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Washington state group sues Fox News over coronavirus reporting

Fox News

A Washington state group has filed suit against Fox News charging that its “erroneous” and “incomplete” reporting on the coronavirus pandemic violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

The lawsuit says that “while acting in the broad stream of commerce, Defendants knowingly disseminated false, erroneous, and incomplete information, which was unreasonably relied upon by the public and which had the effect of delaying and interfering with the implementation of effective mitigation and countermeasures against the virus,”  according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in state court in Seattle in Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics, a Washington non-profit corporation, v. Fox News, Fox News Group, Fox News Corp., Rupert Murdoch, AT&T TV, Comcast.

The lawsuit by the Olympia, Washington-based organization charges that the defendants’ actions were a clear violation of the Consumer Protection Act and that their “campaign of deception led viewers to take unnecessary risk and ignore the dangers of the virus, especially dangers posed to the elderly, immunocompromised, and those with underlying conditions.”

The lawsuit cites in particular March 9 broadcasts by Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Trish Regan. Ms. Regan was fired by the network after she said that coronavirus concerns were another attempt to impeach the president. Mr. Hannity remains at the network.

Washington has been among the states hardest hit by the pandemic.

Lily Fu Claffee, general counsel for Fox News Media, said in a statement, “Wrong on the facts, frivolous on the law. We will defend vigorously and seek sanctions as appropriate.”

More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here