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Why It Matters that Fox News Stars Knew Trump's Election Lies Were B.S.

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 22, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 22, 2023 |


Last week, much was made about the fact that Fox News stars Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity — among others — privately knew that Donald Trump’s election lies were bullsh*t. The people responsible for reporting the news were calling their own guests and their election claims “mind-blowingly nuts,” “totally off the rails” and “complete bs.” Off the air, Tucker Carlson even called Trump “a demonic force, a destroyer.”

“Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It’s insane,” Tucker Carlson told Laura Ingraham of the Trump lawyer leading the election lie conspiracy. “Sidney is a complete nut,” Ingraham responded. “No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy.”

“It’s unbelievably offensive to me. Our viewers are good people and they believe it,” Carlson replied. Indeed, after Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden and their viewers quickly turned against them, instead of reporting the news accurately, the leading voices on Fox News catered the news to their viewers’ interest because they were concerned that they’d abandon them en masse for networks that told them what they wanted to hear, like Newsmax or OAN. They continued to feature Sidney Powell and Rudy on their programs.

One network executive at Fox News even said that Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Jeanne Pirro’s programs were not credible sources of news.

None of this is particularly surprising to anyone outside of the Fox News bubble, but it did trigger a rash of headlines accusing Fox News and its stars of hypocrisy, not that it would matter to Fox News viewers since the lies weren’t reported on the network and they have no other source for their news. If they saw those headlines, they’d probably assume they were lies peddled by the mainstream media.

However, beyond our ability to point and laugh at their lies and hypocrisy, the lies also suggest that Fox News is going to get its ass kicked in court and potentially lose the $1.6 billion lawsuit filed against it by Dominion Voting Systems, a voting technology company.

For Dominion to succeed in its defamation lawsuit against Fox News, it needs to prove two things: That Fox News lied about its Dominion fraud conspiracies, and that it did so with actual malice. The “actual malice” standard is why it’s so difficult in the United States for public figures to win defamation lawsuits against media organizations: Proving that Fox News acted with actual malice or reckless disregard for the truth is a high legal standard.

However, all of these statements from Carlson, Ingraham, and Hannity — among others — illustrate that they knew that the election conspiracies were lies and reported on them anyway, which proves they acted in reckless disregard of the truth. They knew they were lying, and they did it anyway, which makes it likely that a jury will side with Dominion. If Dominion succeeds in its $1.6 billion trial against Fox News, Smartmatic — another voting technology company — may also succeed in its $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, as well. $4.3 billion in legal costs — assuming that punitive damages are not piled on — is not a small amount of money for a corporation that is worth $18 billion. Would it take down Fox News? Probably not. Would it be immensely satisfying? Absolutely. (The same lawsuits, meanwhile, could take down smaller networks like Newsmax or OAN, although ironically, their chances at winning those suits are probably smaller because the nutcases that work on those networks may have actually believed the election fraud conspiracies).