Even an avid Fox viewer would know that Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News for defamation with malicious intent.
Fox hosts pounded away hour after hour, day after day, week after week, after the 2020 presidential election claiming that Dominion and Smartmatic voting machines were rigged, that tabulations were corrupted, and that the votes counted were invalid.
Dominion’s claim is that Fox knew these representations were false, that Fox knew these claims damaged Dominion’s reputation, and that these mischaracterizations affected Dominion’s financial condition.
Depositions by Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and even owner Rupert Murdoch represent a unified theme: Fox hosts, producers, staff and leadership knew the claims of voter tampering and that the election was won by Donald Trump were pure fiction.
These beliefs were independently verified by hundreds of Fox emails and text messages.
“Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It’s insane,” Tucker Carlson wrote to Laura Ingraham on Nov. 18, 2020.
Ms. Ingraham responded: “Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy.”
Carlson continued, “Our viewers are good people and they believe it,” he added, making clear that he did not believe ballots were somehow changed. Tucker also said he was certain that Joe Biden had won.
Carlson, despite publicly taking Trump’s side for years, privately wrote in a text message he hated Trump “passionately” and that his presidency “had been a disaster.”
Hannity under oath testified that he did not believe Trump’s election claims “for one second,” yet at the same time Hannity perpetuated this lie and pretended voter tampering was very likely true.
Fox viewers, to include my own father, have been conditioned to believe the Fox narrative. Trapped in a Fox bubble, Fox viewers are convinced not to believe information from any other media.
Just like a novel or movie, the Fox community is convinced to be in mortal fear, seeks a redeemer to vanquish the enemy, and pledges loyalty to those heroes who can save them, restore their freedom and their rightful place of honor.
The only thing missing in this classic tale is the prince winning over the beautiful but disinterested maiden.
An avalanche of evidence has already proven Fox knew their broadcasts about a stolen election and naming villains like Dominion and Smartmatic are pure lies. So much for “Fair and Balanced.”
Dominion will prevail in arguing that Fox’s false narratives were malicious and knowingly caused Dominion harm. Dominion may be awarded a hefty amount in the several billions to include punitive damages and legal costs for Fox’s willful and wanton misconduct.
But will all this adverse press, embarrassing disclosures, and a defeat in court stop Fox from continuing to peddle lies and fear?
I say no.
The Fox playbook is to carve out a loyal viewership who identifies with fear from an enemy and impending doom.
Whether the enemies are anti-fascists (Antifa), socialists, communists, the woke, Black Lives Matter, the Democrats, invading immigrants, rising crime in big cities, or liberals trying to take away your freedom, Fox makes great efforts to highlight who they claim are out to hurt the entitled and the innocent alike.
When asked why Fox made such efforts to perpetuate these lies, false allegations, and fuel and perpetuate misdirection, Murdoch agreed that “it is not red or blue, it is green…”
Forget the moral high ground, Fox News is about money.
In addition to publishing tabloids, Murdoch has crafted Fox in the same manner but by relying on “broadcast news” instead of print.
Have you considered the link between the evangelical movement and Fox viewership?
“The world is coming to an end and only our way and belief in our doctrine can save you?”
It is a similar Fox narrative. Promoting doom and fear creates plenty of willing followers and firm control over devotees through messaging.
But there is a difference between Fox and religion: Faith cannot be proven to be untrue. Fox on the other hand has been shown to make a business of lying and grandstanding no matter who it hurts so long as the viewer ratings are solid.
While I predict Fox will be heavily sanctioned and lose the Dominion court case, I also predict Fox will go forward unchanged, be unapologetic, and keep their hold on their innocent audience with misinformation, just as before, just for money.
Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations agency, is the CEO of a private security firm, is the CFO of an accredited acting conservatory, a published author, and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations. Democratic Voices appears Tuesdays and rotates among local Democrats.