Essentially the most distinguished stars and highest-ranking executives at Fox Information privately ridiculed claims of election fraud within the 2020 election, regardless of the right-wing channel permitting lies concerning the presidential contest to be promoted on its air, damning messages contained in a Thursday court docket submitting revealed.
The messages, included in a authorized submitting as a part of Dominion Voting System’s $1.6 billion lawsuit towards Fox Information, confirmed that Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham brutally mocked lies being pushed by former President Donald Trump’s camp asserting that the election was rigged.
In a single set of messages revealed within the court docket submitting, Carlson texted Ingraham, saying that Sidney Powell, an lawyer who was representing the Trump marketing campaign, was “mendacity” and that he had “caught her” doing so. Ingraham responded, “Sidney is an entire nut. Nobody will work together with her. Ditto with Rudy [Giuliani].”
The messages additionally revealed that Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Company, didn’t consider Trump’s election lies and even floated the concept of getting Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham seem collectively in prime time to declare Joe Biden because the rightful winner of the election.
Such an act, Murdoch mentioned, “Would go a protracted solution to cease the Trump fantasy that the election stolen.”
The court docket doc provided essentially the most vivid image thus far of the chaos that transpired behind the scenes at Fox Information after Trump misplaced the election and viewers rebelled towards the right-wing channel for precisely calling the competition in Biden’s favor.
Dominion filed its mammoth lawsuit towards Fox Information in March 2021, alleging that throughout the 2020 presidential election the discuss community “recklessly disregarded the reality” and pushed varied pro-Donald Trump conspiracy theories concerning the election expertise firm as a result of “the lies had been good for Fox’s enterprise.”
Fox Information has not solely vigorously denied Dominion’s claims, it has insisted it’s “proud” of its 2020 election protection.
In an announcement Thursday night time, Fox Information argued that the court docket submitting contained cherry-picked quotes missing context.
“There can be lots of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic non-public fairness house owners, however the core of this case stays about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, that are basic rights afforded by the Structure and guarded by New York Occasions v. Sullivan,” the community mentioned.
However the court docket doc offered a mountain of proof exposing Fox Information as a right-wing discuss channel void of essentially the most primary journalistic ethics.
The authorized submitting additionally underscored how apprehensive Fox Information executives and hosts had been within the speedy aftermath of the election of dropping its viewership to Newsmax, a smaller right-wing discuss channel that was saturating its airwaves with election denialism.
After the election, a livid Trump attacked Fox Information and inspired his followers to change to Newsmax. And, within the days and weeks after the presidential contest had been referred to as, they did simply that. Fox Information shed a piece of its viewers whereas Newsmax gained important viewership.
In a number of cases, Fox Information executives and hosts expressed fear over the matter and began to crack down on these on the community who fact-checked election lies. In a single case, after White Home correspondent Jacqui Heinrich fact-checked a Trump tweet pushing election fraud, Carlson mentioned he needed her fired.
“Please get her fired,” Carlson informed Hannity over textual content message. “Significantly … what the f**ok? I’m truly shocked … It must cease instantly, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the corporate.”
Hannity replied that he had already spoken to Suzanne Scott, the community’s chief government. The subsequent morning, Heinrich’s tweet had been deleted.
An individual with direct data of the matter informed CNN that Heinrich was blindsided studying the main points within the authorized submitting and was not conscious of the efforts by prime hosts behind the scenes to get her fired.
In one other case, when host Neil Cavuto reduce away from a White Home press briefing the place election misinformation was being promoted, senior Fox Information management had been informed such a transfer offered a “model risk.”
Scott exchanged messages with Lachlan Murdoch, the Fox Company chief government, and outlined a plan to win viewers again. Scott mentioned the right-wing discuss channel would “spotlight our stars and plant flags letting the viewers know we hear them and respect them.” Murdoch responded that the model wanted “rebuilding with none missteps.”
Quickly after, Fox Information debuted a new “standing up for what’s right” marketing campaign that includes the community’s prime stars.
Regardless of what appeared on air, Fox Information executives and hosts privately criticized the Trump camp for pushing claims of election fraud, the messages confirmed. Hannity even mentioned Giuliani was “performing like an insane individual” and Ingraham described him as “an fool.” Rupert Murdoch mentioned it was “actually dangerous” that Giuliani was advising Trump.
The court docket submitting additionally revealed that Fox Information executives had criticized a number of the community’s prime expertise behind the scenes. Jay Wallace, the community president, mentioned that “the North Koreans” did a “extra nuanced present” than then-host Lou Dobbs. Jerry Andrews, the chief producer of “Justice with Choose Jeanine,” referred to host Jeanine Pirro as “nuts.”