Dominion Defends Fox News, the Murdoch Family, and the Right-Wing Talk Network over Elections Robbed by Donald Trump
The Murdoch family’s Fox News, as well as a gaggle of other stars and executives, may soon find themselves in court in the biggest media trial since the 1980s.
Dominion had sued Fox News for defamation seeking damages of $1.6 billion. It says it was defamed by the right-wing network when Fox hosts and guests claimed in 2020 that its voting systems illegally rigged the election against Donald Trump.
Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity were aware of the lies that Donald Trump had told about the election, but they still relied on voter fraud theories on their shows.
Attorneys for Fox claimed that the First Amendment shields the network from punishment if guests say things on air that they do not think is right.
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 goes to the person who is sued. Dominion attorneys must prove that Fox leaders knew, or should have known, that the statements hosts and guests made against Dominion were false or acted in reckless disregard for the truth.
The high standard of malice is called actual malice. It is meant to make sure media outlets don’t get punished for reporting on powerful people.
Dominion will need to convince the jury that Fox acted with “actual malice” — showing the right-wing network’s hosts and executives knew what was being said on-air was false but broadcast it anyway, or acted with such a reckless disregard for the truth that they should be held liable.
Private text messages and emails released as part of the case have already revealed top personnel at the right-wing talk network didn’t believe the conspiracy theories that were being put on the air and spread to viewers.
Two of those guests were Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer at the time, and Sidney Powell, a Trump ally and attorney. There have been no rulings in the cases of Giuliani and Powell that dominion has sued.
The whole thing is insane and Sidney Powell won’t give the evidence. It was something that Carlson disliked a couple weeks after the election.
In April, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis ruled that Fox could be forced to testify about its dealings with the Murdoch family.
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 trial in a defamation suit brought against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems is set to begin this week. It could affect the right-wing cable channel.
Jones was referring to Abby Grossberg, a former producer for the news outlet who claimed Fox lawyers bullied her into protecting the network and its on-air personalities in her deposition for the Dominion case. She has expanded her lawsuit against the company and accused the company’s lawyers of deletion of messages from her phone.
Both parties have made Murdochs witnesses relevant. Fox was trying to block Dominion from having the Murdochs on the witness stand.
That could be a major financial hit to Fox. Fox Corporation, the right-wing news outlet’s owner has $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 argued in a statement the case is about protecting “the rights of the free press” and a verdict in favor of Dominion would have “grave consequences” for the fourth estate.
Many of the documents included in the 10,000 pages of court documents that have been made public could be used in the trial.
Tucker Carlson’s Fox Comes to the Trial: The Case of Donald Trump in the Era of the 2020 U.S. Election Denialism
For example, host Tucker Carlson said in one text message he “passionately” hates Trump. In an exchange from November 2020, Tucker Carlson commented on Trump’s post election behavior and said he was trying to look away.
Murdoch’s private messages revealed how his own thoughts contradicted what Fox espoused. Murdoch wrote that Sean and Laura went too far after Trump lost to Joe Biden.
The Delaware Superior Court said that the start of the trial would be Tuesday, despite the fact that opening statements were expected on Monday.
I will announce tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. that the trial will continue until April 18th, 2023 in Courtroom 7E.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Murdoch’s Fox pushed to settle the case out of court on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.
“Dominion has seemed quite motivated, throughout this case, to play it out on a public stage and correct the larger record on election denialism,” said RonNell Anderson Jones, a First Amendment expert and professor of law at the University of Utah.
Some of the company’s highest-ranking executives and highest-profile hosts are scheduled to otherwise testify during the trial about the election lies promoted by the network in the wake of the 2020 election.
The ex-president’s conspiracy theories were promulgated by the conservative network to avoid alienating viewers and to boost their bottom line.
The drama, due to play out in a Delaware courtroom, is an extraordinary event because it could show how truth has become a political currency and how a right-wing business model depends on spinning an alternative reality. It’s not clear if Trump will end up paying a significant personal or political price for his involvement in the fraudulent election.
The former president is denying that he broke any law, but he might be indicted if he is found guilty in the probes of the attempt to overturn President Joe Biden’s election victory and his conduct in the lead up to the US Capitol insurrection. The House Select Committee took interviews and testimony from people when Democrats controlled the chamber last year.
But the falsehood of a corrupt election still forms the bedrock of Trump’s 2024 campaign to win back the White House. The idea that Trump really won in 2020 is how millions of the president’s supporters believe he was ejected from office.
It’s also questionable whether viewers of conservative media will hear much about the trial and get sufficient information that might convince them to change their minds about 2020.
The fact that Trump continues to spread such falsehoods – and that many in the Republican Party remain unwilling to challenge him – irks some party leaders who watched as Trump’s handpicked candidates, who touted his election lies as the price of his endorsement, flamed out in swing states in last year’s midterm elections.
In his interview on CNN’s ” State of the Union” Sunday, Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said that former president Barack Obama is putting his party in a bind as they look to the future.
The Real Truth About Donald Trump’s Inaugural Campaign in Waco, Texas During the First Big Event of 2019: The Case for Ruling Out Fox News
One core argument in court will likely be trying to show that Fox believed that telling the audience inconvenient truths was bad for business – a factor that drove right-wing media in 2020 and still holds true today. It can be seen that the Republican Party was unwilling to anger its base voters two years ago. While many top party leaders have signaled they want to move on from Trump, the only part of the GOP that has power in Washington is the House Republican majority, and they have made repeated efforts to shield Trump from accountability over the 2020 election.
The court proceeding against Fox shows that there is still some accountability in this country despite the efforts of Trump.
The run-up to the trial has seen many embarrassments and reversals for both the network and the premise that there is more to Trump than meets the eye.
Trump made it clear from the beginning that he was going to create an alternate vision of reality for his supporters to embrace, and he was going to subvert the rules of the presidency. The crazy words of Sean Spicer when he mentioned that Trump had attracted the biggest inauguration crowd in history seemed strange at the time. But in retrospect, they were the first sign of a daily effort to destroy truth for Trump’s political benefit, which eventually morphed into lies about a stolen election that convinced many of the ex-president’s supporters. The mob attack by his supporters on Congress was the culmination of all this.
It is possible that this is not surprising. During his time in office, Trump told the world in a moment of candor how he operated.
Don’t leave with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” he said in a directive to his supporters at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City in 2018. What you see and what you read are not what is happening.
In 2016 we won. We won by much more in 2020 but it was rigged,” Trump said in the first big rally of his campaign in Waco, Texas, at the end of March.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: How Much Will It Take to Restore the Popularity of Donald Trump in 2020?
It’s not going to be good if you look in the mirror too long while you’re driving.
The fact that Trump is still very popular with conservative voters suggests that it will take a lot more than a courtroom display to restore the truth about 2020.