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CNN Faces Defamation Lawsuit Over Debate Moderator Jake Tapper’s Fake News Coverage

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CNN is facing a defamation lawsuit over Jake Tapper’s coverage of President Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal, a Florida Court of Appeal has ruled. This development comes as Tapper is set to moderate the first 2024 Presidential debate, drawing increased scrutiny over his allegedly dishonest news coverage and repeated rebukes of former President Trump.

Background of the Lawsuit

The lawsuit stems from CNN’s 2021 coverage of the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal, where the network accused Plaintiff Zachary Young of running a “black market” scheme and exploiting “desperate Afghans” for personal gain. Young, who was assisting in evacuating Afghans from Taliban control, argues that CNN’s portrayal harmed his security consulting company, Nemex Enterprises Inc.

Court’s Ruling

The First District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida ruled on June 12 that Young had provided sufficient evidence to move forward with his defamation suit for punitive damages. The court document stated that Young “sufficiently proffered evidence of actual malice, express malice, and a level of conduct outrageous enough” to warrant seeking punitive damages. The judges emphasized that the issue at hand was not whether Young could ultimately prevail but whether he had enough evidence to proceed.

Allegations Against CNN

Young, a U.S. Navy veteran, alleges that CNN “destroyed his reputation and business by branding him an illegal profiteer who exploited desperate Afghans” during a segment on “The Lead with Jake Tapper” aired on November 11, 2021. This segment was shared on social media and repackaged for CNN’s website, amplifying its reach and impact.

The court’s ruling highlighted internal CNN messages and emails expressing concern about the completeness and accuracy of the report, describing it as “a mess,” “incomplete,” and “full of holes like Swiss cheese.” Despite Young notifying CNN correspondent Alex Marquardt of factual inaccuracies hours before publication, the network proceeded with the story.

Internal Communications

The court acknowledged that internal communications revealed a lack of regard for Young, with CNN staff using profane language to disparage him. The judges noted that CNN’s defense for these internal attacks was described as “journalistic bravado,” raising questions about the network’s commitment to factual reporting.

Implications for the Presidential Debate

As Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, both known for their critical coverage of Trump, prepare to moderate this week’s presidential debate, concerns about fairness and bias have resurfaced. Trump supporters recall instances where Tapper and Bash compared Trump to Adolf Hitler, casting doubt on the impartiality of their moderation.

Earlier today, CNN’s Kasie Hunt cut off Trump spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt during a debate preview interview after she mentioned Tapper’s past comparisons of Trump to Hitler. This incident further fuels skepticism about CNN’s ability to host a fair debate, reminiscent of Chris Wallace’s controversial moderation of the 2020 debate.

CNN Abruptly Cuts Off Trump Campaign Spokeswoman Live on Air Ahead of First Presidential Debate

The defamation lawsuit against CNN highlights significant issues regarding media accountability and journalistic integrity. As the network gears up for the first presidential debate, the outcome of this legal battle and the scrutiny of its moderators will likely impact public perception of CNN’s credibility and impartiality.

Will Jake Tapper’s “journalistic bravado” influence the debate stage? The coming days will reveal whether CNN can uphold the standards of unbiased journalism during this critical election period.

Politics

Democrats Block SAVE Act in Senate, Allowing Potential for Illegal Immigrant Voting

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Senate Democrats have thwarted the passage of the SAVE Act, a pivotal bill aimed at bolstering the integrity of federal elections by mandating proof of citizenship for voting eligibility. This move follows the House’s approval of the bill with a narrow vote of 221-198, where almost all Democrats opposed the measure.

The SAVE Act seeks to amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to enforce stricter voter registration standards. Specifically, it proposes that voters must furnish documentary evidence of U.S. citizenship to participate in federal elections, diverging from current regulations that only require such proof for state and local elections.

Senator Mike Lee, commending Representative Chip Roy for the bill’s passage, emphasized the necessity for Senate action, asserting, “Federal elections are only for U.S. citizens.”

However, despite efforts to expedite the bill in the Senate, Democrats raised objections, preventing its immediate passage. Senator Lee expressed frustration over the blockage, highlighting the potential consequences: “It’ll stop noncitizens from voting.”

In a statement on the Senate floor, Senator Lee voiced deep concerns, citing a recent study revealing significant opportunities for illegal voting by noncitizens. The study indicated that between 10% to 27% of noncitizens are registered to vote, with 5% to 13% actually participating in presidential elections.

Instances of voter fraud, including noncitizens illegally registered to vote, have been documented across the country. Reports have surfaced of unsolicited voter registration forms sent to noncitizens and inadequate checks during driver’s license issuance, contributing to vulnerabilities in the electoral system.

