Fox News sued Murdoch in a lawsuit against the Fox News network over a teen’s color-broken news coverage of the 2020 presidential race
Murdoch recommended that Bill Sammon, head of the Washington bureau, be fired, despite the fact that Fox accurately predicted the race in Arizona for Biden. The filing said it was possible to let Bill go right away, which would be a big message with the Trump people. Sammon told the inevitable on Nov. 20, 2020.
The network and its parent company were sued separately by the company. The Fox News executives and journalists made the final decisions in the case, the company said.
The judge ruled in favour of the company in the case, which was about whether or not to award the contracts.
Fox Corp. and Fox News Under the Oath: The Case Against Fraud and Oscillation in the Fox Business Network
Under oath, Fox Corp.’s chief legal officer acknowledged that executives in the corporation have an obligation to prevent and correct known falsehoods. The Fox Corp.’s and Fox News’ legal defense is headed by a team of outside lawyers, led by a highly regarded Chicago-based corporate litigator. Some Fox News journalists have been involved with election- fraud claims. The basis for Sidney Powell on the program was questioned by Tucker Carlson. Fox did not correct the record on all of the baseless allegations.
Keller said in his exchanges with the judge that there were two types of people: a host and a network executive who are sometimes pre-scripting material.
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. Scott wrote a note to the network’s top publicity executive, riding him of Sammon. Sammon did not understand the impact to the brand and the arrogance that was used in projecting Arizona for Biden according to Scott.
Nelson used a document obtained from Fox to say that it talks about almost all of the executives that we are looking at right now.
Dominion Voting System’s lawyers would not comment further to NPR. Fox News and parent company Fox Corp. declined to comment on the email. Fox accuses Dominion of misrepresenting the record and cherry-picking quotes without proper context.
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 that Fox News’ audience would abandon it for good also appeared to drive programming decisions. In the days following the election, Alex Pfeiffer, a Carlson producer, told the host, many viewers were upset that they did not cover election fraud. It is all our viewers are interested in right now.
By Nov. 8, Fox Business Network senior vice president Gary Schreier was warning the channel’s president, Lauren Petterson, that Bartiromo “has GOP conspiracy theorists in her ear and they use her for their message sometimes.”
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.” On the day after another election software company, Smartmatic, filed a lawsuit against Fox for defamation, his departure from the network was announced. That case is not as far along in the process.
In recent weeks, they’ve argued that Jeanine Pirro, a former district Attorney and New York state judge, is in fact the heart of the case. NPR previously revealed the existence of an anguished email from a Fox News producer begging colleagues to keep Pirro off the air because she was circulating lies about election fraud from dark corners of the Internet.
Fox News has used the importance of American free speech principles to defend its conduct, saying the Smartmatic case is attempts to chill independent reporting and commentary.
When Shepard Smith accused the administration of lying, Fox News president Jay Wallace called it “Over the top!” and telling them, “Need to chat to him.” Murdoch told Scott that Vittert was a’smug and obnoxious’ reporter for the pro-Trump rally. Murdoch believes the tone should be a celebration of the president.
Murdoch is accusing a 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.
Murdoch, who controls the most powerful organs of the conservative media, made clear Wednesday that he would prefer Donald Trump to be the leader of the Republican party.
“I think Governor DeSantis is the single biggest winner of the night,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on “Fox & Friends,” 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 referred to it as 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.
A person with knowledge of how Murdoch runs the companies told CNN that it wasn’t an accident that his media outlets were focusing on the future of the Republican Party.
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.”
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, who has been on the bench for over a decade, has tried to temper passions during proceedings between the broadcasting giant and the 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 doesn’t show any emotion in court, and that’s a good thing.
Davis earlier this month denied Newsmax’s request to toss out Smartmatic’s defamation claim. Newsmax’s airing of stolen-election claims was reckless enough to meet the high legal bar required for defamation, according to a decision made by Davis.
Like Dominion, Smartmatic was the subject of false claims that its software had switched Trump votes to Joe Biden. Those claims were broadcast on Newsmax, Fox News and elsewhere.
“Here, Smartmatic’s well-pled allegations support the reasonable inference that Newsmax’s reporting was neither accurate nor disinterested/unbiased,” Davis said.
“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.
While Culhane, an authority on defamation law, cautions against drawing too strong a conclusion from the Newsmax ruling, he says Davis “is very clear and he’s very step-by-step when it comes to the law.”
