Fox News for Biden: Defaming Fox News Against the Fox News Critique of 2016 Arizona Referendum and Election Corruptcy
Joe Biden’s victory caused Fox News personalities to all but melt down on the air. There was a crisis in the private conversations of network executives and stars. Fox viewers abandoned the network after they became the first in the country to forecast that Biden would win the state of Arizona.
The lawsuit, filed in March of 2021, accuses Fox News of recklessly ignoring the truth and furthering pro- Trump conspiracy theories because they were good for the network.
In a ruling yesterday, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis affirmed that Dominion should receive the contracts – the point of contention in Tuesday’s hearing.
Powell, the Trump lawyer, was the first person to be interviewed by Maria Bartiromo after the election. Powell was one of Trump’s most fervent legal advocates. Bartiromo admitted in her deposition that Powell’s claims lacked any evidence.
Keller pointed out to the judge that there is a line between a host and a network executive who may be pre-scripting material for the show.
Executives at Fox were so worried about their audience protesting the channel that Scott, the network chief executive, even made an overture to MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a prominent Fox News advertiser and election conspiracy theorist.
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.”
Dominion appears to be drilling down on its argument – hotly disputed by Fox – that the network’s executives knowingly allowed such false conspiracies to air on its programs to boost their audiences – because their pro-Trump viewers abandoned them after the Arizona call.
Under U.S. Supreme Court rulings, Dominion has to prove Fox demonstrated “actual malice” to win a defamation case. That means either knowingly broadcasting false and damaging information, or doing so with reckless disregard for the truth.
The programming decisions seemed to be caused by the fear of Fox News’ audience abandoning it. In the days following the election, Alex Pfeiffer, a Carlson producer, told the host, “Many viewers were upset tonight that we didn’t cover election fraud …. Right now, it is all our viewers care about.
This is disgusting and we cannot allow our elections to be corrupted, said Bartiromo in the first interview with Trump since Election Day.
After the January 6 insurrection, Fox Business canceled the show in which they had promoted baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
In recent weeks, Dominion has argued that Fox host Jeanine Pirro – a former district attorney and New York state judge as well as a Trump confidant – sits at the heart of its case. NPR revealed that an anguished email from a Fox News producer begging colleagues to keep Pirro off the air because she was spreading rumors about election fraud on the internet.
Fox News has repeatedly defended its conduct by invoking the importance of American free speech principles bound up in the First Amendment, saying the Smartmatic and Dominion cases are attempts to chill independent reporting and commentary.
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 columnist for the magazine pointed out that Murdochs were “unindicted co-conspirators” in the insurrection at the U.S. Congress by Trump supporters because of the false fraud allegations.
Murdoch is accusing a smaller media outlet of defaming him. 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. Media outlets have less legal cover in Australia than they do here in the U.S.
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.
Ingraham called Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell “a bit nuts.” Carlson used a profanity for women to describe her. A network programming executive wrote that he did not think the shows of Carlson and Jeanine Pirro were credible sources of news.
The messages were contained in a stunning legal filing made public on Thursday as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News, showing the network’s executives and talk hosts privately trashing lies pushed by former President Donald Trump’s camp and his supporters asserting the 2020 election was rigged.
The network said there will be a lot of noise but the core of the case remains about freedom of the press and free speech, which are protected by the Constitution.
After the election, a furious Trump attacked Fox News and encouraged his followers to switch to Newsmax. In the days and weeks after the presidential contest had ended, they did that. Newsmax gained viewers while Fox News lost a lot of them.
“Please get her fired,” Carlson told Hannity. That’s right; what the f**k? I’m actually shocked. It should stop immediately, like tonight. It’s hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.”
A person with knowledge of the situation told CNN that Heinrich was not aware that the top hosts were trying to get her fired.
Fox News host Neil Cavuto was attacked by colleagues for pulling his show away from a presentation by then White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany in which she made unfounded claims of fraud once more. McConnell is a host on Fox News.
Scott exchanged messages with Lachlan Murdoch, the Fox Corporation chief executive, and outlined a plan to win viewers back. Scott said the right-wing talk channel would “highlight our stars and plant flags letting the viewers know we hear them and respect them.” Murdoch responded that the brand needed “rebuilding without any missteps.”
The Cable News Network in 2020: “Bad, Bad, or Foolish,” or “Difficult”? Fox Corp. and The Washington Post-News Digest
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 stars, producers and executives of the network were contemptuous of the same conspiracies – often saying they were “mind- blowingly nuts” and ” totally off the rails”.
The network’s top primetime stars – Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity – texted contemptuously of the claims in group chats, but also denounced colleagues pointing that out publicly or on television.
“It’s remarkable how weak ratings make… good journalists do bad things,” Bill Sammon, at the time the network’s Washington Managing Editor, privately wrote on Dec. 2, 2020. Network executives above him stewed over the hit to Fox News’ brand among its viewers. Yet there was little apparent concern, other than some inquiries from Fox Corp founder Rupert Murdoch, over the journalistic values of fairness and accuracy.
The cable network’s attorneys said in a separate filing that the ten-figure request for damages is designed to generate headlines and enrich the company’s controlling owner.
