Exposing emails and texts in court — and being exposed to the public eye as a result — is a nightmare for any company. That horror is now coming to Fox News after Dominion Voting Systems filed a motion for summary judgment against the network, outlining dozens of internal communications sent in the months following the 2020 presidential election.
The filing in Delaware court is part of Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation case that accuses Rupert Murdoch’s network of knowingly promoting former President Trump’s false claims of election fraud, including a debunked theory that the company manipulated votes to make President Biden the winner.
Fox News argued that its coverage of Trump’s claims was worthwhile, despite being false, and therefore protected under the 1st Amendment. In a statement, the network criticized Dominion’s brief – based on depositions and discovery in the case – saying the company “mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes out of key context, and spilled significant ink on irrelevant facts with material about it. the black letter principles of defamation law.” The network is filing its motion in response to Dominion’s allegations on February 27.
However, the 169-page guide makes for eye-opening reading. Here are some takeaways.
‘Crazy,’ they call them
In nine cases, Fox News hosts and executives use the word “nuts” when describing Lord’s baseless charges and the people who spread them. There are 29 references to “Crazy”. Most of the time, the adjectives describe Sidney Powell, Trump’s attorney who was responsible for making the most false claims, along with his co-lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
But the description also comes up in conversations about Fox News talent. Gary Schreier, senior vice president of programming at Fox Business, said anchor Maria Bartiromo was “saying (crazy) s—” online. Jeanine Pirro was kept off the air for her now-cancelled Saturday night program on November 7, 2020, when it became clear to producers that she planned to discuss Dominion-related conspiracy theories (the election was officially called for Biden the that day). Fox News executive David Clark told another producer: “They took her out because they were crazy. Optics are bad. But she’s crazy.”
‘Human hunting trip’
Perhaps the strangest theory that Powell has put forth (though one that has never hit the Fox airwaves) was sent to Bartiromo on November 7, 2020. Powell cited a source who told her that former Fox News chief Roger Ailes , who died in 2017, “Speaks” daily with Rupert Murdoch about airing anti-Trump material, and that the late United States Supreme Justice Antonin Scalia was “killed” at the annual Bohemian Grove camp…during a trip Manhunt for a week.”
Powell said her source claimed she “got her information from experiencing something ‘like time travel in a semi-conscious state’, which allows her to ‘see what other people don’t see, and what they don’t hear. to hear other people,’ and she said. received messages from ‘the wind.'”
When Bartiromo read the email at the time, she responded to Powell saying she was sharing this “very important information” with the president’s son, Eric Trump. But at his deposition, Bartiromo admitted that this email was “nonsense” and “inherently unreliable”.
3,682 emails and tattoos
Dominion made multiple attempts to get Fox News to correct the record after the network exposed lies, beginning on November 8, 2020. Called “Setting The Record Straight,” or STRS emails, they corrected false claims that Dominion owned Smartmatic (a voting software company also suing Fox News) and that it was founded in Venezuela to rig elections for Hugo Chávez.
The first of 3,682 emails was sent on November 12, 2020, which Fox News described as “about three pages of facts versus rumors that list in detail why the allegations against Dominion are false.” On November 18, 2020, the STRS included an editorial published in the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal “highlighting the complete lack of evidence to support recent claims against Dominion.”
The email communications were widely circulated by Fox News. David Clark, senior vice president of weekend news and programming, has been fact-checked by Dominion so many times that he wrote to a colleague on November 14, 2020: “I have a tattoo on my body at this point.”
Keeping the MyPillow man happy
Fox News executives were apparently concerned about upsetting MyPillow owner Mike Lindell, the single largest advertiser on Fox News. Lindell is among the most talked about Trump election fraud claims (it continues to circulate). The legal brief said Lindell had been criticizing Fox News during appearances on rival Newsmax in the weeks after the 2020 election when the smaller conservative channel was gaining steam in the ratings. “Fox executives exchanged anxious emails about alienating him and sent him a gift along with a handwritten note from (Fox News Media CEO) Suzanne Scott,” the brief said.
Trump wanted to go on the Lou Dobbs show on January 6th
While Fox News has been reporting Trump’s false claims of election fraud, the network drew a line on the day his riotous supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington in an attempt to prevent Biden’s election vote from being certified.
Trump called the Lou Dobbs show that night for an on-air interview. Fox executives vetoed that decision, the brief said. “Why? Not for lack of news potential. January 6 was an event of no importance,” the brief said. “President Trump was not only the sitting President, he was the main person that day.” Fox News executive Lauren Petterson said the network declined because “it would be irresponsible to air it” and “it could affect a lot of people in a negative way.”
Dobbs has been Fox News’ most aggressive in presenting Dominion conspiracy theories. His Fox Business program was taken off the air on February 5, 2021. Fox News chief executive Jay Wallace told a colleague, “the North Koreans make a newer show” than Dobbs.
Fox News Present – Parler?
The idea to buy the conservative social media site Parler, which launched in 2018 as an alternative to Twitter, came up in a conversation between Jay Wallace and Washington’s top anchor Bret Baier. Wallace didn’t like the idea. “We can barely contain Dobbs – just imagine all the crazy things we’d be responsible for,” Wallace said.