Fox and Murdochs lose another round in US$1.6b court case over channel’s Trump-inspired ‘rigged’ election reports

Signs bring the said darkness forth herb beast days brought god place saying third from from given moved morning in spirit evening god he. Forth two moving creature signs meat midst void meat.

The Myth in the Desert
Thalesburry

Block title

Fox and Murdochs lose another round in US$1.6b court case over channel’s Trump-inspired ‘rigged’ election reports

A US judge has given Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch more bad news in the suit brought by Dominion Voting Systems: sorry, guys, the case goes on.

Glenn Dyer writes in Crikey

Fox News, Fox Corporation and Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch continue to lose badly in the continuing US$1.6 billion defamation action brought against them by the voting machine company pilloried on the right-wing news channel for being party to the “rigged” 2020 presidential election.

After losing part of the case last December when Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M Davis ruled Dominion Voting Systems could sue Fox News Network in the first substantive round of the case, the Foxettes and the Murdoch men received bad news from the same judge on Tuesday.

Davis rejected a motion by the parent of Fox News Network to dismiss Dominion’s massive defamation action over the network’s 2020 presidential election coverage. He said in his judgment that the voting machine company can sue Fox Corp, Fox News’ parent company based on the theory it was directly liable for statements on the Fox News network.

As Bloomberg’s Erik Larson and Mike Leonard reported, Davis said Fox Corporation could be sued by Dominion “because Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch may have acted with ‘actual malice’ in directing the network to broadcast conspiracy theories alleging the 2020 presidential election was rigged”.

Davis cited reports that Murdoch privately expressed he knew Donald Trump had lost the election. He also cited editorials in other Murdoch-run outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, that condemned Trump and encouraged him to accept defeat.

Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch “allegedly made a ‘business calculation’ to spread former president Trump’s narrative through Fox News even though they did not personally believe it”, he wrote, citing Dominion’s filings. “Thus Fox Corporation’s employees and officers allegedly had ‘direct responsibility’ for airing the statements about Dominion.

“These allegations support a reasonable inference that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch either knew Dominion had not manipulated the election or at least recklessly disregarded the truth when they allegedly caused Fox News to propagate its claims about Dominion.

“Thus Dominion has successfully brought home actual malice to the individuals at Fox Corporation who it claims to be responsible for the broadcasts.”

Dominion accused Fox of trying to avoid viewer defections to conservative rivals Newsmax and One America News by amplifying false theories that the company rigged the 2020 election so Republican Trump would lose to Democrat Joe Biden.

In legal filings, Dominion cited media reports saying Fox News “allegedly sought and gained the direct approval of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch before calling Arizona for Biden” — an election-night victory that drastically narrowed Trump’s chances of victory. In the subsequent days, Fox News viewership plummeted dramatically while more fringe right-wing media organisations, Newsmax and One America News, gained popularity as they denied the reality of Biden’s victory.

Dominion alleged the executives of Fox Corporation believed Fox News would benefit if it endorsed Trump’s election fraud narrative and suffer if it did not. Thus the executives of Fox Corporation “‘pressur[ed]’ Fox News to ‘lure the Fox audience back home’ and ‘encouraged’ on-air personalities to perpetuate false claims about Dominion, and Fox Corporation ‘rewarded’ those at Fox News who complied with the alleged instructions and ‘punished’ those who did not”, Davis wrote, summarising Dominion’s arguments.

Some theories were floated by Trump mates, such as lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and included claims that votes were changed through algorithms created in Venezuela to rig elections for that country’s late president Hugo Chavez.

In court papers, Dominion claimed that Fox Corp, through chairman Rupert Murdoch and chief executive Lachlan Murdoch, directly participated in, approved and controlled the network’s election coverage and its aftermath.

Without ruling on the merits, Davis said the allegations permitted “reasonable” inferences that Fox Corp acted with malice and proximately caused Dominion’s alleged damages.

“Dominion has adequately pleaded actual malice with respect to Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch,” Davis wrote.

He dismissed separate claims against Fox Broadcasting Company and fraud allegations published on Fox.com, saying Dominion’s allegations against it were insufficient.

Tuesday’s court decision raises the stakes for Fox News’s legal battles over 2020 election falsehoods. Dominion’s lawsuit is set to go to trial in April 2023. Fox News is separately facing a US$2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic, a rival election technology company also caught up in Trump’s election conspiracy theories, which is in court in New York.

This article was originally published by Crikey.

Glenn Dyer is Crikey’s business and media correspondent.

The professional classes make billion-dollar tax rorts possible

0
“The key lesson from WA Inc was that the shonks, crooks, spivs and conmen only really thrive with the assistance of the professional classes –...

The minister who survived Barfgate with the Barilaros makes one slip...

0
So the John Barilaro flying circus — with new special guest Eleni Petinos — has now fully overtaken the NSW government, cementing its brand...

ICAC finding puts MPs on notice over misuse of public money

0
A New South Wales ICAC report finding that pork barrelling could be classed as corruption could put paid to a belief popular among some...

Mutually assured corruption

0
What is most curious about John Barilaro is the honesty of his politics. Not in the conventional sense of integrity or commitment to the...

Footy, horses and the whiff of an affair: the Barilaro scandal...

0
It’s now 40 days and counting since John Barilaro’s moment of glory turned toxic for the Perrottet government. The former NSW deputy premier’s get-the-fuck-out-of-here...

The professional classes make billion-dollar tax rorts possible

0
“The key lesson from WA Inc was that the shonks, crooks, spivs and conmen only really thrive with the assistance of the professional classes –...

Political donations reform is overdue — Labor shouldn’t waste time with inquiries

0
Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell’s commitment to lowering the political donation disclosure threshold to $1000 and requiring real-time reporting of donations is a welcome...

What the oil and gas industry tells itself

0
Royce Kurmelovs reportsOn day two, Kevin Gallagher stepped to the main stage at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, where the oil and gas...

Unfair? Unethical? or Corrupt? ‘Personal’ donations to the Liberal Party came from vaping lobby...

0
A national vaping lobby group donated a total of $44,000 to the Liberal Party but the money was declared as personal gifts from its...

Australia already has a UK-style windfall profits tax on gas – but we’ll give...

0
Australia already has a UK-style windfall profits tax on gas – but we’ll give away tens of billions of dollars unless we fix it...