Dominion vs Fox News: How President Donald Trump and Sean Hannity Met the FBI and the Capitol Attack on January 6, 2020
On Nov. 5, 2020, just days after the election, Bret Baier, the network’s chief political anchor texted a friend: “[T]here is NO evidence of fraud. None. Allegations – stories. Twitter. Bulls.
His departure was called a retirement by Fox News after two months; however, Sammon declined to speak about that, citing the terms of his departure.
Former President Donald Trump tried to call into Fox News after his supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, but the network refused to put him on air, according to court filings from Dominion Voting Systems in its defamation case against the company.
The House select committee that investigated the January 6 attack did not know that Trump had made this call, according to a source familiar with the panel’s work.
The panel sought to piece together a near minute-by-minute account of Trump’s movements, actions and phone calls on that day. His newly revealed call to Fox News shows some of the gaps in the record that still exist, due to roadblocks the committee faced.
According to their legal brief, President Trump called Lou Dobbs to try to get on the air after the Capitol came under attack.
“But Fox executives vetoed that decision,” Dominion’s filing continued. “Why? Not because of a lack of newsworthiness. The January 6 event was important. President Trump not only was the sitting President, he was the key figure that day.”
But, despite privately acknowledging the realiity of the situation, the network allowed the lies to take hold on its air, in large part because executives and hosts were terrified that telling its sizable audience the truth would prompt them to tune out.
Fox News executives and hosts panicked behind the scenes. Fox News president Jay Wallace said that the surge of Newsmax was troubling and that the network needed to be on war footing.
A week after the election had been called, Sean Hannity told Carlson and Ingraham, “In one week and one debate they destroyed a brand that took 25 years to build and the damage is incalculable.”
The hosts were so concerned about Newsmax rising, they were angry when their colleague, White House correspondent, wrote a fact check about the election.
Hannity said he had already spoken to Scott about the matter. He then proceeded to criticize two of his other colleagues, Fox News host Neil Cavuto and then-Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, both of whom were critical of Trump.
Executives at Fox News were worried about alienating the man when he criticized them on Newsmax. The filing added that Scott then sent him a handwritten note along with a gift.
The very next day, Nov. 8, Bartiromo invited Powell on her show and encouraged her to present her claims of fraud anew. “We’ve talked about the Dominion software,” Bartiromo said to Powell on her show, Sunday Morning Futures. There were voting irregularities that I am aware of. I need to hear about that.
The existence of the memo, its enigmatic author, and her role in Fox’s broadcasts surfaced in a devastating 178-page legal brief filed by Dominion Voting Systems and made public last week by a Delaware court. The election-tech company has sued Fox News for $1.6 billion for defamation over the airing of false claims that it engaged in election fraud.
The woman, who is not named in the legal brief, wrote that she knew the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had been killed during a week-long human hunting expedition at an elite social club. (Scalia, a favorite of many Fox News hosts, died in 2016 of a heart attack, according to local officials in Texas, where he died.)
The woman claimed that the late Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and the Murdoch family huddle most days to plan how to portray Mr. Trump as badly as possible. Ailes had been dead for more than three years when the woman wrote her memo.
“Who am I?” And how do I know all of this?… In the email shared with Bartiromo and Dobbs, a woman wrote that she has had strangest dreams since she was a little girl. “I was internally decapitated, and yet, I live.”
Tucker Carlson’s Visit to the Capitol during the 2020 Presidential Reionization Crisis: A Fox News Observer’s First Contact with Sidney Dominion
“[T]hat whole narrative that Sidney was pushing, I did not believe it for one second,” Hannity said in a deposition conducted nearly two years later by Dominion’s lawyers.
When Powell asked Bartiromo if she endorsed the information in the memo, she replied “Yes, I just spoke to Eric and told him you gave very imp info.”
As Dominion’s lawyers noted, however, such skepticism about Bartiromo from senior executives did not inspire them to block her program that day or from rebroadcasting it hours later.
Bartiromo was not alone in possessing the memo; Dobbs received it too, and Bartiromo had shared that memo with a senior producer and top booker, Abby Grossberg.
According to legal documents, Grossberg said the memo “is not something that I would use right now as reportable for air” when asked about it under oath. Grossberg is now a senior producer and top booker for Fox’s Tucker Carlson.
Powell appeared on the Fox News show again two days after Bartiromo’s appearance, this time on what was called the “Prime Time” show. Powell asserted, “We have demonstrable, statistical and mathematical and computer evidence of hundreds of thousands of votes being injected into the computer systems repeatedly.”
She didn’t. State and local officials did not accept her claims. So did Trump administration election integrity officials – as did some Fox News journalists. No matter. Powell showed up on Fox News and the Fox Business Network airwaves again and again – with Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, and Hannity, often explicitly implicating Dominion.
Tucker Carlson challenged Powell on the air during the post- election season, as one of Fox’s main opinion stars. “We took her seriously,” Carlson told viewers on Nov. 19, 2020. She didn’t send any evidence despite a lot of requests. There is not a page. When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.”
On Jan. 26, 2021, three weeks after the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to block congressional certification of Biden’s win, Carlson invited on one of his main advertisers: Mike Lindell, the founder of MyPillow and a chief proponent of pro-Trump claims of election fraud.
Carlson gave Lindell plenty of time to make wild claims about Twitter, the media, and Dominion. On Carlson’s show, Lindell dared Dominion to sue him, saying he had the evidence of voting fraud but “they don’t want to talk about that.”