The defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems – a company that makes electronic voting machines – against Fox News has opened the way for discovery of the broadcaster’s inner workings in the days after the 2020 US presidential election – and could to complete the The environment was not pleasant, to say the least.
The company believes that Fox News broadcast false claims that its devices helped Joe Biden and the Democratic Party “steal” the election from Donald Trump. To defend the case, he called dozens of journalists and channel executives to testify, in addition to using thousands of messages and emails, which the BBC has now released.
This is how the behind-the-scenes “battle” against Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the election results is revealed. On nightly public opinion shows hosted by personalities such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity or Laura Ingraham, the coverage of the former President of the United States has been largely positive.
But after the defeat in 2020, everything started to change. In an email, the president of Fox Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, wrote that Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were getting crazier. Carlson, on the other hand, admitted that he hated Trump “with a passion,” in addition to calling the presidency disastrous and pointing out that all of his companies had failed.
While Fox News hosts gave Trump and his supporters a platform to challenge the legitimacy of the election results, behind the scenes many denied the validity of the claims and bemoaned the station’s coverage of the issue.
Murdoch himself told New York Post editor Col Allan that half of what Trump said was harmful and not true. “Sounds crazy to me,” Carlson wrote in a message to the rest of the nightly anchors about the claim that Dominion voting machines “stole” the election.
As Trump’s effort to contest the election loss dragged on, Fox News executives realized the claims risked a backlash from viewers. “We can’t make people think we’ve turned against Trump,” a producer on Carlson’s team wrote in a message to another colleague.
However, there was a fear that the public would opt for other right-wing news channels, such as Newsmax. Carlson even said the channel was “playing with fire,” in an alternative that could be “disastrous.” According to Dominion’s lawsuit, it was financial motivation that drove the decision to continue airing election denial that the station knew was false.
The company will have to prove that Fox News knew the campaign allegations were false and caused significant damage to its reputation and business interests. After the aggregate files were made public, the channel issued a statement saying the company’s lawyers “paint an inaccurate picture”, selecting quotes “without context” and with “irrelevant” facts.