World

Lawsuit accuses Fox of concocting fake news for Trump

NEW YORK: Fox News contrived with a Donald Trump supporter and the White House to fabricate "fake news" to advance the president's agenda and try to bury speculation that his campaign colluded with Russia, a lawsuit claims.

The suit, filed at the US federal court house in Manhattan on Tuesday, is brought by Mr Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and retired police detective, against the television network, one of its journalists and another of its contributors.

It alleges that a May 16 article sought to promote a claim that a murdered Democratic National Committee (DNC) staff member was the source of leaked DNC e-mails during last year's election campaign and not Russian hackers as the US intelligence community has said.

To bolster that claim, the lawsuit alleges that the article included "fabricated" quotes from Mr Wheeler.

It quoted one of the defendants - wealthy Trump supporter Ed Butowsky - as claiming that the president reviewed the article "before its publication and sought to get the article published immediately".

The lawsuit says that when Mr Wheeler complained, he was told by Mr Butowsky "that is the way the president wanted the article".

The White House hit back, saying Mr Trump had "no knowledge" of the story.

"It's completely untrue that he or the White House were involved in the story. Beyond that, this is ongoing litigation and I will refer you to the actual parties involved," spokesman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

Fox News denounced as "completely erroneous" accusations that it published the article "to help detract from coverage of the Russia collusion issue".

"The retraction of this story is still being investigated internally and we have no evidence that Rod Wheeler was misquoted," said president of news Jay Wallace.

Fox retracted the article on May 23, but the lawsuit accuses the channel of not clearing Mr Wheeler's name and never admitting that he had been misquoted. - AFP

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