Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News is a tremendous setback to the network. It may finally be held accountable for saying that the election technology company helped rig the 2020 presidential election (a claim that Donald Trump notoriously asserted). Quite frankly, Fox News being called out on such a public and grand scale for the dangerous misinformation that they constantly peddle is long overdue.
Earlier this week, as part of the lawsuit, Rupert Murdoch’s testimony was made public. The chairman of Fox News’s parent company admitted in a deposition that “some of our commentators were endorsing” the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Murdoch also said that he wanted the network to challenge all of the ridiculous conspiracy theories.
“I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it, in hindsight,” Murdoch stated. However, he did still manage to try to justify the wrongdoing of Fox News. Murdoch explained that the network was “treating it as news that the president and his lawyers were saying this.” Erik Wemple of The Washington Post believes that though Murdoch’s admission is worrisome, it’s not enough to sink the case.
He explained that Murdoch’s words are “likely to have a marginal impact on Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News.” Wemple also added that “U.S. defamation law requires a lot more than an embarrassing post hoc admission by a network mogul.” However, in the filing, Dominion accuses Murdoch of colluding with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner to throw the election by giving him confidential network information about Biden’s campaign ads and debate strategy.
Apple MacBook Air Laptop
The M1 chip delivers 3.5x faster performance than the previous generation all while using way less power. Get up to 18 hours of battery life.
The evidence they allegedly used to prove it remains under seal. According to Jeremy W. Peters, a correspondent for the New York Times, the proof that’s apparently mounting against Fox News may be too much too overcome. In their defense, Fox News stated in its own filings that it has never supported Sidney Powell or Rudy Giuliani’s (Trumps’s lawyers) in their election-fraud claims. They network also insisted that its hosts didn’t know it was false information.
However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) have sent a letter to Murdoch asking him to stop Fox hosts from “spreading false election narratives,” stating it could possibly lead to “further acts of political violence.” This kind of pressure turns the heat up on action being taken, though this isn’t the first time that Fox News has thrown rocks and attempted to hide their hands.
We saw the same type of behavior following the Buffalo mass shooting year, in which 10 Black people were killed in a supermarket during a racist attack. The gunman wrote a “manifesto” which used the white supremacist “great replacement” theory as the reason for the unspeakable violence. It states that white people are being “replaced” through immigration policies, an increase in birth rates and other social factors.
Fox News host, Tucker Carlson of Tucker Carlson Tonight, regularly regurgitated this racist rhetoric on his platform. The New York Times deemed the program as possibly “the most racist show in the history of cable news—and also, by some measures, the most successful.” However, when confronted with the reality that he played a part in the Buffalo shooting, Carlson quickly distanced himself from it.
Even though he has mentioned “great replacement” theory numerous times on his show—which began in 2016—Carlson insisted that the “mainfesto” was a “rambling pastiche of slogans and internet memes” and the “product of a diseased and disorganized mind.” On the contrary, academic research has implied that Fox News coverage is racially biased and heightens prejudice and racial resentment.
From pushing “great replacement theory” and “Black-on-Black” crime, Fox News goes out of its way to reinforce racial stereotypes. Even though the network designated Black Lives Matter protestors as lawless looters, those who participated in the January 6 insurrection were painted in a much different light during programs. Carlson, in particular, spent endless hours on air countless hours defending those who joined the Capitol riot and disrespecting politicians who investigated the attack.
For years, Fox News has centered their right-wing viewers by feeding into their hateful and vicious bigotry. In addition, as Politico writer Jack Shafer noted, Murdoch has a history of trying to personally select presidents by “[loading] the Fox payroll with presidential aspirants like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich and Ben Carson.” Shafer also explained that “Murdoch gave Trump the keys to popular shows like Fox & Friends both before his run and after he became president.”
Dominion has a chance to not only take Fox to the cleaners and set the precedence that news networks will be held responsible for spreading lies. The outcome of this lawsuit is vital since lives literally depend on it.