The Fox News Channel, Dominion, and Murdoch: When Donald Trump is lying to the public about election fraud, David A. Davis explains the case in the New York state appellate court
Murdoch knew in the middle of election day that the hosts on his prized Fox News Channel were promoting lies from Donald Trump about election fraud.
Even though Smartmatic is sueing Fox for $2.7 billion, 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 ruling dismissed claims against parent company Fox Corp, saying no cause was stated.
Connolly said an amended complaint would detail the involvement of Murdoch and other Fox leaders.
Newsmax’s lawyers cited neutral reportage, a legal privilege which allows it to present unprecedented allegations without adopting them as true so that the public could draw its own conclusions about a news.
While he notes the First Amendment protects reporters in order to guarantee a “robust and unintimidated press,” he also states 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 in the two cases are nothing short of amazing. Yet Davis does not seek to amplify his own profile. (Indeed, his court declined to make a photo of him available for this story.) An air of comity around the proceedings is 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. “You know that typical sarcastic thing that judges say?” Davis asked. “‘Tell me if I’m wrong…’ Which means, don’t tell me I’m wrong. It means I’m making a statement. That wasn’t the reason I was doing it.
A group of Fox News pundits brutally mocked lies being pushed by the camp of former President Donald Trump, in the messages included in a legal filing.
Carlson sent a message to Ingraham saying Sidney Powell, an attorney with the Trump campaign, was lying and that he had caught her doing so. Ingraham responded, “Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy [Giuliani].”
There were no illusions in the material presented that there were heft to the allegations of election fraud.
The core of the case is about the freedom of the press and free speech, which are protected by the Constitution, the network said.
Trump encouraged his supporters to switch to Newsmax after he attacked Fox News. In the days and weeks after the election, they did that. Fox News shed a chunk of its audience while Newsmax gained significant viewership.
Carlson text messaged that he wanted to get her fired. Really… what the f**k? It should stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company.”
According to a person who has direct knowledge of the situation, top hosts tried to get her fired because she was not reading what was in the legal filing.
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. He is now a host on Fox News.
According to the filing, Fox News chief executive Scott had been wooing the head of MyPillow, a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist. Scott sent Lindell a personal note and a gift in order to get ratings on Fox shows.
Fox News Stars Are False Claims ‘Trump Election 2020’: An Open Letter to Fox Corp President Rupert Murdoch
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 expressed contempt for the same conspiracies, calling them “mind-blowingly nuts”, and ” totally off the rails”, among other things.
Bill Sammon, the network’s Washington Managing Editor, wrote privately on Dec. 2, 2020 that good journalists do bad things. 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.
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.
When Newsmax learned of the Capitol attacks of January 6, 2021, President Donald Trump called in to Fox News to confront the lies that were taking hold after the election
Baier, the network’s political anchor, sent a text to a friend saying that there was no evidence of fraud after the election. None. There are allegations and stories. Twitter. Bulls—.”
His departure two months later was termed a retirement by Fox News; through an intermediary, Sammon has declined to comment on 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 tried to piece together a minute by minute account of Trump’s activities 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, President Trump called in to Lou Dobbs to try to get his program on the air.
Fox executives rejected the decision, according to Dominion’s filing. Why? Not because of a 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.”
Despite acknowledging the realisufficiency of the situation, executives and hosts were terrified to tell the truth to their large audience and that led to the lies taking hold.
Fox News executives and hosts were frantic. Jay Wallace, the Fox News president, described Newsmax’s surge as “troubling” and said the network needed to be “on war footing.”
And Dinh was warning Lachlan Murdoch, Scott and a top deputy that “Hannity is getting awfully close to the line with his commentary and guests tonight.” Murdoch told people to “watch Sean” if Trump refused to concede graciously, and other people wouldn’t sound the same.
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.
“We’ve got evidence of corruption all across the country in countless districts,” Powell told Hannity on Nov. 30, without presenting any evidence. “The machine ran an algorithm that shaved votes from Trump and awarded them to Biden. They used the machines to trash large batches of votes that should’ve been awarded to President Trump. They used machines to add a lot of votes for Mr. Biden.
Murdoch admitted in a deposition that his top hosts were pushing election lies to his audience.
The woman writing the legal brief knew that Antonin Scalia was killed during a 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.)
