Moments before Fox News was set to face a jury regarding the false claims repeatedly made on air about Dominion Voting Systems and the 2020 election, the right-wing media corporation announced it had reached a settlement with the company.
The settlement amounted to $787.5 million and Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a press conference outside the courtroom in New York that “Fox has admitted to telling lies about Dominion,” but critics said the financial agreement robbed the public of a trial that would have exposed the news network’s lies about fraud during the 2020 election and its behind-the-scenes operations.
“The trial would’ve exposed the underpinnings of a corporation that has spent almost three decades radicalizing middle-age and older white people with lies, fear, hatred, and white supremacy,” said Ashtin Pittman of the Mississippi Free Press.
Dominion filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox in 2021, challenging repeated baseless claims by guests and hosts of the network that former President Donald Trump was the true winner of the 2020 election and that Dominion’s voting machines had changed votes in President Joe Biden’s favor. Private messages between hosts and producers at the network have since been exposed, showing many believed the lies to be “reckless” and “absurd” even as Fox continued to spread them.
If Fox truly admitted wrongdoing, said a number of critics, it should be required to do so on-air and not just in a private settlement.
Though the settlement means there will not be a public airing of Fox News‘ lies about Dominion, Media Matters president Angelo Carusone said the company has still “been completely exposed as a partisan propaganda outlet that is willing to do anything for profit and power.”
“The stain this leaves on Fox can’t be wiped out with money,” he said. “Fox News lied about the 2020 election; they all knew it was a lie, right up to the Murdochs themselves. What the Dominion trial offered was a keyhole view into the day-to-day industrial-scale deceit that takes place at Fox. It helped illustrate why the company is such a uniquely destructive force.”
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