Laura Ingraham, a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, knows darned well that Donald Trump’s lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is going nowhere but she kept that from her viewers in a softball interview with Trump’s lead lawyer, John Coale.
Notice how Ingraham seemed to endorse the suit without mentioning its (very slim) chances of success. She also failed to mention that Coale’s wife is her former colleague:
INGRAHAM: Former President Trump today announcing he's leading a class action lawsuit against Facebook, Google and Twitter, the three Big Tech companies that suspended him as you may recall after January 6. And they claimed that they violated his first amendment rights.
Now, the lawsuit was filed today in the Southern District of Florida. They seek injunctive relief and damages for a group of Americans harmed by the social media companies' decisions to silence them.
Joining me now is John Coale, one of the group's lead attorneys. John, good to see you. Explain in layman's terms for us how you can answer the claim that these companies - I mean, they're just private enterprises, not government actors that are constrained otherwise by the Constitution.
In his weedy explanation, Coale made the dubious claim that, as Ingraham helpfully put it, the tech companies are “essentially acting as quasi-state actors.” I’ll leave it to the legal experts to analyze the validity but so far, they seem unanimous in finding it ridiculous.
At least part of Coale’s argument claimed a right to spread COVID disinformation:
COALE: And the other thing you can't do is participate in government actions as Fauci did with Facebook and what CDC did with Twitter and Facebook. Now it's just fine if Fauci or the CDC want to say something or give their opinion, that's one thing. But they do not have the right as government entities to censor people who may have a different opinion. So what they did is they farm that out to Facebook, Twitter, and Google. And they can't do that. That makes them state actors, which means that the First Amendment freedom of speech applies.
Again, Ingraham did not endorse the theory but she signaled she’s in the Trump/Coale tribe by withholding her own opinion and teeing up an opportunity for Coale to go after critics.
INGRAHAM: Now, the legal analysts out there, the TV lawyers are claiming that this is kind of a frivolous claim that you've raised. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: This case is dead on arrival. And I think President Trump and his lawyers know it. I think this is more of a PR stunt than a legal case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: As a former U.S. District Attorney, Ms. McQuade thinks the lawsuit has no legs.
COALE: Well, that's really good news for somebody who just found out about it a few hours ago. I wish I was that smart. I mean, we've worked day and night for three months to put it together. But she's much smarter than I am, probably you are too. Who knows?
INGRAHAM: One thing that they immediately came out with and this wasn't surprising. Person after person, we don't need to play the montage, this is just a fundraising ploy, John. This is just Donald Trump trying to raise money, somehow you have a class action, but you're going to take money for the class action, legal fees and use it to advance, I don't know, Trump's political ambitions for the future or something like it.
In fact, Trump had already used the suit to fundraise. The ink was barely dry on the legal documents before he started fundraising off them. That was another thing Ingraham kept from her viewers.
COALE: What's really sad is the hatred for Donald Trump surpasses all reason. Behind me at that stage today should have been the ACLU, which is going who knows where they've gone. But this is a classic suit for them. And it's ridiculous that the left, the left doesn't understand they're getting the conservatives this week. In five years, they're going to get the liberals. You can't have this kind of unrestrained free speech taken away like this. It's really disgusting.
You can never demonize Trump critics enough on Fox, so it was no surprise Ingraham had no problem with Coale's remarks. Just before wrapping up the interview, she asked, how many people had joined the lawsuit. Coale predicted thousands, even though there are only 75 or 80 right now. “They’re coming in out of the woodwork,” he claimed.
You can watch Ingraham give false credence to Trump’s frivolous suit below, from the July 7, 2021 The Ingraham Angle.
It drives me crazy to witness how GOPers of all stripes will insist on cherry picking the bits they want to believe in any field, including the Constitution and the Bible. Whatever they believe goes, evidence be damned.
On the second amendment, they happily ignore the introductory phrase about a well-regulated militia being the fundamental reason for citizens to be allowed to own guns. That introductory phrase should be brought back to introduce training and sensible gun control. An assault weapon is not for hunting deer but people.
On the first amendment, they claim that a principle that aims at preventing government overreach (authoritarianism) can be invoked against non-government actors. In the same breath they’ll say a private company can do anything it wants so long as that anything involves trampling on the rights of women, LBGTQ folk, immigrants, etc.
On freedom in general, they invoke whatever tickles their fancy: the slogan “my body my choice” is wrong if a woman says it to support women’s reproductive rights, but just fine if the issue is wearing a mask.
There’s no dialogue with folks who prefer faith to fact-based knowledge.
The cupcake interview Ingraham gave here was paralleled by the cupcake interview disgraced Fox personality O’Reilly gave to the childish former spokesman for the Pence White White House. Neither was particularly substantive and both spoke more about the interviewers’ biases than about any useful information.