Dominion Voting Systems: Why the Fox News Executives Left Arizona After the Early 2020 Campaign: Evidence in Delaware Superior Court Against Fox News
Even so, top executives strategized about how to make it up to their viewers – among Trump’s strongest supporters – after Fox News’ election-night team correctly called the pivotal state of Arizona for Democratic nominee Joe Biden before other networks. A sense of desperation pervades the private notes from Fox’s top stars, reflecting an obsession with collapsing ratings.
Text messages, emails and testimony from depositions and discovery contained in a recently released legal filing in Delaware state court by Dominion Voting Systems can be found in the Fox News text messages and emails. It is part of the company’s lawsuit against Fox News for broadcasting what it allegedly knew were false claims that Dominion machines helped to rig the 2020 election. The cynicism they reveal is amazing.
Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis made a ruling yesterday regarding the contracts, the topic of Tuesday’s hearing.
Nelson told the hearing that senior Fox News executives tried to prevent Trump’s campaign attorneys from having Lou and Maria Bartiromo repeat their lies on their shows. Those allegations were made in late 2020 by Trump’s advocates.
Keller drew a line between a host and a producer who are pre-scripting material for the show and a network executive who is not involved in it.
Fox News executives were so worried about their audience protesting that they tried to impress MyPillow’s CEO with an overture.
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 the high legal bar of actual malice, defined in that 1964 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving The New York Times, Dominion has to show Fox acted either with knowledge that what it was broadcasting to the public was false, or that it acted with reckless disregard of the truth.
The fear of the audience abandoning Fox News made the programming decisions to be more cautious. Alex Pfeiffer told the host in the days after the election that a lot of viewers were upset they didn’t cover election fraud. It’s all our viewers care about right now.”
Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Corporation, acknowledged in a deposition taken by Dominion Voting Systems that some Fox News hosts endorsed false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
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 hastily announced the day after another election software company, Smartmatic, filed its own $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox for defamation surrounding similarly false accusations of fraud. That case is not at the initial point of the process.
Dominion’s legal team asked the court to compel additional testimony from Pirro late last month, arguing that after Fox invoked a reporter’s privilege to shield her from some questions during her deposition. A ruling on whether to return for questioning has not been released.
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.
► Murdoch said it was “wrong” for Tucker Carlson to host conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell after the election. When asked why he continued to allow the MyPillow CEO to continue appearing on Fox News, Murdoch signaled it was a business decision. “It is not red or blue, it is green,” he said. Murdoch admitted what actually guides coverage at Fox News.
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. Media outlets have less legal cover in Australia than they do here in the U.S.
The Path to Chaos in America: Joe Biden’s Complaint to the Electoral Collider on the Washington Post-Newton Paper
President Joe Biden, just days before the crucial midterm elections, stood before the country on Wednesday from Washington’s Union Station and delivered a dire warning.
There are candidates running for every level of office in America, but they will not accept the results of the elections that they are running in, Biden said. “This is the path to chaos in America. It’s unprecedented. It is against the law. And it is not American.
The line in the speech that was broadcasted by cable news but ignored by the broadcast networks is not a matter of opinion. It does not include any political spin. It is a tragic fact.
A version of the article appeared in theReliable Sources newsletter. Sign up for the daily digest chronicling the evolving media landscape here.
What Do We Really Know About Presidential Elections? The Media Monologue of Rupert Murdoch and the Trump-DeSantis Scenario
Only 41% of Republicans have confidence that US elections reflect the will of the people, a CNN poll conducted by SSRS and published Wednesday found. A staggering 66% of Republicans continue to say that they do not believe Biden was the legitimate winner of the 2020 elections.
It is difficult to comprehend why so many Americans do not trust US elections without understanding the information universe in which they reside. The right-wing media landscape is dominated by bad-faith television hosts and websites that make up lies about the elections process.
There is no denying the election in a free society. It’s called free speech. You’re allowed to say it if you think it, period,” Carlson said. “And yet our media, which exists to defend free speech, is doing its best, day after day, to shut it down. How dare you raise questions about the exams? Why are they telling you that? It’s ominous.”
Carlson’s rhetoric is easy to dismiss as fringe. To say that he is a radical cable news talker who does not reflect the larger right-wing media universe in which Republicans mostly get their news.
And it is understandable why some people choose to ignore it. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that so many Americans — neighbors, friends, family members — are being radicalized by extreme voices who are wrestling for control of the Republican Party.
But doing so would be to ignore the forces allowing a cancer to grow in our society. And for news organizations, ignoring the toxicity that defines the right-wing media universe leaves readers and viewers without a complete picture of what is happening in the country.
Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who controls some of the most powerful organs in conservative media, appeared to make clear Wednesday that he would prefer to cast aside former President Donald Trump in favor of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the leader of the Republican party.
