The highest-ranking executives at Fox News privately ridiculed claims of election fraud in the 2020 election, despite the right-wing channel allowing lies about the presidential contest to be promoted on its air, damning messages contained in a Thursday court filing revealed.
It has been noted that the messages, included in a legal filing as part of Dominion Voting System’s $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News, showed that Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham brutally mocked lies being pushed by former President Donald Trump’s camp asserting that the election was rigged.
The messages have been revealed
In one set of messages revealed in the court filing, Carlson texted Ingraham, saying that Sidney Powell, an attorney who was representing the Trump campaign, was “lying” and that he had “caught her” doing so.
“Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy [Giuliani].”
The messages also revealed that Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Corporation, did not believe Trump’s election lies and even floated the idea of having Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham appear together in prime time to declare Joe Biden as the rightful winner of the election.
Such an act, Murdoch said:
“Would go a long way to stop the Trump myth that the election stolen.”
The court document offered the most vivid picture to date of the chaos that transpired behind the scenes at Fox News after Trump lost the election and viewers rebelled against the right-wing channel for accurately calling the contest in Biden’s favor.
Dominion filed its mammoth lawsuit against Fox News in March 2021, alleging that during the 2020 presidential election the talk network “recklessly disregarded the truth” and pushed various pro-Donald Trump conspiracy theories about the election technology company because “the lies were good for Fox’s business.”
Fox News has not only vigorously denied Dominion’s claims, it has insisted it is “proud” of its 2020 election coverage.In a statement Thursday night, Fox News argued that the court filing contained cherry-picked quotes lacking context.
“There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan,” the network said.
But the court document provided a mountain of evidence exposing Fox News as a right-wing talk channel void of the most basic journalistic ethics. The legal filing also underscored how worried Fox News executives and hosts were in the immediate aftermath of the election of losing its viewership to Newsmax, a smaller right-wing talk channel that was saturating its airwaves with election denialism.
After the election, a furious Trump attacked Fox News and encouraged his followers to switch to Newsmax. And, in the days and weeks after the presidential contest had been called, they did just that. Fox News shed a chunk of its audience while Newsmax gained significant viewership.