Dominion Voting Lawsuit Against Fox News Continues to Unfold

   In March 2021, Dominion Voting Systems, which produces machines for casting and counting ballots as well as software to track election results, filed a lawsuit against Fox News for $1.6 billion. The company alleges that in the weeks following the 2020 election, Fox News spread false information regarding the company’s involvement in a plot to steal the election from former President Donald Trump. 

     It all started when Trump-aligned lawyer Sidney Powell appeared as a guest on Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo’s show, where Powell discussed “evidence of fraud” relating to the Dominion machines. According to ABC News, in the following weeks, Powell and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani appeared on several Fox shows to repeat these claims, despite their lack of evidence. The allegations quickly spread throughout right-wing news networks that Dominion was built by associates of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to rig elections and that its machines switched millions of votes from Trump to Biden. 

     ABC News reports that Dominion denied these claims and tried to appeal directly to Fox, but the damage had already been done. The company launched defamation action against Giuliani and Powell in January 2021, and later sued Fox in March. 

Many private conversations including texts and emails among the network’s top stars have come to light as a result of the lawsuit. Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity were all revealed to have mocked the Dominion claims privately, while denouncing colleagues who questioned them publicly. 

     The New York Times reports that in many of Carlson’s texts, he had expressed his hatred for Donald Trump, and referred to the election fraud claims as “totally off the rails.” Hannity was revealed in a text message to have called the people promoting these claims “F’ing lunatics.” Carlson also called for a colleague to be fired after she fact-checked Trump’s false claims about election theft because it was “hurting the company’s stock price.” Rupert Murdoch, Fox Corporation’s chairman, called the voter fraud allegations “really crazy stuff,” The New York Times reports. 

     According to NBC News, Abby Grossberg, former senior producer and head of booking for Tucker Carlson, sued Fox last week for coercing her into giving a misleading testimony about the network’s election fraud coverage. She expressed that she was coached into giving misleading testimony by Fox’s legal team. She was then fired from Fox on Friday. These revelations, with likely more to come as the trial progresses, have led some people to question the integrity of Fox News reporters, and how much of their content is just performative for their viewers.