The Republican Party’s almost full-throated support of the Trump-led disinformation campaign concerning our 2020 elections continues to have legal repercussions for the propaganda ministers in media that have been the amplifiers of these lies. Fox News continues to be embroiled in a very expensive, and very well-substantiated, defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems.
Regardless of the outcome, the trial has revealed how duplicitous and craven the entire Fox News organization is in regards to the truth and the news. Unsealed and unredacted documents from the defamation trial continue to come forward. They contain a recent set of emails from top Fox News personnel, including the head honcho himself: Rupert Murdoch.
For example, on Jan. 20, 2021, the day President Joe Biden was inaugurated, Murdoch sent an email in which he wrote to Fox News Media Chief Executive Suzanne Scott: “The more I think about McConnell’s remarks or complaint, the more I agree. Trump insisting on the election being stolen and convincing 25 percent of Americans was a huge disservice to the country. Pretty much a crime. Inevitable it blew up Jan. 6th. Best we don’t mention his name unless essential and certainly don’t support him. We have to respect people of principle and if it comes to the Senate, don’t take sides. I know he is being over-demonized, but he brought it on himself.”
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Murdoch’s wishy-washy walk between McConnell’s establishment and the fascist-forward MAGA-wing represented by Trump is a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking when one reads about how he and others attacked anyone on their network who pushed back against the election fraud narrative being built up by Trump and other sedition-embracing liars. Murdoch, always the
scumbag stand-up guy, has attempted to keep his nose clean of the matter, as Mark Sumner reported last month on Murdoch’s January deposition in the trial. Murdoch said that Fox writ large didn’t endorse Trump’s Big Lie about the election—just most, if not every single on-air personality did.
Meanwhile, Scott’s emails have also been made public. They show that the top dog at the propaganda network was very actively chastising hosts in December 2020 for even lightly fact-checking Trump’s egregiously false claims of election rigging, writing an email to show producers on the channel with the subject headline “Re: Fox News’ Eric Shawn Fact-Checks Trump ‘Dump’ Claims”:
I’m going to address this with you and Jay and Lowell tomorrow.
This is bad business and there clearly is a lack of understanding what is happening in these shows.
The audience is furious and we are just feeding them material.
Bad for business.
Other correspondence from Scott seem to support the narrative that she didn’t care about what was true or not true as much as she cared about retaining subscribers, writing that if they hadn’t made the right call on Arizona going to Biden, they really could have milked the ratings: “Listen, it’s one of the sad realities: If we hadn’t called Arizona those three or four days following Election Day, our ratings would have been bigger. The mystery would have been still hanging out there.”
Murdoch also admitted during his January deposition that he told Scott to stop putting Trump on the network. But part of what makes Fox News Fox News is that they have no shame when everything is said and done. After pretending to try and distance themselves from the disgraced former guy, they welcomed him back to do one of his famous pathological lying interviews with on-air bottom feeder Sean Hannity.
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