Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Fourth Circuit Affirms Lower Court Ruling Finding In Favor of Defendants in "Under the Gun" Defamation Lawsuit

The Fourth Circuit affirmed the lower court in Virginia Citizens Defense League et al., v. Katie Couric et al., a defamation case involving the documentary "Under the Gun." In that case, the plaintiffs alleged that the creators of the film, including Ms. Couric, falsely portrayed them by presenting edited clips that showed them failing to respond to Ms. Couric's questions about background checks or showing they were "otherwise uninformed in their areas of expertise." Said the court, "The crux of appellants’ defamation claims is that the edited interview
“manufacture[d] a false exchange . . . that made [appellants] look ridiculous, incompetent, and ignorant about firearm ownership and sales, including the policies surrounding  background checks.” Although we agree that the filmmakers’ editing choices were questionable, the edited footage simply does not rise to the level of defamation under Virginia law."

 

Here is a link to the ruling.

More about the origin of the lawsuit here, from Variety; on the lower court ruling here.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/media_law_prof_blog/2018/12/fourth-circuit-affirms-lower-court-ruling-finding-in-favor-of-defendants-in-under-the-gun-defamation.html

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