Trump Loses Again

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In a recent court ruling in Florida, a defamation lawsuit lodged by ex-President Trump against CNN was dismissed by a federal judge. Trump had claimed that CNN associated him with Hitler through their usage of the phrase “the Big Lie”.

The lawsuit referred to five instances where the term “the Big Lie” was employed by CNN journalists and contributors when discussing Trump’s unfounded assertions that the 2020 election results were manipulated and illegitimate. The phrase “the Big Lie” is typically connected with Nazi propaganda, originally used by Adolf Hitler to accuse Jews of various misdeeds.

The judge presiding over the case, Judge Raag Singhal, decreed on Friday that the use of this term is a matter of personal viewpoint rather than a statement of fact, and thus does not meet the criteria for defamation.

Judge Singhal’s verdict detailed Trump’s complaint about CNN labeling his disputes about the election as “the Big Lie”. The former president maintained that this phrase, often attributed to Joseph Goebbels of the Nazi Party, falsely equates him with the Hitler regime in the public’s perception. However, the judge concluded that such an interpretation is speculative and doesn’t establish falsehood.

The judge further pointed out that it is considerably harder to defame public figures, particularly those with as high a profile as ex-presidents. He also clarified that the mere use of “the Big Lie” doesn’t automatically equate Trump to the Nazis.

The court decision read, “The mere application of ‘the Big Lie’ to Trump’s challenges to the election does not substantiate the claim that Trump supports the harassment and extermination of Jews or any other demographic.”

Judge Singhal expressed his distaste for the use of Nazi references in political discourse, regardless of the party using them. He stated that poor rhetorical choices do not amount to defamation in the absence of false factual assertions.

The precise origin of the phrase “the Big Lie” is debatable, but it’s typically ascribed to either Hitler or Goebbels. The saying, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” is often credited to Goebbels.

The lawsuit referred to instances when Jake Tapper, Chris Cillizza, and Ruth Ben-Ghiat, all affiliated with CNN, used the term. Trump originally sought a judgment of $475 million against the network.