How Right-Wing Radio Stoked Anger Before the Capitol Siege
The First Amendment gives broad latitude to what hosts can say on the air. Recently, though, defamation lawsuits, or the threat of them, have emerged as a potential check. Smartmatic, an election technology firm, filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit last week against the Fox Corporation and three Fox anchors, accusing them of broadcasting false statements that damaged the company.
Sidney Powell, the Trump lawyer named in the Smartmatic suit that accused Fox News of spreading false claims, voiced similar falsehoods on Mr. Limbaugh’s show after Election Day. (Mr. Limbaugh would later complain that Ms. Powell had not produced evidence of fraud, but she reappeared on his program on Dec. 29, with little pushback from a guest host.)
Unlike cable TV, talk radio is difficult to monitor — broadcasts…