Fox News Settles With Dominion for $787 Million, Averting Defamation Trial Over Its 2020 Election Lies


Fox News reached a last-second settlement with Dominion Voting Systems on Tuesday as the case raced toward opening statements, paying more than $787 million to end a colossal two-year legal battle that publicly shredded the right-wing network’s credibility.

Fox News’ $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems is the largest publicly known defamation settlement in US history involving a media company. [...]

The right-wing network said in a statement that it “acknowledge[s] the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,” referring to Davis’ recent ruling that 20 Fox News broadcasts from late 2020 contained blatantly untrue assertions that Dominion rigged the presidential election. But Fox won’t have to admit on-air that it spread lies about Dominion, a Dominion representative told CNN.

The $787.5 million payout is roughly half of the $1.6 billion that Dominion initially sought, though it is nearly 10 times the company’s valuation from 2018, and roughly eight times its annual revenue in 2021, according to court filings.

What a gift to humanity this lawsuit has been.

On the face of it, it makes no sense that anyone still watches Fox News. But that assumes that people choose their news sources based on trustworthiness and a desire to learn the truth. That’s how and why I pick my news sources. It’s probably how and why you do too. But Fox News appeals to a whole swath of people who have an entirely different mindset.

Fox News addicts justify their continuing viewership on the grounds that, more or less, “everyone does it” — that MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, etc. all blatantly lie to their viewers/readers in the same way Dominion proved that Fox News lies to its viewers. They’re all liars and thieves, every system is rigged, and everyone in a position of power or authority is crooked. It’s a form of nihilism that, I think, explains exactly how Trump got elected and how he still has significant electoral support. If you believe everyone is a corrupt liar, you might as well vote for the corrupt liar who (a) is on your side in the culture wars, and (b) wears his corruption and dishonesty on his shirtsleeve. And might as well keep watching the cable “news” network that’s on your side in the culture wars, proven liars or not.

Fox is paying a serious price here, but I suspect it’s purely financial, not attention.

Tuesday, 18 April 2023