Newt Gingrich said on “Fox & Friends” that he thinks the single biggest winner of the night will be Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, adding that he will “almost certainly become the rallying point for everybody in the Republican Party who wants to move beyond President Trump.”
The home page of Fox News also prominently featured a column by conservative commentator Liz Peek that declared DeSantis “the new leader of the Republican Party.” Fox News said it was a new era.
And The Wall Street Journal, the broadsheet owned by Murdoch, the newspaper’s conservative editorial board published a piece proclaiming the “DeSantis Florida tsunami.”
“There’s little doubt that his Florida success will grab the attention of voters outside the Sunshine State,” the editorial board wrote. “You can bet Donald J. Trump was watching—unhappily.”
► Murdoch asked Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott to have Hannity say “something supportive” about Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham ahead of the 2020 election. Murdoch stated that they cannot lose the Senate. In other words, Murdoch was directing the head of his talk network to help the GOP. Again, this type of directive from an executive would be a major scandal at an actual news network.
Maggie Haberman, a reporter at The New York Times and CNN political analyst, reported recently in her bestselling book that after the 2020 election Murdoch remarked of Trump, “We should throw this guy over.”
Murdoch floated the idea of having Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham appear together in prime time to declare Biden the victor of the election, as revealed in the messages.
The Trump campaign attorney was called a bit nuts by Ingraham. 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 court document offered the most vivid picture to date of the chaos that transpired behind the scenes at Fox News after Trump lost the election and viewers rebelled against the right-wing channel for accurately calling the contest in Biden’s favor.
“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.
Why? Money is the obvious reason. There is power. Fame. These are temptations for all of us. But the answer goes deeper. Fox News became a juggernaut not simply by being “Republican,” or “conservative,” but by offering its audience something it craved even more deeply: representation. journalism is not journalism because it is centered on representation
Carlson said that he wished to get her fired. “Seriously … what the f**k? I’m actually shocked … It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company.”
A person with direct knowledge of the matter told CNN that Heinrich was blindsided reading the details in the legal filing and was not aware of the efforts by top hosts behind the scenes to get her fired.
Senior Fox News leadership was warned of a brand threat when host Neil Cavuto cut away from the White House press briefings where election misinformation was being promoted.
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 said that the brand needed to be rebuilt.
On the Corrupt Media Controversy of the FOX News Network, and Why Dominion’s Claims are Rather Claimed at Fools
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
Off the air, the network’s stars, producers and executives expressed contempt for those same conspiracies, calling them “mind-blowingly nuts,” “totally off the rails” and “completely bs” – often in far earthier terms.
The messages showed that the right-wing media mocked the lies being pushed by Trump’s camp.
The network’s Washington Managing Editor, privately wrote at the time that it’s remarkable how weak ratings make journalists do bad things. Network executives above him stewed over the hit to Fox News’ brand among its viewers. There was no apparent concern about fairness and accuracy in the journalistic values, other than some inquiries from Murdoch.
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.
The Rise of Newsmax: Sean Hannity Became Contaminants after the December 2020 Capitol Attack and the Fox News Commission is on War footing
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. There is a page on the social networking website, 140 characters at a time. Bulls—.”
Sammon declined to discuss the terms of his departure, which was called a retirement by Fox News.
According to the court papers, Donald Trump tried to call Fox News after the attack on the US Capitol in January 2021, but the network wouldn’t put him on air.
The source said that the committee did not know that Trump had made the call.
The panel sought to piece together a near minute-by-minute account of Trump’s movements, actions and phone calls on that day. Some of the gaps in the record can be seen in his call to Fox News.
After the Capitol came under attack, President Trump called into Lou Dobbs’ show and tried to get it on the air, according to the lawyers who filed the brief.
“But Fox executives vetoed that decision,” Dominion’s filing continued. “Why? Not due to lack of newsworthiness. January 6 is considered to be an important event. President Trump was the key figure in that day’s events.
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 were panicked behind the scenes. Jay Wallace said that Newsmax was troubling and that the network needed to be on war footing.
The damage was done after one debate and a week after the election, according to Sean Hannity.
The hosts were so concerned by the rise of Newsmax that they were angry when their colleague, the White House correspondent, sent a fact check on Trump.
► Murdoch responded to one email from Ryan by telling him that Sean Hannity had “been privately disgusted by Trump for weeks, but was scared to lose viewers.” In other words, Hannity, who always claims to say the same things on camera as when he’s off camera, was not being up front with his loyal audience for fear they’d rebel against him.
When Lindell appeared on Newsmax and criticized Fox News, executives at Fox News “exchanged worried emails about alienating him,” the legal filing said. The filing added that Scott then sent him a handwritten note along with a gift.
