Letters to the Editor
April 27, 2023

To the Editor:

You know by now that Tucker Carlson is out at Fox, fired at the direction of owner Rupert Murdoch. Carlson and other hosts and execs (including Murdoch) have cost the network nearly $790 million in a settlement reached last week with Dominion Voting Systems. It is the largest known media defamation settlement in US history.

Regarding the settlement, the network issued a statement that it “acknowledges the Court’s rulings finding certain [Fox] claims about Dominion to be false, “referring to the judge’s ruling that, as a matter of fact Fox repeatedly permitted on-air claims of election fraud by Dominion despite knowing that they were false. The only issue to be tried was the award of damages. The settlement did not require Fox to admit on-air that it spread lies.

In Dominion’s discovery process, they obtained mass incendiary texts, emails and deposition testimony that were made public, and they were damning for Fox. The witness list included Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Maria Bartiromo, all of whom were spared cross examination and the alarming prospect of having their private conversations revealed in open court.

Tucker Carlson had texted that he “passionately hates Donald Trump,” whose presidency was a “disaster.” Privately, Fox management and hosts called MAGA claims of a stolen election “mind-blowingly nuts,” “dangerously reckless” “really crazy,” “bogus,” “asinine,” and “bullshit.” But Fox hosts continually reported on-air as “newsworthy,” without challenge, what they knew to be false election fraud allegations from Trump, Rudy, Powell and others.

Sadly, by settling Dominion foreclosed further public exposure of the network’s dishonesty. Fortunately, a rival company, Smartmatic USA, is headed toward trial on the same issue with the same discovered facts. Fox investors are pursuing their own lawsuits alleging that the Murdochs and Fox board members were derelict in allowing Fox to promote election lies and harming the network’s reputation as a “news organization.”

Fox has been a “safe space” where viewers could rely on hearing only what they wanted to hear. Apparently, outrage and resentment are comforting, but anything that produces anxiety or doubt causes defection to another news source. Fox has conceded that what they report is often unsubstantiated or untrue, designed to attract certain right-wing viewers.
Fox is hoping and trusting that viewers won’t care that they played them for revenues.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca