Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Fox News’ Obsession With Hunter Biden Backfires as Lawsuit Looms

After $787M Dominion payout, Fox News faces new defamation lawsuit over Hunter Biden smear campaign and distribution of revenge porn.

Hunter Biden

For years, Fox News has waged an unrelenting smear campaign against Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, fueled by a toxic blend of political opportunism and a willingness to spread Russian disinformation. In a brazen pursuit of ratings and profit, the right-wing network has subjected Hunter Biden to a barrage of defamatory attacks to the point of a weird obsession.

Their obsessive fixation on Hunter Biden has fueled a baseless Republican crusade against the President’s son. Since January 3, 2023, the network has mentioned his name a staggering 13,440 times, according to a study conducted by Media Matters. This relentless smear campaign pressured House Republicans to launch a sham impeachment inquiry grounded in discredited conspiracy theories amplified by Russian propaganda sources. 

However, their much-hyped investigation has uncovered no compelling evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, with the probe now reportedly crumbling under the weight of its own manufactured claims. Fox News’ reckless disregard for facts and journalistic ethics enabled the propagation of disinformation that has severely undermined democratic norms and processes.

Now, Hunter Biden has decided to strike back, sending a warning to Fox News that he plans to sue the network “imminently” for defamation, unlawful exploitation of his image and likeness, and the dissemination of hacked intimate photographs—a move that could deal a significant blow to Fox’s already tarnished credibility.

The 14-page letter from Hunter Biden’s attorney, Mark Geragos, exposes the extent of Fox’s relentless assault on the President’s son. It accuses the network of engaging in a “conspiracy of disinformation” fueled by “paid agents” and driven by a naked desire for financial gain. The letter alleges that they have “routinely defamed and disparaged” Hunter Biden while simultaneously seeking to profit from the unauthorized use of his image and likeness.

At the heart of the potential lawsuit is Fox’s pivotal role in amplifying the discredited claims of alleged Russian asset Alexander Smirnov, an FBI informant who was recently indicted for lying to investigators about alleged bribery schemes involving the Bidens. Despite clear warnings from the Department of Justice about the dubious nature of Smirnov’s allegations, Fox hosts like Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo, and Jesse Watters repeatedly touted them as “highly credible,” airing hundreds of segments that lent credence to these unfounded claims.

Sean Hannity’s Obsession With Hunter Biden

Sean Hannity
Photo: Gage Skidmore

Yet, Fox has remained undeterred, continuing to amplify the discredited claims and keeping the Hunter Biden narrative alive, even as it crumbles under the weight of its own falsehoods. The network’s obsession with the story has reached staggering proportions, with a Media Matters study revealing that Hannity alone aired 325 segments related to Hunter Biden in 2023. Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the chair of the House Oversight Committee spearheading the impeachment probe, made 137 appearances on Fox News to spread lies about Hunter Biden.

“While routinely defaming and disparaging Mr. Biden, FOX has simultaneously sought to profit by the unlawful exploitation of Mr. Biden’s image, name, and likeness for commercial purposes and reprehensible dissemination of salacious photographs depicting Mr. Biden,” the letter states.

The letter also takes aim at Fox’s six-part “mock trial” series, “The Trial of Hunter Biden,” which speculated about potential criminal charges against him despite a lack of any actual indictments. Hunter Biden’s legal team argues that the series, rife with “invented dialogue” and “distortions,” unlawfully exploited his image and likeness for commercial gain, blurring the lines between fact and fiction in a manner that violated his civil rights.

Did Fox News Illegally Distribute “Revenge Porn”?

Moreover, the letter alleges that Fox may have violated copyright laws and statutes against “revenge porn” by publishing intimate photographs of Hunter Biden without his consent—images that were likely obtained through hacking or other unlawful means.

Hunter Biden’s decision to take legal action against Fox represents a bold counterattack against the right-wing media machine that has hounded him for years. It is a move that could not only hold the network accountable for its reckless disregard for the truth but also serve as a powerful deterrent against future smear campaigns fueled by partisan agendas and Russian disinformation.

“For the last five years, Fox News has relentlessly attacked Hunter Biden and made him a caricature in order to boost ratings and for its financial gain,” Biden’s attorney told NBC News. “The recent indictment of FBI informant Smirnov has exposed the conspiracy of disinformation that has been fueled by Fox, enabled by their paid agents and monetized by the Fox enterprise. We plan on holding them accountable.”

In a political climate where truth and accountability have often taken a backseat to partisan gamesmanship, Hunter Biden’s legal offensive against Fox could prove significant. It is a chance to strike a blow against the deliberate dissemination of disinformation and to reassert the principles of journalistic integrity and ethical reporting.

As the 2024 presidential campaign looms, it is imperative that the public discourse be rooted in facts, not fiction. Hunter Biden’s lawsuit against Fox is a step towards reclaiming the narrative and holding those who seek to mislead the public accountable for their actions.

The allegations leveled against Fox are grave—a coordinated campaign of defamation, unlawful exploitation, and the dissemination of hacked materials. If proven, the consequences could be severe, both in terms of financial damages and the network’s already battered credibility.

Another Major Blow to Fox’s Bottom Line?

Fox’s peddling of baseless election fraud claims has already cost the network dearly, with a $787 million settlement paid to Dominion Voting Systems and a $12 million payout to a former employee who blew the whistle on the network’s disinformation campaign. They are also currently facing a $2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic over similar defamatory coverage. 

Shareholder lawsuits accuse Fox’s leadership of dereliction for greenlighting the amplification of debunked conspiracies. While contesting these cases, Fox acknowledged they could critically undermine the company’s operations and finances.

For too long, Hunter Biden has been forced to endure the relentless onslaught of lies and character assassination, often in silence under the advice of legal counsel. But now, he has chosen to fight back, and his legal team appears poised to go for the jugular, demanding not only retractions and corrections but also the removal of the offending content from Fox’s platforms.