Murdoch says some Fox hosts ‘endorse’ false election claims

Fox Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch admitted that some Fox News commentators supported the false allegations by former President Donald Trump and his allies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and did not stop them from promoting the claims, according to excerpts. of unsealed deposit on Monday.

The claims and the company’s handling of them are at the heart of a defamation lawsuit against the cable news giant by Dominion Voting Systems.

Among the recently unsealed documents are excerpts from a deposition in which Murdoch was asked if he knew that some of the network’s commentators – Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro and Sean Hannity – sometimes supported the false election claims. Murchadh replied, “Yes. They supported.”

Murdoch’s filing is the latest filing in the defamation case to reveal concerns at the top-rated network about its handling of Trump’s claims as its ratings plummet after the network called Arizona for Joe Biden, angering Trump and their supporters.

An earlier filing revealed that the stolen election story that the network was airing in prime time is not the same as doubting the claims raised by its stars behind the scenes. In one text, from November 16, 2020, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said that “Sidney Powell is lying” about having evidence of election fraud, referring to one of Trump’s lawyers.

The Dominion case is the latest example showing that those spreading false information about the 2020 election knew there was no evidence to support it. The now defunct House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol has revealed that many of Trump’s top advisers repeatedly warned him that the allegations he was making about fraud were false – and yet the president making the demands.

Murdoch insisted in September 2020, weeks before the election, that Dobbs be fired because he was an “extremist,” according to Dominion’s court filing. Murdoch also said he thought it was “very bad” for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to be advising Trump because Giuliani’s “judgment was bad” and he was “very partisan”. there was, according to a depository extract.

Murdoch was asked if he could have asked not to put Powell and Giuliani on the air: “Could have. But it wasn’t,” he replied.

Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems, which sells electronic voting hardware and software, is suing Fox News Network and parent company Fox Corp. both for defamation. Dominion contends that some Fox News employees intentionally inflated false claims by Trump supporters that Dominion’s machines changed votes in the 2020 election, and that Fox provided a platform for guests to make false and defamatory statements about the company.

Dominion lawyers argue that executives in the “chain of command” at both Fox News and Fox Corp. knew the network was broadcasting “known lies, had the power to stop it, but chose to let it continue. That was wrong, and for that, FC and FNN are both liable.”

Attorneys at Fox Corp. noted in their filing that Murdoch also testified that he never discussed Dominion or voter fraud with any of the accused Fox News hosts. They say Dominion has provided “zero evidentiary support” for the claim that high-level executives at Fox Corp played any role in creating or publishing the statements in question.

They say that Dominion’s contention that the company should be held liable because Murdoch may have had the power to step in and prevent the objectionable statements from being quoted has no basis in defamation law ” that the law of defamation has no basis, it would destroy the distinction between corporate parents and subsidiaries, and it does not find. supported in the evidence.”

The “handful of optional quotes” cited by Dominion have nothing to do with the statements Dominion objected to as defamatory, Fox’s attorney said: “Dominion has repeatedly asked Fox executives, hosts and staff News whether Fox Corporation employees played a role in the publication. of the statements that challenge them,” they wrote. “The answer — every time, for every single witness — was no.”

Meanwhile, Fox News attorneys note that when polling technology companies denied the allegations made by Trump and his surrogates, Fox News aired those denials, and several Fox News hosts offered defensive commentary about Trump’s allegations.

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