a rally that wasnt even from that rally. Do I need to mention, Breitracist and Ms. Sherrod. Let along the fact that when president obama was elected, they sat their like the world just ended. Mr. Juan William, how did it feel when you sat there like a stump when a historic event happened and you just sat there. This is outrages. The most racist channel ever.

    September 16, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. HAha...

    Sure, FNC can dish it out, but they can't take it in return. Typical right wing whiners. I bet FOX thought it was just outrageous for the Minnesota State Fair to ask Michelle Bachmann to remove their logo from her ad (the one where it appears as though the State Fair is backing her message). M

    To know a hypocrite is to know a Republican.

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

    Since most of what FOX puts out are lies anyway will this use hold up in Court if it is just more of the same as what FOX News produces? I hope the suit fails! I have turned off FOX News anyway. I can't stop laughing at it!

    September 16, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Liberal and Proud of It

    Once more, FOX "News" continues to demonstrate that it is inextricably tied to the far right.

    FOX "News" is not news at all–it's propaganda.

    September 16, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. T'SAH from Virginia

    "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."

    LOL – But Wallace IS '..a campaign operative..." for the RepubliCAN'Ts – as everyone else on FOX SNOOZE... so what's the problem?????

    T'SAH approves this message!! My Impersonator would NOT!!!

    September 16, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. jg

    "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.

    Wallace a trusted journalist? I understand the lawsuit, but this statement is a joke.

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

    It took FOX four years to file a lawsuit, and they are claiming "smear" tactics? Well, who knows more about smearing than FOX news.

    September 16, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Patrick. U

    Is Fox news denying that they do not root for Republicans or they are simply mad they the Democrat exposed their ploy? I am just wondering aloud

    September 16, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. Dan

    Proof positive that Faux News is not media, but rather a PAC for Republicans. At least Rush the 'draft dodger" makes no bones about his goals! He is promoting right wing nuts on a daily basis.

    September 16, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. skorpeo

    don't tell bill o'reilly and his ambush interviewers, they'll be out of a job!!

    September 16, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Jeannette, American via Canada

    Fox News, DUH! The rest of the world should be suing them, for claiming to be NEWS!

    September 16, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Ferret out the BS

    Fox News can dish it out but can't take it when they get called on their content? Faux News is BS propaganda.

    September 16, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess Fox doesn't want to be seen as helping a Democrat attack a Republican. Given their slant, I can't really call it Fox News.

    The clip was broadcast, wasn't it? How could it do any harm to Fox? They are already ideologically driven.

    September 16, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  23. ireuel

    So whats the big deal, everyone that doesn't even watch Fox News seem to bash it. Yes they have more right wingers, but the others have more left wingers. And considering the totals viewers for all the rest still only match or are less than Fox by itself. I would call that fair and balanced. I don't watch any new network for far left or right pundits, I watch all to get an even picture of what is really happening. We need to get back to the middle of the road people. NOW. The Elected officials have us right (or left ) of were they want us. SPLIT. Wake up America these two parties are both wrong. blah blah blah disclosure statement. Have a good day

    September 16, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. Keith Sillsbury

    So a news interview can't be seen more than once and can't be talked about at all or we each are infringing on the reporters rights. Get a life. News people are bottom feeders and have no rights. As far as fox they should feel privlaged someone acually pays any mind to them

    September 16, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. JAB

    Wonder if they are going to sue Republicans when they use anything off of Fox News also????

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