The Fox Settlement is Bad News for MAGA
While America will be denied the spectacle of a trial, this settlement makes life harder for the Big Liars
I will admit that I anxiously awaited the trial in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation suit against Fox News. The prospect of the Murdochs and Tucker Carlson testifying under oath was delicious. I relished the idea of propagandists masquerading as mediocre journalists like Bret Baier having their grift exposed under the klieg lights.
Fox News agreed to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems on Tuesday for $787.5 million, according to an attorney for the voting technology company, representing a stunning conclusion to one of the most-watched media trials in decades. The judge dismissed jurors just hours after they had been selected. Dominion sued for $1.6 billion over allegations that Fox defamed the voting company by either knowingly or recklessly airing false claims tying voting machines to a conspiracy to undermine the 2020 presidential election. Some of Fox’s biggest stars and executives were expected to testify in the trial that was expected to test the limits of U.S. libel law.
Am I disappointed? Of course. Would the fight against Right Wing propaganda have benefited from a trial leading the news every night for weeks? Definitely.
Did Fox News and its ilk of bloviating blowhards and bigots get off easy? Absolutely not.
Fox News paid nearly $800 million to avoid a trial. While the details of the settlement are still emerging, it appears they will be forced to acknowledge their misdeeds publicly. Here are some quick thoughts on what this settlement means:
Just the Beginning for Fox News
The Dominion suit ushered in an era of legal jeopardy for Fox News. The texts and testimony that emerged as part of the discovery process promise to keep the Fox News legal team very busy in the coming months. The cable network is also facing a $2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic that alleges:
Fox News and [Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro] repeatedly allowed Trump's lawyers to falsely portray Smartmatic as a foreign company involved in a sprawling, multi-state operation to “flip” votes to Biden from the Republican incumbent.
In February, Fox News lost its motion to dismiss the suit. And as Brian Stelter pointed out on Twitter, there are also shareholder lawsuits seeking to hold the company accountable for its election lies.
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