Meet the judge who is involved in the Fox News case

A lawsuit against Dominion of Fox News in the wake of its confirmation of election fraud by Donald J. Biden and Robert A. Scott

Fox has dismissed both suits as efforts to stifle legitimate coverage of inherently newsworthy allegations – election fraud – made by inherently newsworthy people – including the then-sitting U.S. president and his top campaign advisers. Fox never did back down from its projection of Arizona for Biden, its original sin in the eyes of Trump and his campaign. Some Fox stars served up rhetoric and challenged the validity of Biden’s pending certification as viewers abandoned the network for harder-edged fare.

Scott’s comments in court on Tuesday that Dominion’s legal team is entitled to receive employment contracts from 13 Fox News executives were revealed by Nelson, the company’s attorney. She has served as CEO since 2018. The network’s parent company was also sued by Dominion.

In a ruling yesterday, Judge Eric M. Davis affirmed that Dominion should receive the contracts.

Fox News CEOs and Hosts Refused from Advising Trump on Election Fraud and Implications for the Public Interest and the Dominion

Despite what appeared on air, Fox News executives and hosts privately criticized the Trump camp for pushing claims of election fraud, the messages showed. Hannity even said Giuliani was “acting like an insane person” and Ingraham described him as “an idiot.” It was a bad idea for Giuliani to be advising Trump.

In his exchanges with the judge, Keller drew a line distinguishing between a host or producer “who are sometimes pre-scripting material for the show, that is going to be tethered to a specific channel’s telecast” and a network executive.

Meanwhile, fixated on the erosion of viewers to smaller right-wing rivals, Fox News executives purged senior journalists who were fixated on reflecting the facts. In a note to the network’s top publicity executive, Fox News CEO Scott denounced Sammon, the former Washington managing editor. Scott wrote Sammon did not understand “the impact to the brand and the arrogance” in projecting Arizona for Biden, saying it was Sammon’s job “to protect the brand.”

Nelson, the Dominion attorney, retorted by citing a document obtained from Fox that “talks about the daily editorial meeting that occurs, including almost all of these executives that we’re looking at right now.”

Fox denied that it knowingly allowed false conspiracy theories to air on its programs because of the Arizona call, but that appears to have been the case.

The high legal bar ofactual malice is defined by the 1964 U.S. Supreme Court decision in which The NewYorkTimes was found to have acted recklessly and with malice in broadcasting false information to the public.

No one at Fox would directly comment on Baker and Glasser’s assertions, other than Baier, who released a statement taking some issue with how his objections were framed. One person inside Fox with direct knowledge of its election coverage told NPR the delay in calling the full White House win for Biden involved a technical glitch in a control room as one show transitioned to the next at the top of the hour.

In hosting Fox’s first post-election interview with Trump that November, Bartiromo echoed Trump’s disproven allegations of electoral fraud, saying, “This is disgusting, and we cannot allow America’s election to be corrupted.” An intel source told her that Trump had won the election. Bartiromo, officially designated as a news anchor, never returned to explain on what grounds the source made that statement. (Fox no longer publicly characterizes her as an anchor, which had rooted her in the news side of Fox, as opposed to an opinion host.)

In December 2020, Dobbs contended on the air that Trump’s opponents within the government had committed “treason,” and later suggested any action by a Republican officeholder to uphold Biden’s victory might have been “criminal.” His departure from the network was immediately announced one day after another election software company, Smartmatic, filed a huge defamation lawsuit against Fox for false accusations of fraud. That case isn’t even as far along as before.

The court filing also revealed that Fox News executives had criticized some of the network’s top talent behind the scenes. The president of the network said that the North Koreans did a “more nuanced show” than Lou Dobbs did. Jerry Andrews, the executive producer of “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” referred to host Jeanine Pirro as “nuts.”

Fox News stated that there will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by the private equity owners. “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.”

Fox Corp CEO and Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch has taken a seemingly conflicting stance halfway across the globe in Australia, where the media magnate and his family now live. A political columnist for the magazine Crikey accused the Murdochs of being “unindicted co-conspirators” in the insurrection at the U.S. Congress by Trump supporters because of the false fraud allegations and the hyper-charged rhetoric ahead of the planned rally.

In that case, Murdoch is accusing a much smaller media outlet of defamation. He has forced the site to pay out for highly critical commentary several times previously; Crikey says it intends to use the suit as a test case for recent changes in libel law in that country. Legal cover for media outlets in Australia is less than in the U.S.

The fate of a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News lies, for the moment, in the hands of a plainspoken judge known for his unflinching poker face.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis, a 12-year veteran of the state’s bench and former corporate attorney, has often sought to temper emotions in the contentious proceedings between the broadcasting giant and Dominion Voting Systems, a voting-technology company. Each side repeatedly has accused the other of acting in bad faith.

“If he were to be given a name in culture, it would be Cool Hand Luke,” says Joseph Hurley, a criminal defense attorney based in Wilmington who has argued before Davis but has no involvement with the case. He never shows any emotion, and that’s a really good thing.

Newsmax wanted to throw out Smartmatic’s defamation claim. Davis ruled that Smartmatic’s facts led him to infer that Newsmax’s airing of stolen- election claims was reckless enough to meet the high legal bar required for defamation.

