Seeking damages of $475,000,000, former President Donald Trump has sued CNN for defaming him.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and focuses primarily on the term “The Big Lie” about claims of widespread fraud that he says cost him the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden.
Trump’s lawsuit claims “The Big Lie,” a phrase with Nazi connotations, has been used in reference to him more than 7,700 times on CNN since January 2021.
“It is intended to aggravate, scare and trigger people,” he said.
In a statement Monday, Trump suggested that similar lawsuits would be filed against other news organizations, and he said he may also bring “appropriate action” against the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by his supporters.
New CNN chief Chris Licht privately urged his news personnel in a meeting more than three months ago to refrain from using the phrase because it is too close to Democratic efforts to brand the former president, according to several published reports.
Multiple CNN hosts and commentators defied CEO Chris Licht’s reported request to avoid using the phrase “big lie” to refer to former President Donald Trump’s claims about the 2020 election Wednesday and Thursday, according to a review of CNN programming.
Licht asked on-air talent to avoid the phrase in a conference call Tuesday, citing concerns that using the Democratic-pushed term was compromising the network’s objectivity, Mediate reported.
Licht instead suggested using phrases like “election lies” or “Trump’s election lie.”
Despite this request, hosts Anderson Cooper, Brianna Keilar, and Don Lemon and senior political analyst Jon Avlon have continued to use the phrase since the conference call.
Avlon used the term seven times in what Keilar introduced as a “reality check” on “New Day“ Wednesday.
Cooper and senior data reporter Harry Enten also used “big lie” when discussing Republican Rep. Liz Cheney’s chances in her August primary election for Wyoming’s congressional seat after Republican Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina was defeated in his primary election.
“Is that an indication of how prevalent the beliefs are, the beliefs on the big lie in the Republican Party?” Cooper asked Enten.
“Absolutely,” Enten responded. “The vast majority of Republicans believe this garbage that is the big lie. We’ve seen it in poll after poll after poll.”
“Tom Rice lost his job because he voted to impeach Donald Trump,” Lemon said to CNN analyst Ron Brownstein. “What message does it send to other Republicans like Liz Cheney facing Trump-backed challengers for refusing to push the big lie?”
Licht has sought to rein in left-wing partisanship on CNN and is evaluating whether some of the on-air talent can adapt to the network’s new strategy, according to a report by Axios.