The trial of Fox News and the Dominion will take place this year
The Fox News Defamation Trial Revisited: Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Rupert Murdoch and the Case of Actual Malice
Conservative TV darlings Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and a slew of other Fox News stars and executives, including the network’s 92-year-old owner Rupert Murdoch, may soon have their days in court in what stands to be the biggest media trial since the 1980s.
“Dominion’s lawsuit is a political crusade in search of a financial windfall, but the real cost would be cherished First Amendment rights,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement.
Fox executives privately acknowledged that former President Donald Trump lost to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Fox continued to air conspiracies and lies in order to keep its large audience engaged.
In 1964, the Supreme Court decided in New York Times v. Sullivan that defamation cases in the US are hard to win. Defamation has to be above average. An entity can only have lied if it knew at the time that it was lying, and if it did so with malice. The first two were ruled in favor of the court because Fox broadcasted lies and knew they were lies, and the third one was about if Fox did so maliciously.
Thanks to a 1964 Supreme Court ruling, there is a high bar to meet to prove defamation in the U.S. legal system. The burden of proof falls on the plaintiff. Attorneys for the company must prove that the statements made against the company were false, or that Fox leadership should have known about it.
That high standard is called “actual malice”. It’s meant to protect media outlets from being punished for reporting critically on powerful figures, including corporations and the government.
It is necessary for the jury to be shown that Fox acted negligently and that they acted with a reckless disregard for the truth.
Legal documents reveal thousands of text messages and email exchanges between Fox executives and Fox personality, who knew claims their hosts and guests made on air were false.
Sidney Powell, a Trump ally and attorney, and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, were two of the guests. (Dominion has separately sued both Giuliani and Powell but there have been no rulings in either of those cases.)
The whole thing seems crazy and Sidney Powell won’t release the evidence. Which I hate,” Carlson texted fellow hosts Hannity and Laura Ingraham a couple weeks after the election.
Asked by a Dominion attorney under oath whether or not he could have directed Scott to stop hosting Powell and Giuliani on Fox, Murdoch answered that he could have.
Gauging by what Fox has presented in court, the network’s attorneys maintain the election-technology company’s worth is nowhere near the $1.6 billion Dominion is asking for.
A defamation trial is about to begin this week against Fox News. It could have significant ramifications for the right-wing cable channel.
• Abby Grossberg, a former Fox News producer who alleged that the network’s lawyers coerced her into providing misleading testimony in a lawsuit filed March
The Murdochs’ witnesses are very relevant according to Davis. Fox was trying to block Dominion from having the Murdochs on the witness stand.
That could result in a big financial hit for Fox. Fox Corporation, the right-wing news outlet’s owner, has an estimated $4 billion in cash on hand, according to its latest earnings statement. It’s also unclear how much insurance the company has, or what any insurance policy would cover.
Fox stated that the case is about protecting the rights of the free press, and that any verdict in favor of Dominion would have grave consequences for the fourth estate.
The damning behind-the-scenes communications were included in over 10,000 pages of court documents that were part of the lawsuit and are likely to be shown in the trial.
The Tucker Carlson Trial is Setup to Begin in Delaware at 9am Monday, May 3 p.m. The Jury Selection Process
Tucker Carlson wrote in a text message that he hates Trump. Tucker Carlson said that Trump was trying to look away and that his decision to snub Joe Biden’s inauguration was destructive in an exchange in November 2020.
Murdoch’s private messages revealed how his own thoughts contradicted what Fox espoused. Murdoch sent an email to Fox News chief executive Suzanne Scott, which references election denialism after Trump lost to Joe Biden.
The trial will begin in Delaware at 9 am on Monday, with expected opening statements sometime during the day. Jury selection is also expected to wrap up Monday morning, ending with a panel of 12 jurors and 12 alternates. It’s anticipated that opening statements will begin immediately after the jury is seated. The trial is likely to take five to six weeks.