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Fox News hosts ‘endorsed’ election fraud lies: What did Murdoch say in Dominion court case?

A lawsuit alleges that Fox News knowingly pushed baseless claims of electoral fraud after the 2020 presidential election.

Murdoch admits Fox hosts ‘endorsed’ election fraud lies
Eduardo MunozREUTERS

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox Corp, admitted under oath that some hosts of the network’s flagship Fox News shows “endorsed” lies about the 2020 presidential election.

The 91-year-old was called to testify in a court case brought by Dominion Voting Systems, the manufacturers of electronic ballot-counting machines used in the election and which came under fire from conspiracy theorists. In his deposition, Murdoch was asked whether he was “now aware that Fox endorsed at times this false notion of a stolen election,” to which he responded:

“Not Fox, no. Not Fox. But maybe Lou Dobbs, maybe Maria [Bartiromo] as commentators.”

“Some of our commentators were endorsing it,” Murdoch admitted.

He also stated that fellow hosts Jeanine Pirro and Sean Hannity had endorsed the narrative, pushed by former President Trump’s legal team, that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Why is Dominion suing Fox News?

Murdoch’s comments are the latest revelations from a massive $1.6 billion court case on behalf of Dominion against Fox News. The defamation case centres around the on-air claims made during Fox News and Fox Business broadcasts in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

The case was filed in a Delaware state court and aims to prove that top executives and hosts from Fox Corp forwarded false claims of election fraud. “Even if some of Fox’s hosts’ statements could qualify as ‘opinions,’ they are still actionable if—as here—they are based on false or undisclosed facts,” Dominion said.

The network has insisted that it played “no role in the creation and publication of the challenged statements -- all of which aired on either Fox Business Network or Fox News Channel.”

Fox maintains that its coverage is covered by the rights of the free press. In a statement released in response to the Dominion law suit, Fox wrote: “There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan.”

Fox News hosts reportedly doubted fraud claims

Central to Dominion’s lawsuit is the claim that the election mistruths were knowingly advanced on air by hosts who knew that they were false. The filing includes text messages and emails between the likes of Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham which dismiss the claims made by pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell.

“Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It’s insane,” Carlson reportedly wrote to Ingraham on 18 November.

The filing claims that Ingraham responded: “Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy.”