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Now it’s official: Fox News is fake news!
Wednesday, 15 March 2023 20:50
By BILL PRESS
Syndicated Columnist


From its creation by Rupert Murdoch in 1996, Fox News has always been considered an outsider. 

Late-night comics mocked its initial slogan “Fair and Balanced” as “Neither.” 

But most people were willing to accept Fox for what it was: a right-wing television network, the conservatives’ answer to left-leaning MSNBC, with CNN somewhere in the middle.

In fact, in 2009, when the Obama administration announced they were going to “treat them the way we would treat an opponent” and deny Fox News the same access other news outlets enjoyed, members of the White House press corps, myself included, protested. 

Fox might lean right, we argued, but they were still fellow journalists reporting the news, and deserved the same access enjoyed by CBS, ABC, CNN and other networks.

But that was then, and this is now. Over the years, Fox devolved into ever more of a right-wing voicebox, in both commentary and news gathering, until, during the Trump years, they became nothing more than the propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee.

Yet now we know it’s even worse than we thought. Documents released in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox show that Fox News was not only repeatedly broadcasting Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” about actually winning the 2020 election, they were also trumpeting their own “Big Lie” about rigged voting machines.

Documents filed by Dominion show: that Fox News on-air talent and senior executives knew that claims by Sidney Powell and other Trump attorneys that Dominion voting machines had been rigged (in Venezuela!) in order to switch votes from Trump to Biden were false; that Fox News hosts nevertheless continued to book Powell and others on their programs and directly or indirectly supported their claims; that Fox anchors were privately trashing Powell and others, while publicly lionizing them; that Fox executives knew their on-air talent were lying, yet did nothing to stop them; and that Fox’s entire motivation for broadcasting lies and refusing to tell the truth was to preserve their ratings and protect their bottom line. 

In a nutshell: They knew it was false, but they said it anyway, to stop loyal viewers from changing the channel.

How do we know all of that? From the words of Fox anchors and executives themselves in emails and depositions contained in a 212-page legal brief filed by Dominion in a Delaware state court last week (late February). The evidence is devastating.

Privately, here is some of what Fox personnel were saying about Sidney Powell. 

Laura Ingraham, in an email to Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity on Nov. 15, 2020: “Sidney Powell is a bit nuts. Sorry, but she is.” 

On Nov. 16, 2020 Carlson to producer Alex Pfeiffer: “Sidney Powell is lying.” 

Senior Vice President Raj Shah to Pfeiffer: “So many people openly denying the obvious that Powell is full of it.” 

Lou Dobbs producer John Fawcett worried that Powell “could be losing her mind” and might also be doing “LSD and cocaine and heroin and shrooms.”

Publicly, it was another story. On his program, Lou Dobbs hailed Powell as a “great American” and “one of the country’s leading appellate attorneys.” 

Maria Bartiromo welcomed her back with praise: “Attorney Sidney Powell is leading the charge against Dominion and she says she has enough evidence of fraud to launch a massive criminal investigation.” 

Even Carlson, who alone among Fox hosts did question Powell’s claims on air, added he was still “hopeful” she would come up with some hard evidence.

And why would Fox executives continue to allow their on-air talent to broadcast conspiracy theories they knew were false? 

Again, the emails and depositions released by Dominion leave no doubt. 

Fox was afraid its Trump-crazy viewers would switch to even-more extreme right-wing outlets like One America News and Newsmax.

The most damaging testimony came from Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch himself, who admitted under oath that Fox News hosts had not only aired false reports about vote machine fraud, but had “endorsed” them; that “I could have, but I didn’t” order Fox hosts to stop spreading the lie; and that he had personally given Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner inside information on ads the Biden campaign would be running on Fox.

I’m no lawyer. I don’t know whether Dominion will succeed in winning its lawsuit. But I do know this. Dominion’s already succeeded in destroying any shred of credibility Fox News had left. 

Call it propaganda. Call it Fake News. Call it Pravda. 

But don’t call it a legitimate news organization.

© 2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC
 



 


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