These days think of Fox News as the MAGA world Mike Pence. Still spewing many of the same MAGA lies, but far too generic, insipid and insufficiently rabid for the drooling, knuckle-dragging, radical cretins that remain of Donald Trump’s moribund base. Why the change? They’re scared. Fox is about to be rendered completely gutless.
Because Fox now faces the ultimate rock-and-a-hard-place crush between reporting MAGA-style “news” and getting the bejesus sued out of them by the likes of Dominion Voting Systems. The price they are going to pay is at both ends. A huge, big-ticket lawsuit that could ruin them on the one hand and mass defection from the screeching, performative, MAGA chaos monkeys on the other. Fox could lose a ton of viewers to the more radical OAN and Newsmax because the Dominion suit will inevitably make them more cautious and unwilling to lie.
Dominion Voting Systems has the kind of case against Fox that every lawyer dreams about: significant dollar loss through libel to an innocent victim caused by a rich, megalithic news outlet that knew it was lying but cynically did it anyway — for ratings. That’s the kind of suit that makes lawyers weep with gratitude. Get ready for a life-changing judgement against Fox that could literally cripple the network and turn them into helpless, cringing sheep.
That’s right, while the likes of inadequate little pissants such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham were confidently pushing the Big Lie on TV and blaming much of it on Dominion Voting Systems, they secretly knew none of it was true. How do we know they knew that? Because they said so. We know this because on Thursday a court filing made public a treasure trove of Fox News texts and emails saying as much.
“From the top down, Fox knew ‘the dominion stuff’ was ‘total bs,'” Dominion wrote, citing a sealed exhibit. “Yet despite knowing the truth — or at minimum, recklessly disregarding that truth — Fox spread and endorsed these ‘outlandish voter fraud claims’ about Dominion even as it internally recognized the lies as ‘crazy,’ ‘absurd,’ and ‘shockingly reckless.'”
How bad is it for Fox News? The filing seeks summary judgement, a court ruling in its favour without the need for a trial. Think about that. The case is so bad, Dominion may not need to prove it in a trial in a court of law. The guilt of the defendant is too obvious for a time-wasting trial.
Dominion is asking $1.6 billion in summary damages, an amount that could hurt the network badly, possibly even destroy it. Should Fox get a trial anyway, at the very least they will have to spend a fortune defending themselves and hope for a lesser judgement. But the possibility of getting off without a blood-curdling finding against Fox is vanishingly small, given the evidence.
At Fox News they know they are screwed. Their impotent future reporting will probably reflect as much. And the amount of money they are going to lose is simply ruinous. If you should get the chance, don’t forget to offer them thoughts and prayers. 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.