Like Dominion, Smartmatic was the subject of false claims that its software had switched Trump votes to Joe Biden. Newsmax, Fox News and others broadcast the claims.

“Newsmax either knew the statements were false, or at least had a high degree of awareness that it was not,” the judge stated.

“It seems pretty clear to me that [the judge] was not having any of the Newsmax arguments – and nor should he have, by the way,” says John Culhane, a professor at Delaware Law School.

Culhane cautions against drawing too strong a conclusion from the Newsmax ruling and says that Davis is very clear when it comes to the law.

In its defense against Dominion, Fox News’ legal team argues that the network merely relayed questions to a newsmaker on newsworthy subjects, or that it reported on pending allegations. Attorneys for Fox and Newsmax say that Trump was the most well-known person of the 21st century.

Smartmatic has sued Fox for more than $2 billion, but that is not as far along as Dominion’s. On Tuesday, a New York state appellate court rejected Fox News’ motion to have the Smartmatic case against the network and several of its stars dismissed. The claims against parent company Fox Corp were dismissed because no cause was stated.

Connolly said that an amended complaint would detail the involvement of Murdoch and his sons.

Much like Fox’s lawyers in New York and Delaware, Newsmax’s attorneys similarly cite a legal privilege, known as neutral reportage, allowing it to present “unprecedented allegations without adopting them as true, so that the public could draw its own conclusions” about “a news story of extraordinary public interest.”

He notes the First Amendment protects reporters in order to guarantee a robust and unintimidated press, but also states that the First Amendment is not unlimited. He said a neutral reportage principle does not protect a publisher who “deliberately distorts” statements to “launch a personal attack of [its] own on a public figure.”

The stakes cannot be greater in the two cases. Yet Davis does not seek to amplify his own profile. (Indeed, his court declined to make a photo of him available for this story.) And the judge has repeatedly sought to ensure an air of comity around the proceedings, a hallmark of the Delaware legal bar.

In a Feb. 8 court hearing in Dominion’s suit against Fox, Davis apologized to the rival legal teams, saying he had been surprised to re-read an email in which he said he came off as snarky.

He pinned it on his use of a pat phrase. “That’s a typical sarcastic thing judges say?” Davis asked if he could. “‘Tell me if I’m wrong…’ Which means, don’t tell me I’m wrong. It means that I am making a statement. That wasn’t the reason I was doing it.

Fox News, Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham: The Case of Murdoch and the Right-Wing Talk Channel, and the Problem with the Fox News Channel

The messages also revealed that Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Corporation, did not believe Trump’s election lies and even floated the idea of having Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham appear together in prime time to declare Joe Biden as the rightful winner of the election.

He called Powell a bit nuts. Carlson, who famously demanded evidence from Powell on the air, privately used a vulgar epithet for women to describe her. A top network programming executive wrote privately that he did not believe the shows of Carlson, Hannity and Jeanine Pirro were credible sources of news.

The material presented in the brief indicates that there was no doubt about the validity of the election fraud allegations and that some Fox figures gave the most intensive embrace to those who peddled those lies.

“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,” the network said.

Trump encouraged his followers to switch to Newsmax, after he attacked Fox News. And, in the days and weeks after the presidential contest had been called, they did just that. Fox News shed a chunk of its audience while Newsmax gained significant viewership.

Fox News executives and hosts expressed concern about how the election was being covered by the network, which started to crack down on those who fact-checked the issue. Carlson wanted the White House correspondent to be fired after she fact-checked Trump’s election fraud comments.

A person with direct knowledge of the situation told CNN that top hosts were trying to get her fired and that she was not aware of it.

In another case, when host Neil Cavuto cut away from a White House press briefing where election misinformation was being promoted, senior Fox News leadership were told such a move presented a “brand threat.”

Scott outlined a plan to win back viewers after exchanging messages with Murdoch. Scott said that the right-wing talk channel would highlight our stars and plant flags letting the viewers know that they are heard and respected. Murdoch responded that the brand needed “rebuilding without any missteps.”

The New Fox News Stars: Why Weak Ratings Make Good News Editors False ClaimsTrump Election 2020 — an Associated Reporter

Jason Koerner/Getty Images; Jason Koerner/Getty Images; Carolyn Kaster/AP; Alex Brandon/AP; Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images; Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

The network’s stars, producers and executives were not happy about the conspiracy, calling them “mind-blowingly nuts,” “just completely bs,” and ” totally off the rails.”

“It’s remarkable how weak ratings make good journalists do bad things,” the network’s Washington Managing Editor privately wrote on December 2, 2020. Network executives above him stewed over the hit to Fox News’ brand among its viewers. There wasn’t any apparent concern over journalistic values of fairness and accuracy other than some inquiries from the Fox Corp founder.

In a separate filing, also released to the public on Thursday, the cable network’s attorneys say Dominion’s ten-figure request for damages is designed to “generate headlines” and to enrich the company’s controlling owner, the private equity fund Staple Street Capital Partners.


No Evidence of Corrupt Action on Twitter During the Second Reionization of the Iraqi Referendum to Prime Minister Alexis Sergei

Baier, the network’s political anchor, told a friend that there was no evidence of fraud after the election. There were none. Allegations – stories. There is a account on the social networking website, Bulls—.”

Sammon refused to comment on his departure due to the terms of his departure.

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