Well This Is Awkward: Hosts Hannity, Carlson's Private Views Exposed In Fox/Dominion Election Case

Zinger Key Points
  • Dominion presented evidence Thursday that suggests Fox News hosts privately acknowledged the false nature of the stolen election claims.
  • Private text messages emerged from Fox News’ top journalists and hosts and even Rupert Murdoch himself, acknowledging foul play.

Dominion Voting Systems filed a lawsuit in 2021 against Fox News, which has as its parent company the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp NWSA, claiming the news organization spread false information about the company's voting machines and its role in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

What Happened: The legal battle has taken a new turn, with Dominion presenting evidence Thursday that suggested some Fox News hosts and executives privately acknowledged the false or baseless nature of the stolen election claims promoted by Donald Trump and his team.

According to Dominion’s filing, evidence shows Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, among others, understood the claims of election fraud were without merit but declined to say so publicly.

They apparently feared that doing so could alienate Trump and his supporters and hurt the network's ratings.

Dominion said the motive behind the false narratives was Fox's falling viewership after they correctly called Arizona for Joe Biden, which triggered a backlash among their audience. 

Private text messages emerged from Fox News’ top journalists and hosts and even Murdoch himself acknowledging the issues.

Carlson texted one of his producers "there wasn't enough fraud to change the outcome" of the election, and later said that Sidney Powell, one of Trump's attorneys "is lying," even though Fox News was responsible for misleading the public on meaningful voter fraud.

Fox responded to the lawsuit in 2021 saying, “Fox News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and we will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court."

Earlier in 2020, Murdoch sent an email to staff with the subject, “Watching Guiliani!” as Fox broadcasted a press conference where Rudy Guiliani and Powell took shots at Dominion. “Really crazy stuff. And damaging,” Murdoch wrote.

Why It Matters: Fox wrote in its motion for summary judgment Thursday, “Statements Dominion challenges are not actionable defamation because Fox News' coverage and commentary are not only not defamatory, but also protected by the First Amendment and New York doctrines emanating from it."

"Dominion has come nowhere close to producing the 'clear and convincing' evidence that the relevant individuals at Fox News made or published any challenged statement with actual malice," the motion said, reported ABC.

A spokesperson representing Fox News made contact with Benzinga and provided an official statement: "There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan.”

If the evidence presented by Dominion proves to be true, it would not only raise concerns about the delicate balance between journalistic integrity and commercial interests but also lend support to the growing skepticism that American news media organizations are not fully committed to impartial reporting.

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Photo: Focal Foto via Flickr Creative Commons

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Posted In: GovernmentNewsPoliticsLegalMediaGeneralDominion Voting SystemsDonald TrumpFox NewsJoe BidenRudy GiulianiRupert MurdochSean HannitySidney PowellTucker Carlson
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