Late Thursday a court filing was released. In the court filing, it becomes evident that top executives and leading hosts at Fox News alike had privately dismissed former President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud following the 2020 presidential election results. In the filing, it is also shown that the network was worried that trying to fact-check the then-President’s allegations might have an effect on their audience appeal.
In text messages, hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham referred to the allegations of voter fraud as “insane,” however they did debate how refuting the claims might affect their appeal to conservative viewers.
Correspondence and testimony from top talent and executives at Fox News have now been made publicly available as they are part of an ongoing defamation lawsuit pursued by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News and its parent company. Dominion Voting Systems is looking for $1.6 billion in damages, claiming that Fox’s broadcasting of these claims which they previously knew to be false led to losses for the company. However, Fox has claimed that as these were the President’s allegations regarding voter fraud they would be considered newsworthy and as such, they would have reported it. The network had also previously tried to get the case dismissed on First Amendment grounds.
In a statement released by the network, they noted that regardless of the “noise and confusion generated by Dominion” this case is about freedom of press and freedom of Speech. They noted that both of these are protected by the Constitution and the landmark case New York Times v. Sullivan.