Like you, brothers and sisters, I have 787.5 million reasons to be royally pissed off. The lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems had 7,021 exhibits to present at trial in their case against Fox News. (Contrast that with the prosecution’s mere 108 DNA exhibits in the OJ Simpson case.)
They had a summary judgement enjoining Fox lawyers from using the defence that they were merely “reporting the news.” They had inculpatory confessions of wrongdoing from texts and emails written by the unholy trinity of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. They had a deposition from Rupert Murdoch that Fox News hosts had “endorsed” the Big Lie and that he had both the responsibility and the power to stop them but failed to do so.
They had all that and still they settled. They settled for $787.5 million. By doing so they robbed the American people of a front row seat (albeit without cameras or a live feed) to the crucifixion of the most evil, anti-American entity in the history of television. It’s like missing out on trying Hitler at the Nuremberg Trials.
But it’s not over yet. Oh no. Not so fast to the courthouse exit, Fox News. You’re far from off the hook. Enter the next plaintiff: Smartmatic USA. That’s right, Fox News must now contend with a second defamation suit filed by Dominion’s rival voting machine company, Smartmatic USA, which has demanded a whopping $2.7 billion.
And it gets even better. Fox investors also are queueing up with their own individual lawsuits, each alleging that Rupert Murdoch and other board members were derelict in their duties by allowing Fox News to promote election lies, lies which have already severely crippled the network’s reputation.
Tough to prove, you might say? There’s just one problem. Rupert Murdoch has already admitted as much in a previous deposition. When asked during the deposition whether he had the authority to stop the distortions Fox News kept reporting, Murdoch replied: “I could have. But I didn’t.”
Another thing about the Fox News settlement that isn’t so widely discussed but needs to be stressed here. Fox made a huge mistake by not settling early. Had they come forward with the $787.5 million in the early days of the suit, they could have avoided all of the revelations of lies they told. Internal squabbling and nuggets like Tucker Carlson’s “passionate hatred” for Donald Trump came to light as a direct result of the summary judgement. Had Fox News settled early none of those revelations would be general knowledge. According to Dominion lawyer Stephen Shackleford, there were no further shocking revelations to be told, no bombshells yet undetonated. In short, Fox screwed themselves with their own myopia.
So if you think with Tuesday’s shocking revelation that Dominion’s settlement means that Fox News got away with something, think again. Their troubles are just getting started. With the coming Smartmatic USA suit, Fox News could wind up being crippled beyond repair, and the Tucker Carlson ($30 million a year) and Sean Hannity ($40 million a year) gravy train could be headed for permanent derailment. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.