Investigating Fox News News Defamation of Election Fraud: JR. Biden Jr., the Next Presidential Candidate, and the Fox News Correspondence
On election night, Fox News was the first news outlet to declare Joseph R. Biden Jr. The winner of Arizona is expected to become the next president. With Mr. Trump refusing to concede that he had lost, he and his supporters turned against Fox, and the network’s ratings fell. Soon, many of the most popular hosts and shows on Fox began to promote the ridiculous claim that voter fraud was a part of a conspiracy to deny Mr. Trump a second term.
Fox’s lawyers said that the suit was an attempt to punish the network for reporting on one of the biggest stories of the day. The network says it could dissuade journalists in the future from reporting allegations “inconvenient to Dominion—and other companies.”
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.
The most muscular supporter of the accusations of election fraud was on the air. He was no longer working for Fox the day after Smartmatic sued the network for defamation.
Weinstein’s “Crues” Aren’t the “Disguised” Flavor Issues of Fox News
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.
He stated that the person will be removed from the day to day operations of editorial control. Jay Wallace,Fox News’ president and executive editor, is one of the executives whose contracts are being sought.
Nelson cited a document that was obtained from Fox that talked about the daily editorial meeting and how they were looking at almost all of the executives.
David Clark, then the senior executive over Fox’s weekend shows, later said under oath to Dominion’s lawyers that he “would not have allowed that claim to be aired,” had he known this memo was the sole foundation of the “crazy” theories.
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.
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 within the Fox team told NPR that a technical issue in the control room caused the delay in calling the full White House win for Biden.
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.” She told viewers in mid-December that “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. As opposed to an opinion host on the opinion side of Fox, she remains a news anchor, which is what the public now characterizes her as.
In December of 2020, when Trump’s opponents within the government had committed “treason,” it was suggested by Dobbs that any Republican officeholder who upheld Biden’s victory might have been guilty of a crime. After a lawsuit was filed against Fox accusing it of defamation, his departure from the network was immediately announced. That case is not as far along in the process.
The court filing showed that Fox News executives had criticized some of the network’s top talent. Jay Wallace, the network president, said that “the North Koreans” did a “more nuanced show” than then-host Lou Dobbs. Jerry Andrews, the executive producer of “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” referred to host Jeanine Pirro as “nuts.”
Fox News defended its conduct by claiming that the Smartmatic case was an attempt to chill independent reporting and commentary, due to the First Amendment’s importance.
Murdoch’s family currently lives in Australia, where the media magnate and his family have taken differing stances across the globe. 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. The site has to pay out for highly critical commentary several times previously, and now it wants to use the suit as a testing ground for the changes to libel law in that country. Media outlets have less legal cover in Australia than they do here in the U.S.
The fate of the defamation lawsuit against Fox News lies in the hands of a judge who is known for his tough stance.
The judge who presides over the Delaware Superior Court often tries to temper the feelings of the people in the case. 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, who is a criminal defense attorney and has argued before Davis but has no involvement with the case. “In court, he never shows any emotion, and I mean that in a good way.”
Newsmax requested to have Smartmatic’s defamation claim thrown out. Davis ruled that the facts pleaded by Smartmatic lead him to “reasonably infer” that Newsmax’s airing of stolen-election claims was reckless enough to meet the high legal bar required for defamation.
This all appeared in the same memo that claimed Dominion’s software flipped votes from Trump to Biden, and tied the election company to a conspiracy involving Democrats Nancy Pelosi, then the House speaker, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The judge believed that Newsmax knew its statements about Smartmatic’s role in the election-fraud narrative were probably false.
“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 putting too much faith in the Newsmax ruling, but he says Davis is very clear about his position on the law.
A New Jersey appellate court ruling dismisses Fox News’s Smartmatic case for $2.7 billion, but no further comment on the case
Despite the fact that Fox News allowed lies to be promoted on its air regarding the presidential contest, the most prominent stars at the network ridiculed the claims of election fraud.
Smartmatic also has sued Fox for $2.7 billion, but that suit 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 ruling dismissed claims against parent company Fox Corp, saying no cause was stated.
Connolly said there would be an amendment to the complaint that details the involvement of Murdochs.
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 that reporters are protected by the First Amendment but also states that the amendment isn’t 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 are much greater in the two cases. Davis does not want to amplify his profile. (Indeed, his court declined to make a photo of him available for this story.) A hallmark of the Delaware legal bar is an air of comity around proceedings.
In a Feb. 8 court hearing, Davis apologized to the other legal teams in the lawsuit, saying he came off as rude in an email they had sent him.
He put it on his use of the pat phrase. “You know that typical sarcastic thing that judges say?” Davis asked. Don’t tell me I’m wrong, that’s the way to go. It means that I am making a statement. But that wasn’t why I was doing it.”
Fox News had no choice but to turn it on: The case against the right-wing talk channel for the fall of Trump during the 2020 presidential campaign
In another filing made public earlier this month, a trove of messages and emails from the most prominent stars and highest-ranking executives at Fox News showed they had privately ridiculed claims of election fraud in the 2020 election, despite the right-wing channel promoting lies about the presidential contest on its air.
In one set of messages revealed in the court filing, Carlson texted Ingraham, saying that Sidney Powell, an attorney who was representing the Trump campaign, was “lying” and that he had “caught her” doing so. Ingraham responded, “Sidney is a complete nut. Nobody will work with her. Ditto with Rudy [Giuliani].”
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.
The network said there will be noise and confusion, but that the core of the case is the freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution.
After the election, a furious Trump attacked Fox News and encouraged his followers to switch to Newsmax. They did that after the presidential contest was called. Fox News shed a chunk of its audience while Newsmax gained significant viewership.