Powell was invited to appear on Bartiromo’s show the next day and be encouraged to present her fraud claims once more. “We’ve talked about the Dominion software,” Bartiromo said to Powell on her show, Sunday Morning Futures. “I know that there were voting irregularities. Tell me something about that.
The existence of the memo, its author and her role in the broadcasts of Fox were exposed in a legal brief 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.
A woman who was not named in the legal brief said she knew that Antonin Scalia had been killed during a hunting expedition at an elite social club. The local officials in Texas where Scalia died said he died of a heart attack.
The woman claimed the founder of Fox Corporation and the late Fox News chairman secretly huddle most days to decide how badly to portray Mr. Trump. By the time the woman wrote her memo, Ailes had been dead for more than three years.
Who am I? What do I know about this? The woman wrote that she has had strange dreams since she was a little girl. “I was internally decapitated, and yet, I live.”
Tucker Carlson and the Murdoch Family: Defending Dominion’s Voting Fraud on Fox Business Network, Fox News, and Fox News
“[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.
Bartiromo said that she had told one of Trump’s sons that she had endorsed the information in the memo.
Even though senior executives were skeptical of Bartiromo, they didn’t stop her from airing it that day or 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.
Asked about it under oath by Dominion’s attorneys late last summer, Grossberg said the memo “isn’t something that I would use right now as reportable for air, no,” according to the legal filings. Grossberg is now a senior producer and top booker for Fox’s Tucker Carlson.
Powell appeared again on Fox’s air two days later, this time on Ingraham’s show. Hundreds of thousands of votes being injected into the computer systems repeatedly are shown in computer evidence by Powell.
She didn’t. Republican and Democratic state and local officials disagreed with her claims. So did Trump administration election integrity officials – as did some Fox News journalists. No matter. Powell appeared on Fox News and Fox Business Network often, with many of the hosts implicating Dominion.
Of Fox’s main opinion stars, only Tucker Carlson directly challenged Powell on the air during the post-election season. “We took her seriously,” Carlson told viewers on Nov. 19, 2020. She never sent us any evidence, despite our requests. Not a page. When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.”
Carlson invited the founder of MyPillow to his show three weeks after the siege in the U.S. Capitol which Trump supporters were attempting to block congressional certification of Biden’s win.
Carlson gave Lindell plenty of time to make wild claims about Twitter, the media, and Dominion. They don’t want to talk about voting fraud but Lindell dared them to file a lawsuit, saying he had the evidence.
Yup, Fox hosts and the Murdoch family were OK with discrediting the core engine of America’s democracy — our ability to peacefully and legitimately transfer power — if it would hold their audience and boost their stock.
The Fox Story of a Successful South Carolina Governor, Ajit Raj, and her father Ajit: Embracing a Public Interest in the Trump Era
I’ve never met Haley, but from afar it seemed that she had a reasonably good story to tell — a successful South Carolina governor from 2011 to 2017, Trump’s first U.N. ambassador and the daughter of Indian immigrants. Her mother Raj studied law at the University of New Delhi and went on to become a local public-school teacher. Her father, Ajit, earned a doctorate from the University of British Columbia and then taught as a biology professor at Voorhees College for 29 years. On the side, they even opened a clothing boutique.
And Fox takes those calls. In the time before Donald Trump, I spent my share of moments in Fox green rooms and pitching stories to Fox producers. They are more interested in religious liberty stories than mainstream media outlets are. I knew they loved human-interest stories about virtuous veterans and cops. Sometimes this was good — we need more coverage of religion in America, for example — but over time Fox morphed into something well beyond a news network.
“Some of our commentators were endorsing it,,” Murdoch said, according to the filing, when asked about the talk hosts’ on-air positions about the election. I would have liked for us to be stronger in condemning it.
Rebecca Tushnet, the Frank Stanton Professor of First Amendment Law at Harvard Law School, described Dominion’s evidence as a “very strong” filing that “clearly lays out the difference between what Fox was saying publicly and what top people at Fox were privately admitting.”
In the pre- trial phase of defamation suits, Tushnet said she had never seen such damning evidence.
Murdoch’s Fox News Insider Look: Damning Falsehoods During the 2016 Presidential Primary Campaign by the Trump-Biden Campaign
In his deposition, Mr. Dinh, when asked if Fox executives had an obligation to stop hosts of shows from broadcasting lies, said: “Yes, to prevent and correct known falsehoods.”
In the wake of the election, Murdoch wrote in an email to the New York Post’s Col Allan, describing election lies that Trump was pushing as “bulls**t and damaging.”
Murdoch gave Trump’s son-in-law a preview of Joe Biden’s ads before they were made public, a filing said. The type of action that would result in the investigation is most news organizations.
The documents lay bare that the channel’s business model is not based on informing its audience, but rather on feeding them content — even dangerous conspiracy theories — that keeps viewers happy and watching.