And the woman asserted that the late Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and Fox Corporation founder Rupert Murdoch “secretly huddle most days to determine how best to portray Mr. Trump as badly as possible.” The woman wrote that Ailes had been dead for more than three years.
“Who am I? And how do I know what’s happening? The woman wrote in her email that she had the strangest dreams as a little girl. I was internally decapitated, and I still live.
Tucker Carlson vs. Murdoch: Why the Fox News Airwaves endorsed Sidney Bartiromo’s Deposition, Grossberg’s Top Booker Abby Grossberg, and Fox News
In a deposition conducted two years after, the man said he didn’t believe the whole story when Sidney was pushing it.
Bartiromo said that she endorsed the information in the memo after talking to one of the Trump’s sons.
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 filings, when asked about the memo under oath,Grossberg said that it wasn’t something he would use for air. A top booker for Fox’s Tucker Carlson is Grossberg.
Powell appeared again on Fox’s air two days after the Bartiromo incident, this time on Ingraham’s show. Powell claimed that there was evidence of hundreds of thousands of votes being injected into the computer systems.
She didn’t. State and local officials did not agree with her claims. The Trump administration election integrity officials had a relationship with 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 was the only opinion star to challenge Powell on the air during the post election season. Carlson told viewers on Nov. 19, 2020, that they took her seriously. She never sent any evidence despite a lot of requests. That’s not a page. When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.”
On Jan. 26, Tucker Carlson had Lindell on his show. Murdoch said he was not going to take money for MyPillow ads.
There was lots of time to make wild claims about the media. 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.”
The core engine of America’s democracy, our ability to peacefully and legitimately transfer power, was a thing of the past if it would hold Fox’s audience and boost their stock.
Haley’s Story: What Fox News and its Executives Really Mean about the 2020 Election, and How to Stop Broadcasting lies to Giuliani
From afar, I thought Haley had a pretty good story to tell, since she was a successful South Carolina governor and the daughter of Indian immigrants. Her mother Raj studied law at the University of New Delhi, immigrating to South Carolina and later became a public-school teacher. Her father taught at Voorhees College for 29 years after he earned his doctorate from the University of British Columbia. They opened a boutique on the side.
“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.
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 her years of practicing law, Tushnet said she hadn’t seen such evidence in the pre- trial phase of defamation suits.
Mr. Dinh said that Fox executives had an obligation to stop hosts of shows from broadcasting lies.
A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for the daily digest to see how the media landscape is evolving.
Affirmative. In the aftermath of the election, Murdoch wrote an email to the New York Post that described election lies that Trump was pushing as bulls**t and damaging.
► Murdoch gave Jared Kushner “confidential information” about then-candidate Joe Biden’s ads “along with debate strategy” in 2020, the filing said, offering Trump’s son-in-law “a preview of Biden’s ads before they were public.” At most news organizations, this type of action would result in an investigation and disciplinary measures.
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.
Murdoch was asked if he could have told the Fox News executives to stop giving air time to Giuliani. “I could have,” Murdoch said. “But I didn’t.”
The evidence that will propel the case is presenting by the legal team of the parent company.
Emails and other communications introduced into the case show that the Murdoch family was involved in the network’s editorial path.
“I’m a journalist at heart,” the elder Murdoch, who is just two weeks shy of his 92nd birthday, said in his deposition. “I like to be involved in these things.”
He was steadfast about defending Fox’s call of the state of Arizona for Joe Biden on election night. Murdoch testified that he could hear Trump shouting in the background as the then-president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, told him the situation was “terrible.”
Scott forwarded his recommendation to the top executive over prime-time programming, Meade Cooper. The show was canceled because she was worried that guests would say the election was being stolen, and if she didn’t push back it would be a token, according to the filings.
Raj Shah, a senior vice president at Fox Corp., was advising Lachlan Murdoch, Scott and Dinh of the “strong conservative and viewer backlash to Fox that we are working to track and mitigate.” He said that the positive views among Fox News viewers were the lowest they’ve ever seen.
Ryan is an anti-Trump Republican and is on Fox’s board of directors. He said he told Murdoch to stop spreading theories on Fox News. He testified that he advised them that Fox might pivot away from its previous support for Trump after the election.
Rupert advised Lachlan, “Just tell her … Fox News has been correct in calling the election. It might seem easy, but we have to lead our viewers in a different way.