• Even The Convicted Liars At Fox News Say Trump Is Guilty

    From Tibor@21:1/5 to All on Fri Oct 6 02:16:10 2023
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    Fox Stars Privately Expressed Disbelief About Election Fraud Claims.
    ‘Crazy Stuff.’

    The comments, by Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and others, were released as
    part of a defamation suit against Fox News by Dominion Voter Systems.

    Tucker Carlson is leaving Fox News. Follow our live news updates here.

    Newly disclosed messages and testimony from some of the biggest stars and
    most senior executives at Fox News revealed that they privately expressed disbelief about President Donald J. Trump’s false claims that the 2020
    election was stolen from him, even though the network continued to promote
    many of those lies on the air.

    The hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, as well as
    others at the company, repeatedly insulted and mocked Trump advisers,
    including Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani, in text messages with
    each other in the weeks after the election, according to a legal filing on Thursday by Dominion Voting Systems. Dominion is suing Fox for defamation
    in a case that poses considerable financial and reputational risk for the country’s most-watched cable news network.

    “Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It’s insane,” Mr.
    Carlson wrote to Ms. Ingraham on Nov. 18, 2020.

    Ms. Ingraham responded: “Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with
    her. Ditto with Rudy.”

    Mr. Carlson continued, “Our viewers are good people and they believe it,”

    The messages also show that such doubts extended to the highest levels of
    the Fox Corporation, with Rupert Murdoch, its chairman, calling Mr.
    Trump’s voter fraud claims “really crazy stuff.”

    On one occasion, as Mr. Murdoch watched Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell on television, he told Suzanne Scott, chief executive of Fox News Media,
    “Terrible stuff damaging everybody, I fear.”

    Dominion’s brief depicts Ms. Scott, whom colleagues have described as
    sharply attuned to the sensibilities of the Fox audience, as being well
    aware that Mr. Trump’s claims were baseless. And when another Murdoch-
    owned property, The New York Post, published an editorial urging Mr. Trump
    to stop complaining that he had been cheated, Ms. Scott distributed it
    widely among her staff. Mr. Murdoch then thanked her for doing so, the
    brief says.
    Suzanne Scott holds a microphone and wearing a blue jacket with the Fox
    News logo embroidered on the front.
    Suzanne Scott, chief executive of Fox News Media, in December 2021.Credit...Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
    Suzanne Scott holds a microphone and wearing a blue jacket with the Fox
    News logo embroidered on the front.

    The filing, in state court in Delaware, contains the most vivid and
    detailed picture yet of what went on behind the scenes at Fox News and its corporate parent in the days and weeks after the 2020 election, when the conservative cable network’s coverage took an abrupt turn.

    Fox News stunned the Trump campaign on election night by becoming the
    first news outlet to declare Joseph R. Biden Jr. the winner of Arizona — effectively projecting that he would become the next president. Then, as
    Fox’s ratings fell sharply after the election and the president refused to concede, many of the network’s most popular hosts and shows began
    promoting outlandish claims of a far-reaching voter fraud conspiracy
    involving Dominion machines to deny Mr. Trump a second term.
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    The Washington Post: Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder who purchased the newspaper for $250 million in 2013, has taken a more active role in The
    Post’s operations this year.
    BBC: A crisis at the British broadcaster over the conduct of a male
    staff member deepened as a second person came forward with claims that the
    man had sent abusive messages to the person. The male staff member was
    later identified as Huw Edwards, a prominent BBC figure.

    What was disclosed on Thursday was not the full glimpse of Dominion’s case against Fox. The 192-page filing had multiple redactions that contain more revelations about deliberations inside the network. Fox has sought to keep
    much of the evidence against it under seal. The New York Times is
    challenging the legality of those redactions in court.

    In its defense, which was also filed with the court on Thursday, Fox
    argued that by covering Mr. Trump’s fraud claims, the network was doing
    what any media organization would: reporting and commenting on a matter of undeniable newsworthiness. And it noted that many of its programs did not endorse the claim that the election was stolen.

    “In its coverage, Fox News fulfilled its commitment to inform fully and
    comment fairly,” its brief said. “Some hosts viewed the president’s claims skeptically; others viewed them hopefully; all recognized them as
    profoundly newsworthy.”
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    The law shields journalists from liability if they report on false
    statements, but not if they promote them.
    Photos of Fox hosts displayed on the front of a building as yellow
    taxicabs pass on the street.
    After Fox’s ratings fell sharply after the election, many of its hosts and shows began promoting claims of a voter-fraud conspiracy involving
    Dominion machines.Credit...Drew Angerer/Getty Images
    Photos of Fox hosts displayed on the front of a building as yellow
    taxicabs pass on the street.

    Dominion said in its filing that not a single Fox witness had testified
    that he or she believed any of the allegations about Dominion.

    In a statement on Thursday, a Fox spokeswoman said, “Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context
    and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-
    letter principles of defamation law.”

