[guest post by Dana]
Dominion Voting Systems, in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit, accused Fox News of knowingly pushing false conspiracy theories that the voting machine company rigged the 2020 presidential election in Joe Biden’s favor, in what Dominion claims was an effort to combat concerns over declining ratings and viewer retention. Fox defended its coverage, dismissing the suit as a “political crusade in search of a financial windfall.”
“Truth matters. Lies have consequences,” said Justin Nelson, an attorney for Dominion Voting Systems, as he announced details of the company’s settlement with Fox News during a press conference following the court’s adjournment.
“Today’s settlement of $787,500,000 represents vindication and accountability,” Nelson said. “Today represents a ringing endorsement for truth and for democracy.”
And pushing the company
lie, uh, line, but I repeat myself, are Fox News officials:
We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems,” Fox News officials said in a statement after an agreement had been reached. “We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects FOX’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards.”
“We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues,” the statement said.
It’s unfortunate that Fox News’ on-air and management hypocrites and liars will not have to testify, but regardless, what a settlement for Dominion Voting Systems.
I think we can be assured that no on-air personalities will be shuffled to another time slot, or even be let go as a result of this suit. After all, it didn’t impact the popular pundits when Rupert Murdoch confirmed under oath that he knew that Carlson, Ingraham, Hannity, Pirro, and Baritromo endorsed 2020 election fraud conspiracies. This is their business model. But still, $787,500,000 isn’t chump change either.
Overnight thoughts: It’s remarkable, in retrospect, that the Fox propaganda machine happily promoted the election fraud rantings of an obviously unhinged liar. Yet they did so because that’s what viewers demanded and that’s what pumped the ratings. And while that poor decision-making is now costing them an extraordinary sum of money, Fox News will continue to sell its soul to promote Donald Trump in the next presidential election. Nothing has changed fundamentally in their mindset or business practices, be they the Murdochs, management, or on-air personalities. If it had, there would have been an apology, not compelled by the court but by the Murdochs’ um, better angels… It was telling that no public apology was ever made. And while it’s an extraordinary settlement, the problem has been dealt with, and it will be business as usual: Fox News will do whatever it takes to keep the ratings pumped. As always. I think it will be all Trump, all the time if that’s what the viewers demand. And any bad news about him will be flat-out ignored, or spun into something more palatable. Even now, consider how Fox News has reported on the settlement news:
Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz reported the settlement during the 4 pm hour but claimed he did not know the settlement amount.
“A Dominion lawyer gave reporters a dollar figure for the settlement, but I have not been able to independently confirm that,” Kurtz said.
fox news' howie kurtz reports on the dominion settlement but refuses to give the dollar amount bc "i have not independently confirmed" the amount that was paid by the cable company that employs him pic.twitter.com/IVd0PplLwz
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) April 18, 2023
Daily Beast media reporter Justin Baragona reported that Fox News host Neil Cavuto did mention the settlement amount, citing the Wall Street Journal, another outlet owned by Rupert Murdoch.
“Really stands out that the in-house media reporter just refused to tell Fox audiences the hefty settlement figure,” Baragona tweeted.
Top Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity likewise did not reference the settlement at all during their broadcasts, according to Reuters. And Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake noted that “the Fox News website’s story on the Dominion settlement is only 161 words long.”
“It makes no mention of the dollar amount and little mention of the substance, which it summarizes as involving ‘coverage of the post-2020 presidential election,'” he wrote.
Next up for Fox: A $2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic USA.
“Smartmatic now has a bargaining chip, and Fox has shown it is willing to take out its checkbook and write a big check,” said University of Tennessee, Knoxville media law professor Stuart Brotman. “From Fox’s standpoint, now that they realize they can get a successful settlement, they have a basis for a real discussion with Smartmatic.”