The Most Explosive Comments Fox News Stars—Carlson, Ingraham, Hannity—and Murdoch Made About Trump and the 2020 Election

The top row

Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News has garnered widespread attention for recent court filings that show Fox News anchors and senior executives knew fraud claims after the 2020 election were false, but pushed anyway, as Dominion tries to force Fox to pay $1.6 billion in damages in a lawsuit starting next month.

Basic elements

Hundreds of pages of court documents have been unsealed as part of Dominion’s defamation lawsuit, which accuses Fox News of promoting fraud claims about its voting machines after the 2020 election, even though it knew those claims were false.

Anchor Tucker Carlson, who is under fire for downplaying the Jan. 6 attacks, told the courts that the Dominion fraud allegations were “absurd” and said far-right lawyer Sidney Powell, who promoted the allegations, was “poison. “an “unguided missile” and “dangerous as hell” and “hopes[s]

she is punished”.

Carlson also said he “had to make” the Trump administration reject Powell’s comments, calling her a “nut” and said in a text message: “Sydney Powell is lying” and called her a “f-king.”

Carlson called former President Donald Trump “a demonic force, a destroyer” and said, “What he’s good at is destroying things … He’s the undisputed world champion of that” when an unidentified Carlson texted Carlson, citing the former president’s failed business. ventures in January 2021.

“I hate him with a passion,” Carlson said of Trump, adding in a January 2021 text message, “We’re very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights … I really can’t wait.”

Host Sean Hannity testified that he “didn’t believe … for one second” that Powell’s claims of voter fraud were true and that it was “obvious” that Powell’s claims were false when he appeared on his show, also saying that far-right attorney Rudy Giuliani was “acting like a lunatic” and calling the lawyers “crazy.”

Host Laura Ingraham called Powell “an absolute nut” and “so” with Giuliani, while Fox Corporation executive Raj Shah said the voter fraud allegations were “crazy” and host Dana Perino said they were “absolute fans “, “lunatics” and “nonsense.”

Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch testified that he did not believe the allegations of voter fraud, and while he did not believe that Fox had supported the allegations of voter fraud as a company, “some of our commentators approved of it.”

Murdoch said of the fact that he could have forced the network to stop hosting election naysayers: “I could do it. But I didn’t.”

When asked why Fox continued to run ads by CEO and election naysayer Mike Lindell, Murdoch agreed with the statement, “It’s not red or blue, it’s green,” and that the company had a financial incentive to continue running the ads. and hosting Lindell on the network.

Murdoch wrote in an email to Fox News CEO Susan Scott shortly after President Joe Biden was sworn in that Fox was “still throwing mud at us” and said “maybe Sean and Laura went too far” in their campaign coverage, asking Scott if it was “undeniable that Fox’s high-profile voices fueled the story that the election was stolen and that January 6th was an important opportunity to overturn the result.”

Scott described Giuliani’s fraud allegations as “terrible things that hurt everybody” to Murdoch in a Nov. 19 email, to which Murdoch responded, “yes, Sean and even [Jeanine] Pirro agrees.”

Murdoch described the Jan. 6 uprising in an email as “a wake-up call for Hannity, who has been privately disgusted by Trump for weeks but feared losing viewers” and said the network was “too busy spinning” after on January 6. and I want[s] to make Trump a non-person.”

Tangent line

The documents also include other revelations about Fox News and its ties to the right. Murdoch helped Trump and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) beat candidate Don Blankenship from winning the GOP nomination for West Virginia Senate in 2018, court records show. with Murdoch writing in an email to other executives, “Sean and Laura are dumping [Blankenship] he can hardly save the day.” Excerpts from Murdoch’s testimony also show he gave Trump adviser Jared Kushner a preview of Biden’s 2020 campaign ads before they were made public, which experts suggest could violate campaign finance laws by treating as a donation “in kind” to the Trump campaign.

What to watch out for

Dominion’s defamation case is set to go to trial on April 17 in Delaware state court, although a hearing will be held on March 21 to determine whether a judge can issue a ruling. Dominion is asking Fox to pay $1.6 billion in damages if the court finds the network defamed the company it voted for, though that number could ultimately end up higher or lower depending on how the case plays out and what it decides the jury. The case is one of two defamation lawsuits Fox is facing over allegations of fraud after the 2020 election, with rival company Smartmatic also suing the network and several of its anchors.

Chief critic

Fox News has vehemently denied Dominion’s claims of defamation, arguing that the network was justified in reporting news events such as Trump’s election objections and comments made on his programs are protected by the First Amendment. The network has also strongly objected to Dominion’s court filings and portrayal of its officials’ comments, accusing the polling company of “mischaracterizing[ing] the disk, cherry-pick[ing] quotes stripped of basic context and leaking[ing] significant ink on facts that are irrelevant under the principles of black letter defamation law.’

What We Don’t Know

Whether Dominion or Fox will win the lawsuit. Defamation claims are subject to a high legal bar, and Dominion must prove that Fox made the fraudulent statements with “actual malice” knowing they were false, which is often difficult for defamation plaintiffs. Legal experts have suggested that Dominion could have a case given the substantial evidence that Fox officials knew the allegations were false, however, which is particularly rare in defamation cases — though it remains to be seen how that will play out. the case. “Overall I think this is one of the strongest plaintiff’s cases I’ve ever seen,” said First Amendment attorney Lee Levine. Los Angeles Times. “I have a hard time envisioning a scenario in which Fox wins in front of a jury.”

Key background

Dominion sued Fox in March 2021, accusing the network of defaming it by promoting claims of on-air fraud for financial gain and to keep viewers from switching to right-wing Newsmax and One America News. That motivation has also been highlighted in court documents, with Fox executives privately concerned in emails and other communications that viewers were turning away from the network after Biden was first announced as winning Arizona in the election and initially did not advance suspicions of scam. Allegations about Dominion machines allegedly aiding voter fraud and “flipping” votes from Trump to Biden gained significant traction on the right after the 2020 election, despite the fact that there is no substantial evidence to support it, and the Fox case is one of about a dozen defamation lawsuits the company and Smartmatic have brought against right-wing defendants who advanced the claims. The case has gained significant public attention ahead of its trial in recent weeks in light of court filings and their damaging allegations about the Fox News anchors. He has drawn Trump’s ire, as the former president has repeatedly attacked Murdoch on Truth Social for not believing there was widespread election fraud, while praising the presenters who promoted the claims of fraud.

Further reading

‘Mind Blowingly Nuts’: Fox News hosts and executives repeatedly denounce 2020 election fraud off-air—Here are their most scathing comments (Forbes)

New Fox News documents show Tucker Carlson, Murdoch and more questioning 2020 election fraud—See their most explosive comments (Forbes)

Fox unlikely to settle for dominance in election lies as high-stakes test looms, experts say (Forbes)

Murdoch Admits Fox News Hosts Pushed False Allegations of Election Fraud (Forbes)

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