The Fox Lies Channel
Here’s a shocker. The people on the Fox News Channel lie. They knowingly lie. They lie all the time. Anyone with the common sense to distinguish between fact and fiction has known this for a long time. But the facts were never so clear as they are in a recent court filing by Dominion Voting Systems.
Here are the basic facts:
- Dominion Voting Systems is suing Fox News for $1.6 billion for spreading false claims that Dominion rigged the 2020 presidential election.
- A new court filing shows that Fox anchors and executives privately ridiculed former President Trump’s lies about the election even while promoting them on air.
- The filing also reveals that Fox ignored warnings from its own staff, experts, and lawyers that the claims were baseless and harmful.
- The filing includes internal emails, text messages, and transcripts that show how Fox hosts and guests knowingly spread misinformation to boost ratings and appease Trump.
Dominion Voting Systems is a company that sells electronic voting hardware and software. Dominion claims that Fox’s false accusations caused irreparable harm to its reputation, business, and employees, and endangered the lives of its workers and election officials.
Fox News has denied the allegations and moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that it was exercising its First Amendment rights to report on matters of public concern.
Fox has also claimed its evening anchors, the ones with the biggest audience in all of cable television and the most vocal when it comes to spreading outright lies about the political opponents they tend to demonize (my opinion here), are not news reporters but opinion writers. Fox has even gone too far as to take in court the position that no one could view the words of, for example, Tucker Carlson, as factual.
The problems here are multiple. First, opinion columns make arguments based on a foundation of fact. They may take liberties in interpretation. They may be selective when it comes to which facts are included and which are ignored. But they still have a responsibility to the truth and can face the consequences if they do not.
Fox also has cultivated an image that it is a purveyor of news when it has been obvious from day one that it has taken it as its mission to promote right wing thought to such an extent that its coverage at all times of the day is informed by that institutional goal. The “Fox News” logo appears on the screen during what Fox calls its “opinion” parts just as it does during its “news” parts. The original Fox slogans, “Fair and Balanced” and “We Report, You Decide” clearly assert that Fox presents reality others do not.
This is (my opinion again) a bit of chicanery that makes a mockery of journalism. It also makes (yep, my opinion) Fox owner Rupert Murdoch and his lackies public enemy number one.
Still Dominion faces an uphill battle in its defamation lawsuit. The bar is set extremely high, especially when matters of public interest are debated. The framers of the Constitution wrote the First Amendment with a specific intent to protect the kind of political speech that would get a commentator’s head chopped off if it were directed against, for example, the king in a European monarchy.
Dominion must prove Fox willfully made assertions it knew to be false, that it did so with malice, and that as a result, damage was done.
Take the time. Read the material firsthand. You decide.
You can find the full court document here:
Fox lost its motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The trial is scheduled to begin on April 4, 2023.