As Fox News faces daily revelations from the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems, yet another defamation suit against has been given the go ahead by a court, and this one is considered to be even more dangerous than the Dominion case.
The Guardian reports on the second lawsuit, which has been filed by Smartmatic and is seeking $2.7 billion in damages.
Smartmatic claims that more than 100 false statements were broadcast by Fox News hosts and guests. Smartmatic was falsely said to have been involved in 2020 election counts in six battleground states – in fact, it was present only at the count in Los Angeles county.
Fox broadcast that Smartmatic shared its technology with Dominion, when in fact the two companies had no communication and regarded each other as rivals. Smartmatic was in cahoots with foreign governments in a conspiracy to rig the vote for Biden, Giuliani said on Bartiromo’s show – a claim that the company disputes as false and defamatory.
Fox also described Smartmatic as having been founded in Venezuela at the behest of corrupt dictators. In fact, it was founded by Antonio Mugica and Roger Piñate in 2000 in Boca Raton, Florida, in the wake of the “hanging chad” fiasco, with the aim of using technology to restore people’s faith in election results.
Fox suggested in a statement that the Smartmatic lawsuit cannot stand up to First Amendment scrutiny:
But the one-two punch of Dominion and Smartmatic would seem to be Fox’s worst nightmare made reality, and the First Amendment doesn’t protect against blatant lies such as the ones Fox is accused of broadcasting.
While both Fox News and Donald Trump have relied on what can best be called a symbiotic (although at times troubled) relationship over the past few years, it seems that those who know the ex-president and his supporters the best at Fox are not impressed with either the Donald or his acolytes.
Such is the takeaway to be found in a fascinating article by Rosalind Helderman and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post, who note that a former top Fox producer compared Trump’s minions as inbred terrorists.
Alex Pfeiffer was a producer for Tucker Carlson’s primetime show on Fox, and text messages between he and former Fox Vice President Raj Shah reveal that they didn’t believe any of the bullshit being spread about the 2020 election being stolen from the disgraced former president.
Shah: “Might wanna address this, but this stuff is so f*cking insane. Vote rigging to the tune of millions? C’mon.”
Pfeiffer: “It is so insane but our viewers believe it so addressing again how her stupid Venezuela affidavit isn’t proof might insult them.”
In another message, Pfeiffer referenced Trump attorney Sidney Powell, who was demanding time on the network to disseminate her lies about election fraud, none of which she was ever able to substantiate with any evidence, leading Pfeiffer to note:
Pfeiffer also thought Carlson was falling for the crap being spun by the Trump team and thought his nightly monologues were little more than propaganda instead of news.
For his part, Shah expressed doubt about the bizarre rantings of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
“This sounds SO F—— CRAZY btw,” wrote Raj Shah, who had served as a senior aide in Donald Trump’s White House for two years before his hiring at Fox. “Rudy looks awful,” a deputy wrote back, prompting Shah to respond that “he objectively looks like he was a dead person voting 2 weeks ago.”
All of these revelations are part of the defamation lawsuit filed against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems, which is seeking $1.6 billion from the network for their part in the 2020 election fraud scheme.
Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy (R) spent most of an interview on Fox News complaining about the budget released this week by President Joe Biden, but was unable to answer when asked why Republicans hadn’t countered with a proposal of their own.
Fox host Shannon Bream was interviewing Kennedy on Sunday and mentioned that Biden had announced his budget would “reduce the deficit, shore up Medicaid and Social Security and make the rich pay their fair share.” She then asked, “So what’s the GOP counter?”
Um, how about answering the question, Senator.
Instead of providing any budget of his own, Kennedy said, “Uh, the only way I know how to improve the president’s budget is with a shredder.”
“Well, we’re waiting to see what Republicans though want to offer in return other than just criticism. Here’s what The New York Times says, how they characterize what they say is coming. They say hard-right House Republicans are readying a plan to gut the nation’s foreign aid budget and make deep cuts to health care, food assistance, and housing programs for poor Americans.
“So again, we’ve got to get to what the GOP counter is.”
Be sure and notice that Kennedy never answered the question. He and his party have no solutions to any of the problems that confront the country.
With Fox News facing the prospect of having to pay billions for lies their hosts told about the 2020 presidential election, one host in particular is on the verge of destroying the network’s already flimsy defense and also winding up being unemployable on any platform.
Maria Bartiromo is most often seen on Fox Business, but also does a Sunday program that appears on Fox News, “Sunday Morning Futures.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that testimony Bartiromo gave as part of the ongoing $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems is damning for Bartriromo and Fox.
Attorneys for Fox have repeatedly asserted that hosts such as Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Ingraham were merely offering their opinions on the 2020 election and never intended them to be statements of fact that require proof.
“In released court documents and deposition testimony connected to the case, Bartiromo is cited throughout for allowing former President Trump’s false claims about 2020 election fraud to air on the network in an effort to stop angry viewers from abandoning the network. Court testimony shows that in the days leading up to and following the 2020 election, colleagues and executives raised questions about Bartiromo’s online activity and expressed concerns that she was influenced by right-wing conspiracy theorists.”
Why is that a problem? Because Bartiromo herself said under oath that she’s a journalist who reports facts, not opinions.
And therein lies the rub:
Even worse for Fox is that Bartiromo also testified “that no one in management did anything to stop her or force her to correct the record.”
“Bartiromo herself made misstatements, such as repeating inaccurate claims that Dominion was owned by voting software company Smartmatic, which is also suing Fox News and other conservative networks for defamation … several Fox News executives in their testimony concurred with Dominion’s assertions that Bartiromo did not challenge any of [Sidney] Powell’s false statements when she appeared on ‘Sunday Morning Futures.’ Bartiromo also admitted that she never presented any evidence to counter Powell’s claims, even though she was provided with correct information provided by Dominion and other Fox News journalists.”
Bartiromo had the facts and the pushback from Dominion, but she chose to believe bullshit conspiracy theories. How’s that for a “straight news” anchor?
Fox is going to lose the Dominion lawsuit. They will likely lose the one filed by Smartmatic, which is for $2.7 billion, too. Punitive damages in both of those suits would bankrupt Fox News. It would also all but guarantee that Maria Bartriomo never works in the media for as long as she walks the face of the planet.
If Dominion Voting Systems prevail in their $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, it could result in a “financial death penalty” for the network, leaving it unable to survive due to a lack of operating capital, according to former prosecutor Katie Phang.
In a column she wrote for MSNBC, Phang notes that “Fox is now trapped in an ever-worsening spiral of lies of its own creation. Time and time again, Fox allegedly trafficked in lies and falsehoods.”
The court filing laying out text messages sent by Fox executives and on-air hosts released this week is especially damning, Phang continues:
“Dominion doesn’t just have the upper hand, it has the truth on its side. If Dominion is successful, then all that would be left to determine is the amount of damages that Dominion is entitled to receive. That’s where the numbers become astronomical. Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in lost profits and reputational harm.”
And then there’s the possibility of punitive damages, which could result in billions more being awarded to Dominion, Phang explains.
“Punitive damages … are not capped under New York state law and could also be in the billions of dollars. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and to deter others from repeating that egregious conduct. And a multi-billion-dollar punitive damages verdict would not just punish Fox News. It would send a ringing message to all media companies to keep themselves in check and uphold the truth.”
Here’s more on the Dominion-Fox lawsuit from MSNBC: