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Fox News hosts endorsed false allegations of voter fraud

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Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch has admitted under oath that some Fox hosts “endorse” the idea of ​​stealing the 2020 US presidential election, according to a lawsuit unsealed Monday.

Murdoch’s admission was contained in a filing by Dominion Voting Systems and is part of a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit the voting technology company has brought against Fox News and parent company Fox Corp over Fox’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election.

Documents from the Delaware court case show that Murdoch and other Fox executives believed that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump to some degree and that the results were not in question.

Murdoch’s testimony taken from his testimony at trial. Not all of his testimony was seen by Reuters because it remains hidden.

Asked by a Dominion attorney if some of the Fox commentators supported the idea that the 2020 election was stolen, Murdoch replied: “Yes. They did,” according to the filing.

When asked, Murdoch said that “some (Fox) commentators agree” with plagiarism in the election, including “maybe Lou Dobbs” and “maybe Maria (Bartiromo)”.

Murdoch’s testimony and other materials in the dossier shed light on Fox’s internal deliberations as they covered allegations of voter fraud and sought to avoid losing viewers to far-right rivals who embraced the false narrative about Trump.

Fox argued that his coverage of Trump’s attorneys’ allegations was inherently newsworthy and protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Dominion’s reputation is also at risk as it seeks to recover from what it has described as irreparable damage to its business.

A five-week trial is scheduled to begin on April 17.

Dominion argued that internal communications and testimonies from Fox employees prove that the network knowingly spread lies about Trump’s defeat in the 2020 US presidential election in order to boost its ratings.

Dominion alleges in its filing that Murdoch closely watched Fox’s coverage but refrained from exerting strong editorial influence despite severe concerns about Fox’s coverage.

Murdoch testified that he early believed “all was well” with the election and that he suspected early allegations of voter fraud.

Asked by Dominion’s attorney if he could stop Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani from continuing to spread lies about the election, Murdoch replied, “I could have done it. But I didn’t,” according to a Dominion filing.

Dominion’s proposal opposes Fox’s motion for summary judgment, which seeks a ruling in favor of a media company that would eliminate the need for a trial on certain legal issues.

In its own filing released Monday, Fox said its coverage of the statements by Trump and his attorneys was inherently newsworthy and that Dominion’s “extreme” interpretation of libel law would “stop the media in its tracks.” “

“Under the Dominion approach, if the president falsely accuses the vice president of plotting to assassinate him, the press will be responsible for reporting the meritorious allegation, so long as someone in the press room believes it to be nonsense,” Fox said.

Dominion sued Fox News Networks and parent company Fox Corp in March 2021 and November 2021 in Delaware Supreme Court, alleging that the cable TV network doubled down on false allegations that Dominion voting machines were used to rig the 2020 election against Trump, a Republican who lost. to his Democratic rival. Biden.

In a statement released Monday, a Fox spokesperson said Dominion’s views on defamation law “will prevent journalists from providing essential reporting and their efforts to publicly discredit Fox for its coverage and his comments on allegations by the President of the United States must be recognized: a flagrant violation of the First Amendment.”

Dominion’s summary judgment proposal, filed this month, has been littered with emails and statements in which Rupert Murdoch and other top Fox executives claim claims made about Dominion on air were false — as part of the voting machine company’s efforts. To prove that Grid was aware of it. The statements released were false or recklessly ignored as to their accuracy. This is the standard of “actual malice” that public figures must prove prevails in a defamation case.

(Reporting by Helen Koster and Jack Quinn in New York); Editing by David Gregorio and Noelene Walder

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