Back when Sean Hannity was still with Alan Colmes, a story was aired about an alleged “manhunt” for seven migrant workers on the Fox News Channel. The law suit against Fox News, Inc. was regarding the the caption at the bottom of the screen that ran throughout the story, which read, “Manhunt at the Border” and a “wanted” poster depicting the plaintiffs. The problem is that law enforcement was not involved.

In a bizarre ruling, the California Court of Appeal determined that  cable news programs can, basically, use inaccurate captions in a “colorful way” to grab attention and increase viewership.

“an owner of a cable television news program has broad First Amendment rights to present information in the manner it chooses. The use of captions and graphics has become a popular method for television stations to enhance their news programs and thus to increase viewer audiences. In this case, plaintiffs seeks to isolate a four-word caption from the rest of the story to create a legal basis for their defamation claim. If we were to uphold this approach, it is likely the courts would be faced with a plethora of new claims from viewers dissatisfied with how a particular television caption or graphic has accurately summarized or represented the essence of the news story.”

I completely disagree that a reasonable person would determine “manhunt” to be anything other than a search by law enforcement. Apparently, California courts have routinely thought the same. Unfortunately, this time they gave Fox News, Inc. a pass…

Original story

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