At a Delaware courtroom today, evidence is moving back and forth as the trial for defamation against Fox News commences. Judge Eric Davis had earlier cautioned their attorneys of potential record withholding during discovery.
At Fox News, Tucker Carlson was recently fired while CNN let go of Don Lemon; media critics joined us to analyze what this meant for their respective networks’ futures.
1. Fox News settles defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems
Fox News made history on Tuesday when they reached an unprecedented agreement to settle their defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787 Million, marking the highest defamation settlement by any media company ever in US history. The settlement announcement came mere moments before opening statements at Delaware Superior Court were set to start, prompting speculation of negotiations taking place before proceedings were abruptly suspended for three hours without explanation while parties allegedly worked out an accord.
Dominion alleges Fox of broadcasting false and defamatory allegations regarding its voting machines, such as allegations they were used to steal votes from Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. Their lawyers devised a plan designed to cause maximum damage to Fox and its proprietors Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch.
The settlement spared Fox stars like Maria Bartiromo and Tucker Carlson from testifying, yet is unlikely to significantly diminish their $4 billion cash reserve or require Fox to apologize to its viewers.
2. Fox News settles defamation lawsuit with Smartmatic
Just days after Dominion Voting Systems settled its massive defamation suit against Fox News, it was revealed that Fox News would face another massive defamation suit from Smartmatic, a voting-machine company accused by hosts on Fox News of manipulating elections. Smartmatic claims Lou Dobbs and guests like Rudy Giuliani repeatedly spread false conspiracy theories regarding them including claims they are linked with Dominion Voting Systems or responsible for switching votes for Donald Trump using its voting software.
Fox News, Dobbs and guest stars such as Maria Bartiromo and Tucker Carlson are being sued by Dominion Energy for an eye-watering $2.7 billion settlement amount, but experts predict this suit won’t end similarly as Dominion’s as Fox is likely able to convince jurors that its election-fraud coverage was fair reporting protected under the First Amendment. Nonetheless, such an eye-popping sum will undoubtedly have an enormous impact on its viewership and may permanently alter Fox’s standing with viewers.
3. Fox News settles defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems
Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox News and its parent company alleging their business had been compromised by baseless conspiracy theories that were broadcast after the 2020 election on Fox. Dominion claimed its brand was damaged when Fox broadcast false statements by Trump allies that their voting machines and software had rigged the election for Trump against Joe Biden – Dominion sought $1.6 billion in damages; Fox won their case as Judge Eric Davis held that their coverage fell within First Amendment protections.
This case garnered immense public scrutiny after the court released private messages between Fox News personalities like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity – including one claiming Dominion CEO was linked with Hugo Chavez. Dominion decided to settle just a week before trial to save both expenses related to an extended jury award as well as years of appeals that may reduce or eliminate its payout from such verdicts.
4. Fox News settles defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems
Dominion News Media Inc. successfully settled a long-running legal dispute that had exposed it to considerable financial risks and public embarrassment, sparing Rupert Murdoch, Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity from having to take the stand in court proceedings. But critics fear a drawn-out legal battle may ultimately have long-term repercussions for Dominion News Media; an extended legal fight may give the Supreme Court an opportunity to change libel laws favoring news outlets
Defamation claims require plaintiffs to demonstrate that news outlets knew or disregarded that statements they published were false, with “reckless disregard for truth”. Fox’s lawyers, however, argued that their allegations about public figures were protected under the First Amendment and should therefore not be challenged in court.
An earlier this year, a judge issued his ruling that it was “crystal clear” that none of Fox’s statements about Dominion were true; however, he left it up to the jury to decide whether Fox acted with actual malice, which would require evidence showing top decision makers knew these statements weren’t accurate.