Fox News and Reckless Disregard for the Truth

More on the Dominion brief full of revelations about Fox News’s reckless disregard for the truth. Trump called in to the Lou Dobbs show on January 6, but Fox executives nixed putting Trump on the air. This is from the brief:

The afternoon of January 6, after the Capitol came under attack , then President Trump dialed into Lou Dobbs show attempting to get on air. But Fox executives vetoed that decision. Why ? Not because of a lack of newsworthiness. January 6 was an important event by any measure. President Trump not only was the sitting President, he was the key figure that day. But Fox refused to allow President Trump on air that evening because it would be irresponsible to put him on the air and could impact a lot of people in a negative way. 

Dominion goes on to complain that “The same is true of statements Fox chose to air about Dominion. Not only did the charges severely impact Dominion and its employees, they were based on verifiable falsehoods that any accurate and disinterested reporting would have mentioned.”

But I think it’s more than likely that the Fox execs were mostly trying to protect Trump as well as themselves. They must have known good and well how undisciplined Trump is and how he’s too stupid to know when to shut up. They must have realized he might have said something that would have incriminated himself, and maybe Fox, too. It’s a damn shame they didn’t let Trump talk to Dobbs.

Lou Dobbs comes up more than a hundred times in the brief, btw. I take it he was totally in the tank for Trump’s Big Lie. His show Lou Dobbs Tonight was the highest rated program on Fox Business Network, but it was cancelled abruptly in February 2021 after Dominion filed its lawsuit.

And the January 6 committee didn’t know about that call. It was not on White House phone logs. I’m not sure about the timeline, but I believe the Dobbs show was on after Trump would have told the mob to go home.

And then there’s Sidney Powell. This is from the brief, with interlinear citations deleted

Powell sent Bartiromo an email prior to the interview with the subject line Election Fraud Info which Bartiromo forwarded to Grossberg with information from a woman claiming Dominion’s software flips votes from Trump to Biden and tying Dominion to a conspiracy theory involving Nancy Pelosi and Senator Dianne Feinstein. … In the same email, Powell’s singular source explained that Roger Ailes (who, as previously noted, had died years ago) huddles every day with Rupert Murdoch about airing anti-Trump material, and that Justice Scalia was killed in a human hunting expedition ….  Powell’s source also explained that she gets her information from experiencing something like time-travel in a semi-conscious state, “allowing her to see what others don’t see, and hear what others don’t hear, and she received messages from the wind. … Bartiromo read this email at the time: she responded to Powell saying she had shared this very imp[ortant] info with Eric Trump. …  Powell provided Bartiromo with no other evidence for her claims about Dominion.

The context (see hard copy pages 118 and 119) suggests that Fox’s Maria Bartiromo had received this email from Powell before an interview on November 8. So they knew all along that Powell was nuts.

From the New York Times v. Sullivan case: “Factual error, content defamatory of official reputation, or both, are insufficient to warrant an award of damages for false statements unless “actual malice” — knowledge that statements are false or in reckless disregard of the truth — is alleged and proved.” I’d say Dominion has the proof.

At the moment, Fox lawyers seem to be reduced to arguing that Dominion has overinflated its value and shouldn’t be awarded the $1.6 billion in damages it is claiming.

6 thoughts on “Fox News and Reckless Disregard for the Truth

  1. O…



    Let me see if I got this right:

    Powell's source time travels, and she receives messages from the wind…



    I don't know…

    I'm not sure how to feel after finding that out.

    I mean, if Powell is making this source up as part of a fallback to an insanity defense if the whole coup thing doesn't work out, then I'm pissed!!!

    And I want to make sure she has to do some serious time in the opposite of the kind of "Club Fed" they send wealthier/well-connected White people, instead of a real prison for real people.  You know the kind of dorm-room "jail" I'm talking about:  "Hey Ms. Powell, I sure you don't end up in Club Fed  #13.  That place is Hell!  It's only got a 3-hole golf course, and when they make the bed in the cell for you, there's no mint!  HELL, I TELLS YA!!!"

    On the other hand, regardless of whether or not if the source is real, Powell needs a serious "check-up from the neck up!"  And if the source IS real, then I feel sorry for both of them, and hope that maybe the government can work out a cheaper deal 'cause there'll be two to psychoanalyze.  And instead of two cushioned rooms with two singles, maybe they can share a padded cell and a twin mattress.

    Hey, we gotta start looking out for ways to save money!!!

    We don't want the RepubliKKKLANS eliminating Social Security and Medicare/aid because we overspent on prisons and mental institutions to house tRUMP and his traitorous coup plotters and minions!!!

  2. If Fox lawyers are saying the demand is excessive, they seem to be conceding in advance of a trial that they have lost on the facts of the case. The Alex Jones suits went down for almost a billion dollars. They're very different cases except that the Infowars precedent says the First Amendment is not an absolute shield which seems to be the final fall-back argument for Fox lawyers.

    Fox lawyers know what is in the discovery that Dominion (partially) made public. I doesn't seem a great leap to guess that Fox lawyers have known for a while that they're screwed. Which makes me think they've beeen in negotiations for a while – that's what Fox would do when they realized it's a looser if it goes to trial. From where I sit, the motion by Dominion that dropped this dynamite into the public forum was a power play by Dominion to break an impasse on a point or points in the negotiation. (That's what I'd like to know – what is Fox resisting in negotiations? Fox is still in the hand, playing on a pair of dueces.)

    I'm not sure how this case can be settled and negotiated since other persons are also named in the suit. If Domininion settles on damages with just Fox, can they just let Fox out for what they pay or does the whole suit have to be withdrawn? IN that case, if Fox pays (since they have the deep pockets) they also have to pay for what Rudy owes for what he said. I also wonder if Dominion is demanding an admission of guilt from all parties?

    The timing on this could not be better. I think we're on the cusp of Trump being charged in Georgia. (I live in a dream world.)  If Fox throws Trump under the bus whan the GA case is charged, Trump will have a hell of a time in court arguing that he a) won Georgia or b) believed in good faith he won Georgia. 

    Yes, Trump will still carry the cult and it may be enough for Trump to prevail in the primaries. But there's no way Trump will be able to draw from the center in the general.

  3. On another thread, someone suggested Murdoch will pull out his checkbook and try to settle out of court, perhaps to minimize the damage that could come from a ruling against Fox. I don't know how he thinks, nor if Dominion would take the deal (I hope not).

  4. My haiku from way back then:

    Lou Dobbs was so big,
    Then Fox was served with papers,
    And now he is gone.

  5. Kind of OT but never OT.  Tomorrow is president's day and a great one has opted for hospice.  He has done more for this country in retirement than…let's just stop here.  

    Thank You for your service, Jimmy Carter.  You never quit serving.  Your example will live on and on.  



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