Fox News Radio Host: Florida Defamation Bill Could Hurt All Media


In December 2023, Florida State Representative Alex Andrade introduced legislation that would make it easier to sue media outlets for defamation – a historically difficult process. Now one Fox News Radio host is slamming the bill, saying it could backfire massively.

HB 757 works by taking a stringent stance on the use of anonymous sources, suggesting that publishing false information about a public figure could be presumed as malicious intent. The concept of “actual malice” has allowed a margin for error for journalists to work in when reporting on those in power to ensure they are not compelled to self-censor.

Rep. Andrade’s bill also opens the door for individuals to sue over false representations made through artificial intelligence. He previously submitted the bill in February 2023 before it died in the House Judiciary Committee that May.

Fox News Radio Ft. Myers host Trey Radel, a former US Representative, is voicing his strong opposition to the bill. In an interview with Fox News Digital, the WFSX personality said, “While certain Republicans may think that they’re going to be suing and taking on The New York Times and The Washington Post, here’s the breaking news: liberal trial lawyers are going to have a field day with center-right media in the state of Florida. Signing this into law will destroy conservative media in this state.”

Radel says he empathizes with the desire for media accountability but warns of significant repercussions for conservative voices in Florida by way of legislating based on emotion.

Sun Broadcasting, the parent company of WFSX, is drawing a hard line on the legislation. President James Schwartzel got into a heated text message debate with Rep. Andrade over how the bill would redefine defamation, according to the conversation posted by Florida Politics.

Media attorney James Lake has added to the critiques, highlighting issues with the Florida defamation bill and its accelerated “veracity hearing” process, potential infringement on the right to a jury trial, and conflicts with First Amendment protections.



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