The hosts were so alarmed by Newsmax’s rise, they were enraged when their colleague, White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich, tweeted a mere fact check of Trump’s election lies.
According to CNN, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said that Heinrich was not aware of the efforts by some hosts to get her fired when she read the legal filing.
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 sent messages to 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.”
Fox News Stars: False Claims Against Dominion and Staple Street Capital Partners During a Coverup of the Opportunist Conjecture
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 called the conspiracy “mind-blowingly nuts” and ” totally off the rails” when they were not on air.
It’s remarkable how weak ratings make good journalists do bad things, according to a private letter by the network’s Washington Managing Editor. The hit to Fox News’ brand was felt by network executives above him. There was no apparent concern about the journalistic values of fairness and accuracy.
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 Call to Fox News: Donald Trump’s January 6 Attack on the US Capitol came under attack, but Fox News didn’t Arrigate
A few days after the election, a friend of Bret Baier’s texted: “There is no evidence of fraud.” None. Allegations – stories. Twitter. Bulls—.”
His departure was termed a retirement by Fox News, as per the terms of his departure, and he declined to speak about it.
Donald Trump tried to call into Fox News, but the network refused because his supporters attacked the US Capitol in January 2021, according to court documents.
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 wanted to gather information on Trump’s movements, actions, and phone calls 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.
“The afternoon of January 6, after the Capitol came under attack, then-President Trump dialed into Lou Dobbs’ show attempting to get on air,” Dominion lawyers wrote in their legal brief.
“But Fox executives vetoed that decision,” Dominion’s filing continued. “Why? No, it’s not because of lack of newsworthiness. January 6 was an important event by any measure. President Trump not only was the sitting President, he was the key figure that day.”
Executives and hosts were terrified that telling the truth would prompt them to tune out, which is why the network allowed lies to take hold of its air.
Fox News executives were panicked behind the scenes. Newsmax was described as troubling by the Fox News president, who said that the network needed to be on war footing.
The host said that he had spoken to Scott. 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.
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.
A woman who says the wind talks to her and put forth claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential race that she admitted were “pretty wackadoodle” turns out to be a key source of allegations that Fox News presented, night after night, to millions of viewers late that fall.
Powell was invited to appear on Bartiromo’s show the next day, in which she was encouraged to come forward with her claims of fraud. Bartiromo said to Powell that they had talked about the software. “I know that there were voting irregularities. Tell me 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 filed a lawsuit against Fox News for defamation after they aired false claims of 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. According to local officials, Scalia died of a heart attack in Texas, a favorite of many Fox News hosts.
The woman said that Murdoch and Ailes huddle most days to decide how to portray Trump as badly as possible. By the time the woman wrote her memo, Ailes had been dead for more than three years.
Who am I? And how do I know all of this?… The woman wrote that she had had the strangest dreams since she was a child. “I was internally decapitated, and yet, I live.”
Fox News Comes Down to Fox: Tucker Carlson Educates Joe Hannity on the “SIDney’s Corner” of the Post-Election Era
In a deposition conducted nearly two years later, Hannity said he did not believe the entire narrative that Sidney was pushing.
During a conversation with one of Trump’s sons Bartiromo said she had endorsed the information in the memo.
Even though senior executives doubted Bartiromo, they didn’t deter them from rebroadcasting her program hours later.
Bartiromo shared the memo with a senior producer and top booker, who was one of the many people who got the memo.
The legal filing states that Grossberg told the lawyers that it was not a good idea to use it for air at the time. Tucker Carlson has a senior producer and booker named Grossberg.
Two days after the fateful Bartiromo appearance, Powell turned up on Fox’s air once more, this time on Ingraham’s primetime Fox News show. Powell said there was evidence that hundreds of thousands of votes had been injected into the computer systems.
She didn’t. Republican and Democrat state and local officials fought over her claims. Trump administration election integrity officials and some Fox News journalists did the same. No matter. Powell appeared on Fox News and the Fox Business Network a lot, and often 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 a lot of requests, polite requests. Not a page. She told us to stop contacting her when we kept pressing.
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.”
If the core engine of America’s democracy were to be destroyed it wouldn’t hurt the Murdoch family because they would have an audience and increase their stock.
Haley, the U.N. ambassador and the daughter of an Indian immigrant whose father was an educator and a professor at South Carolina, and the case against Fox News
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 after immigrating to South Carolina, earned a master’s degree in education and became a local public-school teacher. Her father was a biology professor at Voorhees College for over two decades after he earned a doctorate from the University of British Columbia. On the side, they even opened a clothing boutique.
It was a big blow for Fox as well as the First Amendment because of the recent revelations, said renowned First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams.
“It’s a major blow,” attorney Floyd Abrams of Pentagon Papers fame said, adding that the “recent revelations certainly put Fox in a more precarious situation” in defending against the lawsuit on First Amendment grounds.
This article appeared in theReliable Sources newsletter. Sign up for the daily digest chronicling the evolving media landscape here.
The evidence collected in the defamation case against Fox was enormous, according to RonNell Andersen Jones, a professor and media law scholar at the University of Utah.
Tushnet said that in all of her years practicing and teaching law, she had never seen such damning evidence collected in the pre-trial phase of a defamation suit. “I don’t recall anything comparable to this,” Tushnet said. Donald Trump seems to have good ability to create unprecedented situations.
David Korzenik, an attorney who teaches First Amendment law and represents many media organizations, said that the filing showed that the case against Fox News has serious teeth.
“This is a pretty staggering brief,” Jones said. “Dominion’s filing here is unique not just as to the volume of the evidence but also as to the directness of the evidence and the timeline of the evidence.”
Murdoch: On-air talk host positions about the election and Fox executives’ obligations to stop censoring of lying programs, as reported by Murdoch
“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 us to be stronger in denouncing it, in hindsight,” he added.
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.”