    The brief shows that Fox News stars and executives were afraid of losing
    their audience, which started to defect to the conservative cable news alternatives Newsmax and OAN after Fox News called Arizona for Mr. Biden.
    And they seemed concerned with the impact that would have on the network’s profitability.

    On Nov. 12, in a text chain with Ms. Ingraham and Mr. Hannity, Mr. Carlson pointed to a tweet in which a Fox reporter, Jacqui Heinrich, fact-checked
    a tweet from Mr. Trump referring to Fox broadcasts and said there was no evidence of voter fraud from Dominion.

    “Please get her fired,” Mr. Carlson said. He added: “It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock
    price is down. Not a joke.”

    The details offer more than dramatic vignettes from inside a news
    organization where internal disputes rarely spill into public view. They
    are pieces of evidence that a jury could use to weigh whether to find Fox liable for significant financial damages. Dominion is asking for $1.6
    billion as compensation for the damage it says it suffered as Fox guests
    and hosts claimed, for instance, that Dominion’s voting machines had been designed to rig elections for the Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez and were equipped with an algorithm that could erase votes from one candidate and
    give them to another.

    Fox Corporation has about $4 billion cash on hand, according to its latest quarterly earnings report.

    That burden is difficult to meet, which is why defamation cases often
    fail. But legal experts said Dominion’s arguments were stronger than most.

    “This filing argues a fire hose of direct evidence of knowing falsity,”
    said RonNell Andersen Jones, a professor of law at the S.J. Quinney
    College of Law at the University of Utah. “It gives a powerful preview of
    one of the best-supported claims of actual malice we have seen in any major-media case.”

    Many defamation suits are quickly dismissed because of the First
    Amendment’s broad free speech protections. If they do go forward, they are usually settled out of court to spare both sides the costly spectacle of a trial. The Dominion case has proceeded with a speed and scope that media experts have said is unusual.

    For eight months, Dominion lawyers have taken depositions from dozens of
    people at all levels of the network and its parent company. Mr. Murdoch
    was deposed last month. (Dominion’s brief was written before that
    deposition and does not reflect its contents, which remain under seal.)
    Mr. Hannity, one of the most popular prime-time hosts and a close Trump
    ally, has been deposed twice. And the personal phones and emails of many midlevel employees have been searched as part of the discovery process,
    which people inside the company have said has created an atmosphere of considerable unease.

    Both sides appear dug in and confident of victory. The judge has scheduled
    jury selection to begin in mid-April.

    Fox has contested how Dominion arrived at the amount it is seeking in
    damages, arguing that the company has vastly overstated its valuation and
    the reputational harm it suffered.

    In papers filed with the court on Thursday, lawyers for Fox called the
    $1.6 billion sum “a staggering figure that has no factual support and
    serves no apparent purpose other than to generate headlines, chill First Amendment-protected speech.”

    Fox’s lawyers added that Staple Street Capital Partners, the private
    equity firm that owns a majority share in Dominion, had paid about $38
    million for its 76 percent stake in the company in 2018 and had never
    estimated Dominion’s financial value to be worth “anywhere near $1.6
    billion.” Fox has made a counterclaim against Dominion seeking to recover
    all its costs associated with the lawsuit.

    Dominion’s goal, aside from convincing a jury that Fox knowingly spread
    lies, is to build a case that points straight to the top of the Fox media empire and its founding family, the Murdochs.

    “Fox knew,” the Dominion filing declares. “From the top down, Fox knew.”

    The brief cites senior executives and editors responsible for shaping
    Fox’s coverage behind the scenes who weren’t buying the election denial, either.

    “No reasonable person would have thought that,” said the network’s
    politics editor at the time, Chris Stirewalt, referring to the allegation
    that Dominion rigged the election. Bill Sammon, Fox’s managing editor in Washington, is quoted as saying, “It’s remarkable how weak ratings make
    good journalists do bad things.”

    Fox pushed out both journalists after the 2020 election.

    Ron Mitchell, a senior Fox executive who oversaw the Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham shows, texted privately with colleagues that the Dominion
    allegations were “the Bill Gates/microchip angle to voter fraud,”
    referring to false claims that microchips were injected into people who received Covid-19 vaccines.

    At times, Fox employees are described as disparaging one another. The
    president of the network, Jay Wallace, is quoted at one point criticizing
    the former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs — one of the biggest megaphones for
    Mr. Trump’s lies. “The North Koreans do a more nuanced show” than Mr.
    Dobbs, the brief says.

    On Nov. 6, 2020, three days after Election Day, as Mr. Biden pulled into
    the lead, Mr. Murdoch told Ms. Scott in an email that it was going to be
    “very hard to credibly cry foul everywhere,” and noted that “if Trump
    becomes a sore loser, we should watch Sean especially,” referring to Mr. Hannity.

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