A video shared by Mike Howell, Executive Director of the Heritage Oversight Project, in collaboration with Muckraker.com, further underscored concerns. The video exposed instances of illegal aliens admitting to voter registration in North Carolina, emphasizing the need to safeguard American elections from foreign influence.

The SAVE Act’s blockade in the Senate has ignited a contentious debate over electoral integrity and the role of citizenship in voting rights. As the legislative battle continues, the future of federal voting regulations remains uncertain, with implications for the upcoming 2024 elections.

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2024 Race

Wisconsin Supreme Court Reinstates Unstaffed Drop Boxes Ahead of 2024 Election

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In a significant ruling on July 5, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided to reinstate the use of unstaffed drop boxes for absentee ballots, reversing the prohibition that had been in effect since 2022. The court’s 4–3 decision marks a pivotal change in Wisconsin’s election procedures ahead of the 2024 elections.

In 2022, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that state law did not allow for absentee drop boxes to be placed anywhere other than in election clerk offices. This decision effectively banned the use of unmanned drop boxes, which had been widely utilized in previous elections to facilitate absentee voting.

The reversal of the 2022 ruling was influenced by a change in the court’s composition. A new justice was elected in 2023, which led to a re-evaluation of the previous decision. During the arguments in May, Justice Jill Karofsky questioned the validity of the 2022 ruling, suggesting that it may have been a mistake. “What if we just got it wrong? What if we made a mistake? Are we now supposed to just perpetuate that mistake into the future?” Karofsky asked during the proceedings.

The court heard arguments three months before the August 13 primary and six months ahead of the November presidential election. Attorneys representing Republican backers of the 2022 ruling contended that there had been no changes in the facts or the law to justify overturning a decision that was less than two years old. Misha Tseytlin, at torney for the Republican-controlled Legislature, argued that overturning the ruling could lead to future instability, as the court might have to revisit the issue whenever its composition changes.

However, Justice Karofsky countered this by pointing out the potential flaws in the 2022 decision, questioning whether the court should continue to uphold a ruling that was “egregiously wrong from the start” with “exceptionally weak” reasoning and damaging consequences.

Democrats and voting rights advocates argued that the 2022 ruling misinterpreted the law by concluding that absentee ballots could only be returned to a clerk’s office and not to a drop box controlled by the clerk. David Fox, attorney for the groups challenging the prohibition, described the current law as unworkable and unclear about where ballots can be returned.

Several justices expressed concerns about revisiting the previous ruling, with Justice Rebecca Bradley cautioning against the court acting as a “super Legislature” and giving municipal clerks excessive discretion in conducting elections.

The case was brought by voter mobilization group Priorities USA and the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Voters. Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which oversees the state’s elections, supported the use of drop boxes. Election officials from four counties, including the state’s two largest, also filed briefs in support of overturning the prohibition, arguing that drop boxes had been used securely for decades.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys highlighted the practical impact of the 2022 ruling, noting that over 1,600 absentee ballots arrived late and were not counted in the 2022 election when drop boxes were not in use. By contrast, in the 2020 election, when drop boxes were available, only 689 ballots arrived after Election Day, despite a significantly higher number of absentee voters.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate unstaffed drop boxes is a crucial development in the state’s election laws, potentially increasing accessibility and convenience for absentee voters. As the 2024 elections approach, this ruling may have significant implications for voter turnout and the administration of elections in Wisconsin.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Elon Musk Backs Voter Bill Aimed at Providing Proof of U.S. Citizenship to Vote, Labels Opponents as “Traitors”

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Elon Musk recently voiced strong support for the SAVE Act, a bill proposed by House Speaker Mike Johnson aimed at ensuring only U.S. citizens can vote in federal elections. The Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act seeks to amend the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by mandating documentary proof of U.S. citizenship for voter registration in federal elections.

The bill outlines several key measures:

  • State election officials must verify citizenship before providing voter registration forms.
  • Individuals must provide proof of citizenship to register to vote in federal elections.
  • States can accept various documents to make it easier for citizens to register.
  • States will have access to federal agency databases to remove non-citizens from voter rolls.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is directed to determine whether to initiate removal proceedings if a non-citizen is identified as registered to vote.
  • DHS must notify state election officials when individuals are naturalized to ensure they can exercise their voting rights.

Supporters, including Musk, argue that these measures are necessary to protect the integrity of U.S. elections by preventing non-citizens from voting. Critics of the bill claim it could disenfranchise eligible voters by imposing additional hurdles to the registration process.

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