ENDORSED: Rupert Murdoch makes a crucial mistake in Fox News/Dominion deposition
Dominion Voting Systems just released another court filing in its defamation lawsuit against Fox News, and it’s as full of incriminating and embarrassing material as their last filing — which clearly demonstrated that the hosts of the so-called “news” network didn’t really believe the claims of election fraud that they earnestly conveyed on a daily basis to their audience of Trump-loving MAGA devotees.
Among the details that the new filing reveals is the fact that Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox News’s parent company, acknowledged in a sworn deposition that multiple on-air hosts had promoted the false idea that the 2020 presidential election had been illegally stolen from its supposed true winner, Donald Trump.
Asked during the deposition specifically about the claims being made by Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs, and Maria Bartiromo, Murdoch regretfully admitted: “They endorsed,” adding “I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight,” according to the Dominion filing.
These admissions come in the context of a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion against Fox News that claims that the right-wing “dis-infotainment” network knowingly broadcast and amplified Donald Trump’s deceitful message that a massive amount of electoral fraud took place during the election despite knowing that these claims were a complete fabrication.
Another newly revealed tidbit is the news that former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), a member of the Board of Directors of the network’s parent company, had urged both Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, Fox’s CEO, to “move on from Donald Trump and stop spouting election lies.”
“Fox News should not be spreading conspiracy theories.” Ryan said.
It was advice that went apparently unheeded.
Instead, the network has tried to claim that they were merely reporting the news of the claims that Trump and his allies were making, rather than “endorsing” those claims.
“A reasonable viewer would have readily understood that hosts were not espousing the President’s allegations themselves, but were providing a forum for the principal architects of those legal challenges,” attorneys for Fox News argued in a brief they filed in the case.
These new revelations will make it even more difficult for Fox News to argue that its coverage of election fraud claims was broadcast without he knowledge of their falsity.
One other nugget that emerged from the depositions that were revealed today is the fact that Rupert Murdoch also admitted that he had handed over “confidential information” about Joe Biden’s campaign ads — submitted to Fox News in advance of their broadcast — to none other than Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law.
“During Trump’s campaign, Rupert provided Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, with Fox confidential information about Biden’s ads, along with debate strategy,” the court filing from Dominion reads, before adding in parentheses: “providing Kushner a preview of Biden’s ads before they were public.”
It will be interesting to see how much money Democrats will be willing to spend on Fox News ads after learning this bit of skullduggery.
All in all, the latest Dominion filing is bad news for both Fox News and the Murdoch family as the lawyers for the voting machine company have garnered a considerable amount of evidence that the network’s defamation of their software was both intentional and knowingly false.
Let’s hope that if the lawsuit doesn’t actually put Fox News out of business, it at least forces a substantial change in the way it operates in regard to the truth.
Original reporting by Jeremy W. Peters and Katie Robertson at The New York Times.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.