CNN legal analyst: Paul Ryan did not do enough as a Fox board member to shield himself from legal consequences

Norm Eisen: “On every front, Paul Ryan's behavior is far short of what he should have done”

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Citation From the March 2, 2023, episode of CNN Newsroom

ABBY PHILLIP (HOST): I do want to switch gears to another story. We have more court filings that are expected to come in this massive defamation lawsuit against Fox News. And already we've seen in the reams of evidence that the network knowingly pushed election lies about the 2020 election. And those documents also revealed what Fox board member, former House Speaker Paul Ryan, urged the Murdochs to do. He urged them to steer clear of Trump and his election lies. Now, Ryan was recently pressed by a well-known conservative about whether he really did enough while on the board at this particular time. Watch. 


Is that actually going to be enough to prevent Paul Ryan from seeing any consequences, or others on the board, for being accused of engaging in basically negligence and misconduct? I mean, there's this defamation lawsuit, but you also have this reality that this is a company, and if they're doing things that are deemed to be libelous, they could face consequences for that.

NORM EISEN (CNN LEGAL ANALYST): Abby, It's not enough legally. When a board member sees something wrong that is happening -- and Rupert Murdoch himself admitted that Fox hosts endorsed the falsehoods about the 2020 election, they didn't just report on them -- the board member has a fiduciary duty to do more, not to just say "oh, I gave my opinion." So legally, Fox is exposed to potentially a massive verdict in this case for libel. It's ethically wrong. When you see something like that, when I was the Ethics Czar in the White House, our philosophy was you've gotta speak out. You've gotta stop the wrongdoing, not just say "oh, I gave my opinion." And I think it's politically disastrous because this election denial ideology has hit the Republicans in swing states, where you had election deniers running on these continuing lies. They ran well behind so-called "team normal" in the Republican party. So, on every front, Paul Ryan's behavior is far short of what he should have done.