A New York City jury has ordered Donald Trump to pay $83.3 million in damages to journalist E. Jean Carroll for defamation. Trump had spent years maligning Carroll in public forums and on social media, sometimes dozens of times in a single day. Carroll celebrated the settlement saying, “This is a great victory for every woman who stands up when she’s been knocked down and a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down.”
Trump responded on Truth Social by claiming that “our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon” and that “they have taken away all First Amendment Rights.” Such views were echoed in coverage of the settlement by right-wing media personalities, according to watchdog group Media Matters for America. Courtney Hagle, the group’s research director, spoke with YES! Senior Editor Sonali Kolhatkar on YES! Presents: Rising Up With Sonali about what it will take to break through distorted right-wing media coverage of Trump’s legal scandals.
Sonali Kolhatkar joined YES! in summer 2021, building on a long and decorated career in broadcast and print journalism. She is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and host and creator of YES! Presents: Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. She is also Senior Correspondent with the Independent Media Institute’s Economy for All project where she writes a weekly column. She is the author of Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (2023) and Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence (2005). Her forthcoming book is called Talking About Abolition (Seven Stories Press, 2025). Sonali is co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women’s Mission which she helped to co-found in 2000. She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawai’i, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. Sonali reflects on “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host” in her 2014 TEDx talk of the same name.