Democracy has nothing to do with it.
Robert Reich / April 19, 2023
Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems have agreed to settle Dominion’s defamation lawsuit for $787.5 million. (Dominion had sued for $1.6 billion over allegations that Fox defamed the voting company by knowingly or recklessly airing false claims tying voting machines to a conspiracy to undermine the 2020 presidential election.)
A lawyer for Dominion celebrated the agreement, saying “Money is accountability.”
Rubbish. The Fox Corporation has an estimated value around $17 billion. The settlement amounts to a cost of doing business for Fox.
The settlement also means that Fox’s major figures — including Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Corporation, and Fox hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Maria Bartiromo — won’t have to testify.
Which in turn means they won’t have to explain all the pretrial evidence (emails, depositions, and so on) showing that they knew Trump lied about the 2020 election being “stolen” but they went ahead and joined Trump’s lie nonetheless — in order not to lose viewers to Newsmax, One America News, or any other group to their right with even fewer scruples — so they’d preserve their revenue stream.
Fox said in a statement that “we acknowledge the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false.” It added: “We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”
What about an apology from Fox? From these Fox hosts? A confession of complicity in Trump’s big lie? A promise to stop lying in the future?
Dominion may have protected its trademark but it hasn’t protected American democracy.
Nothing about the lawsuit or its settlement has been aired on Fox News. Fox viewers continue to be in the dark about all of it — Trump’s big lie, Fox’s amplification of the big lie, the lawsuit, and the emails and pretrial testimony showing that Fox News and its hosts knew it was all a big lie.
Meanwhile, Trump continues to push his big lie. Presumably, Fox News will continue to push it as well because, hey, it sells to the Trump base that Fox News helped create.
And that’s really what this is all about: Money. Money to Trump. Money to Dominion. Money to Murdoch. Money to people such as Carlson and Hannity and Ingraham, and Bartiroma — all of whim long ago cashed in their integrity for big bucks.
Even though their traitorous behavior has brought America to the cusp of civil war — including an attack on the U.S. Capitol — they’ll continue to do whatever is necessary (short of defaming a deep-pocketed voting machine company) to keep the money flowing in their direction.
Yesterday, the Grifter-in-Chief announced the release of a second round of superhero-style digital trading cards with cartoonish images of him at $99 apiece.
Fox’s and Trump’s grift goes on.