Fox News obtained and was first to report on each of Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) lawsuits against Republican operative Liz Mair. The lawmaker followed up the filing of both complaints with an appearance on Sean Hannity’s show.
And on Tuesday night, a Fox host, Shannon Bream, defended the lawmaker to Mair during an interview on the network.
After Bream asked Mair if she was “good” for the collective $400 million that Nunes sued her for — which Mair said she was “not” — Mair said that the suit sets a “bad precedent” if it were to succeed.
“Anything that Fox News viewers who are on social media or Fox News itself says that’s critical of somebody like Hillary Clinton, guess what? She’s going to be able to bankrupt them,” Mair said.
“But critical, critical is different than untrue,” Bream said, cutting Mair off. “And he’s saying these things were knowingly retweeted and published when folks knew the impression they were going to give was not accurate.”
In his latest lawsuit against Mair, Nunes alleges that she conspired with a McClatchy newspaper, the Fresno Bee, when she retweeted a story that pointed out his partial ownership of a winery whose investors were caught doing cocaine and paying sex workers during a charity event for the winery. Earlier in the interview Bream questioned whether the article “inappropriately attaches him to something that he wasn’t attached to.” Mair responded saying she had no way of knowing what people’s “takeaway” of the story might be, but continued to argue that defamation cases are difficult to win, especially when brought by a public figure like Nunes.
“It’s very clear, though, that there’s a high standard when you’re talking about defamation and the reason that exists is because James Madison when he was writing the First Amendment specifically wanted censorial power to rest with the people over the government not for the government to be able to censor the people,” Mair said. “And in this case, have a sitting government official, whether you like him or not, we have a sitting government official who is trying to stifle my free speech my using litigation as a cudgel and I think that’s a very clear case of violation of the First Amendment.”
Fox host defends Nunes during interview with GOP operative the lawmaker is suing for $400 million: "Critical is different than untrue" pic.twitter.com/3KSmrUUpAb
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) April 10, 2019