On 7 November 2020 Joe Biden won the US Presidential election, alongside his running mate Kamala Harris, with 290 electoral college votes to President Trump’s 232. US media outlets concluded that Biden will win the election with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. The Associated Press provided an explainer on the media’s role in calling the races in US elections.
President Donald Trump has yet to concede the election, stating in his first press conference since the results were called that fraud had taken place and was mulling over a challenge to the US Supreme Court on the legitimacy of the results. Bloomberg reports as does the New Statesman.
President Trump has since stated that “only time will tell” who will be in the White House come January 2020. A statement which has drawn commentary from the Evening Standard. The Guardian has an article on the media response to these positions. Time writes that only the right-wing media can save America from Trump’s conspiracies.
The BBC reports that the Twitter alternative Parler has become the most-downloaded app in the United States as conservatives flock to the self-styled “free speech” app after the US election. Wired had a piece, Parler Games: Inside the Right’s Favorite ‘Free Speech’ App.
The Volokh Conspiracy notes that Richard Stengel, the Biden transition team “agency review team lead” for the U.S. Agency for Global Media (the agency that’s in charge of the Voice of America and similar outlets), had an op-ed last year in the Washington Post on “Why America Needs a Hate Speech Law”.
TRTWorld has covered how the US media framed the election. The Conversation has a thought provoking article on how journalists will handle a Joe Biden presidency- it posits that the media must scrutinise the Biden presidency not celebrate it.
ABC News reports that A federal judge in New York has scheduled a telephone conference in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against President Trump, a signal the case is moving forward despite attempts by the Justice Department to intervene.
CNN Politics has a post “6 lawsuits Donald Trump is going to have to deal with when he leaves office” including defamation claims brought by E Jean Carroll and Summer Zervos.
The Volokh Conspiracy has a post “Some Thoughts on the Avenatti v. Fox News Libel Lawsuit“.
In the Courts
Donald J Trump for President Inc v CNN 1:20-cv-01045 – The Campaign’s claim of defamation against CNN after the media outlet published an statement that “The Trump campaign assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table” failed. The Plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead malice. There was a report in the Hollywood Reporter.
Hunt v Cuomo, 1:20-cv-01176-JLS, The US District Court of the Western District of New York held that a New York restriction on live music during the Covid-19 pandemic was unconstitutional.
Speech First v UTA Case 19-50529. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed an appeal against the dismissal of an action against the University of Texas at Austin for policies that allegedly violate students’ free speech rights. Speech First claims that various policies for students at UT Austin, including the use of a Campus Climate Response Team to report, investigate and punish students for bias incidents, made conservative students fearful of openly sharing their opinions, which others might find “offensive,” There was a report of the decision in Inside Higher Ed.
This Round up was complied by Suneet Sharma a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media, information and privacy law.