The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Dominion Smacks Fox News

Dominion Voting Systems lowered the boom on Fox News yesterday. Dominion has asked for a summary judgment in its suit against Fox. The brief filed yesterday in support of the motion is a doozy. You can read it here, with a few redactions. The brief makes it abundantly clear that the Fox News bobbleheads knew good and well that what Fox News was presenting about Dominion voting machines was nonsense.

This gets to the heart of what I wrote a couple of days ago about reckless disregard for the truth. See also With Actual Malice and Reckless Disregard. The New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) ruling gave news organizations considerable protection from defamation suits, particularly when a reporter gets facts about a public figure wrong. Sullivan allows for honest mistakes. But Fox News hosts and management collaborated to present lies that they knew were lies to their viewers. This is even worse than “reckless disregard.”

It may be that it was interviewees spewing the lies, not the on-air Fox personalities. But the brief presents examples of Fox managers and hosts reprimanding colleagues for fact checkingAaron Blake at WaPo:

The filing repeatedly shows Fox News hosts and superiors objecting to how their colleagues fact-checked the Trump team’s claims. In one example, host Neil Cavuto cut away from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who had claimed Democrats took positions on voting issues because they were “welcoming fraud” and “illegal voting.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Cavuto said, adding, “Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue showing you this. I want to make sure that maybe they do have something to back that up.”

The filing says Fox News executive Raj Shah’s team notified senior leadership that Cavuto’s actions amounted to a “Brand Threat.” The next day, another executive, Porter Berry, noted Newsmax was going after Cavuto and said, “They are just whacking us. Smart on their part.”

Because the Fox News business model depends on telling their viewers what they want to hear. If Fox isn’t giving them enough red meat, viewers will go elsewhere.

See also Michelle Goldberg, What Fox News Says When You’re Not Listening.

11 thoughts on “Dominion Smacks Fox News

  1. This from Mediaite.

    Pfeiffer (Fox News exec) responded: It’s a hard working needle to thread, but I really think many on our side are being reckless demagogues right now.

    Tucker replied: Of course they are. We’re not going to follow them.” And he added: What [Trump]’s good at is destroying things. He’s the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong.”

  2. The saddest thing about these revelations, is that the people who Fox lied to will never believe – let alone admit – that they were oh so obviously lied to, and played for suckers.


    All lies. 

    That's what Fox's viewers were fed 24 X 7 X 365.  Fed those lies because not only did Fox execs fear their viewers would skip over to a competitor, but also that they feared actual violence from the most unhinged among their viewers.

    There was fear not only of harm to Fox's facilities, but actual violence upon Fox's management and employees.

    And so, the owner of Fox "news" lied.

    All of the top Fox execs lied.

    Fox's on-screen "talent" lied.

    And they lied not only to their own viewing public, but also to the Fox employees who took the 'news' part of Fox "news" seriously.

    Hard as it may be to believe, but there are real 'news' reporters employed by Fox "news." 

    Maybe some took the job because it was the only one in media that was available to them at the time.  Recent college grads don't always get their choice of medium, or company – let alone a chance to pick a particular job.  They take the first decent offer, and figure that they'll make it work for them somehow or other.

    Others may have purposely taken a job a they don't want, or like, to use as a stepping stone to something bigger and better.  Something more in line with the career path they desire.

    After all those lies, the truth has come out.

    That in reality, Fox "news" is nothing but the propaganda and public relations arms of the Republican Party, and American Conservatism.

    A "summary judgement," as I understand it, is Dominion basically saying to the court, "There is so much evidence, that there can be no truthful defense.  So why waste the time and energy.  We can cut right to the chase now:  have Fox pay us now."

    And I'm sure that Dominion will demand that Fox "news" publicly admit to their audience, that they lied. 

    And that they have continued that lie for the last 2+ years.

    (Note:  Some Fox viewers will never believe that they were lied to by Fox.  That all of this is a plot by libtards, the liberal media, and The Deep State).

    And after all of that lying, Fox may have to worry about not only the most unhinged of their viewers, but some "hinged" ones, too.

    People don't like to be played.

    So, reap your whirlwind, Fox "news"!

    You deserve every non-violent thing you have coming to you.  Including serious action(s) by the FCC.

    But sadly, there will be violence.

    Fascists always involve violence.

    This word-turd is long already, but I want to finish my comment with a question:

    How can Fox repair the damage that they've done to America, and to the idea, and practice, of democracy in general?

    They can't.

    Even if they wanted to, they can't.

    Only we Americans can.

    And about a quarter to a third of "Americans," either don't care, or don't want any repairs.

    A badly damaged democracy is exactly what they want.

    It's a step closer to Authoritarianism.





  3. So then. Have any Republican led states replaced Dominion machines?

    That would seem to be damaging to Fox.

    And if they continue with Dominion machines. That too is damaging to Fox.


  4. When you play in the grey area, you need really competent administration.  Fox execs went for the greed and really messed this one up.  Even David Brooks was taking potshots at them on PBS this evening.  Way back when, I watched the CEO of Dominion when his help and company credibility was under attack.  He is the last person you would want as an adversary.  He takes no wild swings.  Fox did.  He and Dominion will own a large chunk of Fox given anything close to a fair justice system IMO. It is high time.  Many countries do not allow even their normal level of bias.  This caused major damage it appears.  One more toxic derailment.

