With historic settlement, Rupert Murdoch is paying the price for Trump’s election lies

With historic settlement, Rupert Murdoch is paying the price for Trump’s election lies

With historic settlement, Rupert Murdoch is paying the price for Trump’s election lies
The astonishing last-second $787.5 million settlement between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems, which came after the jury had been seated and on the brink of opening statements Tuesday, served as a stark reminder that lies have consequences.

The country suffered the consequences of Donald Trump’s election lies on January 6th. And Rupert Murdoch suffered the consequences of those same lies on April 18.

But while it is the largest publicly known defamation settlement by a US media outlet ever, the hefty price tag won’t be enough to change Fox News at its core. The right-wing talk channel still sows doubts about the 2020 election to this day. And I’m told by sources that the settlement it reached with the Dominion will not require its dishonest personalities to acknowledge the reality and issue retractions on the air.

Instead, Fox News will walk away with only having to “acknowledge” its lies in the weaselly worded statement it put out as its lawyers quite literally fled the courthouse while reporters sprinted down the street after them.

“We acknowledge the Court’s ruling finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,” the network said, before having the gall to add the settlement “reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards.”

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Of course, the Dominion lawsuit revealed exactly the opposite. In some ways it is fitting that the statement Fox News issued as a result of its dishonest conduct was dishonest in and of itself.

The case exposed Fox News as a dishonest organization like never before. It’s hard for any fair-minded observer to consider the channel as anything other than a propaganda profit machine void of the most basic ethics. The case shredded to pieces the little that remained of the talk channel’s credibility.

Some observers hoped that this case would proceed to trial, bringing with it accountability and exposing the network to even more. It unquestionably would have been an excruciating several weeks for Fox News. The channel’s highest-ranking executives and biggest stars, such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, would have been forced to confront how lies they never believed were promoted on the network’s air to its millions of loyal viewers.

Outside the embarrassment Fox News would have suffered, the settlement also spared the company and its executives of being bound by the laws of reality during trial. Normally, Fox News sails through controversy by distorting the criticism it faces and attacking “the media.” That time-tested playbook would not have worked in court, where the judge would have forced the network’s lawyers to present the jury a fact-based argument. In other words, the network would have been forced to enter the true No Spin Zone. And that’s always been a No Go Zone for the channel when confronting crises.

But it is important to note that this was only the first of Fox News’ legal problems stemming from its mendacious conduct in the wake of the 2020 election. Another voting technology company, Smartmatic, is still suing Fox News, demanding $2.7 billion for the “disinformation campaign” it waged against its company.

“Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign,” the company’s lead attorney, Erik Connolly, said in a statement after the Fox-Dominon settlement was announced.

“Smartmatic will expose the rest.”

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