Newly revealed messages and testimonies from some of Fox News’ biggest stars and most senior executives reveal that they express distrust of the President’s false claims. Donald J. Trump that the 2020 election was stolen by him, even though the network continues to promote many of the lies over the air.
Hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, as well as others in the company, have repeatedly insulted and mocked Trump advisers, including Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani, in the news. texted each other in the weeks after the election, according to a legal filing is made public on Thursday in a defamation lawsuit against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems.
“By the way, Sidney Powell is lying. I caught her. Crazy,” Mr. Carlson wrote to Ms. Ingraham on November 18, 2020.
Ms Ingraham replied: ‘Sidney is a complete lunatic. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy.
Mr. Carlson continued, “Our viewers are good people and they believe it,” he added, making it clear he doesn’t.
The messages also suggest that such suspicions have extended to the highest levels of the Fox Group, with Rupert Murdoch, its chairman, calling Mr Trump’s claims of election fraud “really crazy stuff” crazy”.
On one occasion, when Mr. Murdoch watched Mr. Giuliani and Mrs. Powell on television, he told Suzanne Scott, the chief executive officer of Fox News Media, “I fear terrible things that will hurt people.”
The file, in state court in Delaware, contains the most detailed and vivid picture of what goes on behind the scenes at Fox News and its parent company in the days and weeks following the 2020 election. is a period when conservative cable networks suddenly change coverage.
Fox News stunned the Trump campaign on election night when it became the first news outlet to claim Joseph R. Biden Jr. was the winner in Arizona – effectively predicting that he would become the next president. Then, when Fox ratings plummeted after the election and the president refused to give in, many of the network’s most popular hosts and shows began promoting outlandish claims of a fraudulent conspiracy. far-reaching voters involved the Dominion machine in order to reject a second term for Mr. Trump.
What was revealed on Thursday was not a full look at Dominion’s case against Fox. The 192-page profile contains multiple transactions. Fox has sought to withhold much of the evidence against it. The New York Times is challenge the legitimacy of some of the transactions in court.
The details provide more than impressive details from within a news organization where internal disputes rarely enter the public eye. They are evidence that a jury can use to determine whether Fox is liable for substantial financial damages. Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in damages for damages it says it suffered when Fox guests and hosts claim, such as Dominion’s voting machine, was designed with fraudulent purposes fraudulent election for the Venezuelan dictator, Hugo Chavez, and is equipped with an algorithm that can erase votes from one candidate and give them to another.
Fox Corporation has about $4 billion in cash on hand, according to its latest quarterly earnings report.
The burden of the lawsuit falls on Dominion to prove that Fox acted with genuine malice — the age-old legal standard that requires Dominion to prove that Fox guests, hosts, and executives knew what was said on the air was false and still allowed it to happen, or that people inside Fox were recklessly negligent in not checking the accuracy of their coverage.
That burden is difficult to meet, which is why defamation cases often fail.
In its defense, Fox has argued that by covering Mr. Trump’s fraudulent claims, the network is merely doing its job as any media organization would, by reporting and comment on an issue of undeniably newsworthy value. The law protects journalists from liability if they report false statements.
But endorsing or promoting falsehoods is not protected. Fox’s legal team admitted that the former president’s claims are indeed false.
“This lawsuit violates the First Amendment and the media’s obligation and right to report on issues of public interest without fear of liability,” Fox said in court filings. judgment filed on Thursday. “Freedom of speech and freedom of the press would be an illusion if the dominant party in a public argument could sue the press for ceding the platform to the losing party. Fortunately,” it added, “that’s not the law.”
Many defamation lawsuits are quickly dismissed because of First Amendment’s broad freedom of speech protections. If they continue, they are usually settled out of court to avoid the costly spectacle of a trial for both parties. The Dominion case has unfolded with a speed and scope that media experts say is unusual.
In eight months, Dominion’s attorneys received deposits from dozens of people at all levels of the network and its parent company. Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Corporation, was ousted last month. Sean Hannity, one of the most famous primetime hosts and a close ally of Trump, was deposed twice. And many mid-level employees had their phones and personal emails searched as part of the discovery process, which company insiders said created a climate of considerable uncertainty.
Both sides were excited and confident of winning. The judge has scheduled jury selection to begin in mid-April.
Fox disputed how Dominion got the money it was claiming, arguing that the company overstated its valuation and the reputational damage it suffered. bear.
In court papers filed Thursday, Fox’s attorneys called the $1.6 billion sum “a staggering number that has no factual evidence and serves no clear purpose.” anything other than making headlines, chilling First Amendment speech, and unjustly enriching the private equity of Dominion owners.”
Fox’s attorneys added that Staple Street Capital Partners, the private equity firm that owns a majority stake in Dominion, paid only about $38 million for their 76% stake in the company in 2018 and has not Never estimate Dominion’s financial value to be “anywhere near”. $1.6 billion.” Fox has filed a counterclaim against Dominion seeking to recover all costs associated with the lawsuit.
Dominion’s goal, beyond convincing the jury that Fox intentionally spread lies, was to build a case that pointed straight to the pinnacle of Fox’s media empire and its founding family: the Murdochs.
“Fox knew,” Dominion’s filing states. “From top to bottom, Fox knows.”