  5. Dominion can sue to be "made whole" and I guess potentially ask for punitive damages. But from a legal point of view, cash isn't the only consideration. The long-term market is potentially damaged if/when states avoid Dominion to avoid future allegations about the integrity of the most recent election. The 'damage' to the future market can't be computed precisely. (Unlike, for example, the cost of repairing your car after an accident.) 

    IMO, part of being "made whole" has to include an admission that ALL the allegations about votes being switched and the suggestion that the machines are prone to be tampered with – were lies! To settle out of court, Fox will have to admit that they failed to do due diligence in fact-checking.  (Again, opinion but…)

    Dominion isn't gonna take the money and run. Democracy is on the line. At the moment, that risk affects any company invested in elections. If the US slides into a dictatorship, there won't be a need for voting machines because there won't be any voting. The only business that prosper will be those aligned with the dictator. (I hope Disney has figured out that their future is at risk if DeSantos has to personally approve every new Disney princess, and demands to personally monitor her menstrual cycle.)

    The result of the Dominion suit may be the coffin nail on Trump's reelection. Trump can still get the GOP nod but establish that the "steal" was all Trump trying to run away with the election and independent voters are gone. It will be beautiful – when Trump can't get any traction in the election, he will blame the GOP, and destroy the GOP in an act of vengeance. (My prediction.)

    The capitalist business model in the US presumes that business can pull the strings on government to ensure windfall profits will be allowed and protected, that tax loopholes will stay (as long as money flows to the right lobbyist firm), that environmental regulation will only affect the most egregious offender, and the sacred cow of defense spending will only get fatter. In a dictatorship, if you are not in favor with the king, the weight of government will drive you out of business entirely. (Again, I point at Disney's problems in Florida.) 

    It's worth the mental exercise to get a grip on this. Business thinks they should be in charge – historically in the US, they always have been. It's a question of degree. The FEAR of big business is that government will start to seriously cut back on its abuses of the people. But a 'strongman' with the Congress protecting him is far more dangerous to business than socialism is. This needs to be explained to major CEOs and soon. Although corporations have far too much power in US politics, they have the power to pull the plug on authoritarianism. A CEO with a big ego (the vast majority) needs to consider how it will feel to have to suck up to an idiot like Trump in order to stay rich. As a previous post quoted Tucker Carlson, Trump is exceptionally good at destroying things – this is true of the authoritarian model – Orban has destroyed the businesses of his rivals.

    Last, (I hear a sigh of relief.) the blue states control a lot more wealth than red states. I'd like to see a foreign and domestic boycott of Florida tourism. Let DeSantos know that he can't require money to come into Florida. Let sports leagues decide to do tournaments elsewhere. And extend the boycott to the states with the most draconian abortion laws. At the moment, Republican governors are trying to outdo each other in sheer asshattery. Let's reward them by taking business elsewhere. Women in business need to step up by refusing transfers to states that treat women as breeding stock. Make the Dallas branch of xyz corporation a stag place to work because women won't go. Yeah, this would call for some organization but the ladies are up to it. I remember Trump's first day in office – he fled the WH to avoid the demonstration that was bigger than his inauguration. Do it, girls! 

    • "the suggestion that the machines are prone to be tampered with" is not a lie – it's actually true.  As a former professional computer programmer, I will never trust computerized voting.  I'm OK with computerized *counting* – as long as it's auditable (paper ballots, with a few % of all precincts getting verified by hand-counting), but any system without paper ballots is insane.

      I suspect that this whole issue blew up because some stupid GOP hack told Trump about slick ways that the GOP has manipulated votes with computers in the last couple decades (see Ohio, 2004), and Trump – as usual – loudly accused Democrats of doing it.  Once Trump made an issue of it, FOX amplified the allegations with their usual enthusiasm.  Note that Establishment Republicans never jumped on that bandwagon: I think most of them knew that (1) Democrats hadn't used this technique and (2) making an issue of it could expose (past? current?) GOP manipulations.

  6. I have been wishing women would do just that. Red states do not deserve women teachers librarians doctors etc. We should leave them high and dry and boycott them. They don't deserve us our work our education or our caring about a decent society. Not to mention our unpaid labor( see who cooked Adam Smith's dinner).

    And good point about american businesses want to be like Putin's oligarchs?-play along or out the window you go.

    • AJ – I know you understand but, "out the window" is literal! There's a number of Russian business and government people who've died around the world of unexplained falls from high-rise buildings. The most recent was this week in St. Petersburg, Russia. 

      This reflects a political reversal. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian mafia moved in. They set up Putin – now he can make or break any of the oligarchs. The question I do not know the answer to is how we alert US plutocrats to the risk to their fortunes and lives that autocracy presents.

      I guess Putin ran out of polonium. 

  7. Doug and Aj,

    I agree with your points about women vis-a-vis Red States.

    But talk about your "terrorist states!"


    A state full of incels!!!


    " The horror…  The horror…"

  8. I have a theory how Fox's coverage on the M&M's sex issue and other dumb stuff ties into this case. By broadcasting these ludicrous shows they can present them in court as proof that the network can't and shouldn't be taken seriously.

    • If only they would add a laugh track, an occasional slide-whistle, or some Benny Hill style theme music; I'm guessing they might keep the same audience they already have.


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