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Could This Be the End of Fox News?

President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Fox News Has a Problem: Dominion Voting Systems is suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in damages.


Fox News Has Drama

Dominion alleges that Fox committed defamation when the conservative news network promoted conspiracy theories about Dominion’s voting machine and related fraud.

To support the defamation claim, Dominion is pointing to text messages and internal emails it says were sent between Fox personalities including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham.

In a brief filed by Dominion, a number of these alleged messages are detailed.

Tucker Carlson, Fox News host and one of the most prominent voices in conservative America, texted his producer two days after the 2020 election to say that Fox’s projection of Biden winning in Arizona (which the Trump camp disparaged) would cause long-lasting problems for Fox.

Here are some of the text messages Dominion cites:

“We worked really hard to build what we have,” Carlson wrote. “Those f**** are destroying our credibility. It enrages me.” 

Pfeiffer is then cited as texting back that “many on ‘our side’ are being reckless demagogues right now.”

“Of course, they are,” Carlson responded, according to the filing. “We’re not going to follow them.”

Carlson then reportedly wrote Pfeiffer again to say that Trump needed to admit “that there wasn’t enough fraud to change the outcome [of the election]” and that Trump was “lying” about having evidence of election fraud.

Internally, Fox sent a “fact checks” message in November 2020 saying that there was “not evidence of widespread fraud” with respect to the Dominion allegations. 

Fox Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt reportedly said “no reasonable person would have thought that” the rigged election claims were credible. And Sean Hannity, one of Fox’s most prominent hosts, said “I did not believe it for one second,” according to the brief.

So we have an idea of what was going on behind the scenes at Fox. The most important players in the network seemed to be rolling their eyes at the idea that voter fraud had been committed. Yet on camera, Fox barged ahead, promoting the idea to their 1.6 million primetime viewers that Dominion’s voting machines were flawed.

Naturally, Dominion is angry off. 

“Fox knew. From the top down, Fox knew ‘the Dominion stuff’ was ‘total bs,’” the Dominion lawsuit reads.

“Yet despite knowing the truth — or at minimum, recklessly disregarding that truth — Fox spread and endorsed these ‘outlandish voter fraud claims’ about Dominion even as it internally recognized the lies as ‘crazy,’ ‘absurd,’ and ‘shockingly reckless.’”

What Does It Mean for Fox?

The $1.6 billion suit is nothing to scoff at, especially considering that Dominion seems to have a respectable claim.

Yet, Fox has a net worth of over $17 billion. Win or lose, Fox will be all right financially.

The more compelling question is whether the lawsuit will impeach Fox’s credibility amongst Fox consumers. Again, win or lose, Fox is going to be alright.

Fox News consumers, as a group, seem zealous and committed to the network.

A defamation lawsuit against Fox — especially a defamation lawsuit related to coverage of a conspiracy theory (voter fraud in the 2020 election) that many conservatives have bought into, is not likely to push Fox consumers away from Fox.

Instead, the lawsuit may reinforce the notion that there was a conspiracy theory and a concerted cover-up.

Really, the only thing that has pushed consumers away from Fox is the perception that Fox’s coverage is not conservative enough

Yes, it seems clear that Fox lied to its viewers.

It seems clear that on the inside, Fox knew the claims against Dominion were nonsense, and that it went ahead and promoted those claims nonetheless.

But don’t expect that to sink Fox.  

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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.



  1. philip pilewski

    February 28, 2023 at 9:55 pm

    If we had a real justice system Fox would have lost its broadcast rights many years ago.

  2. TheDon

    February 28, 2023 at 11:07 pm

    Predictable the day democrats won the election.
    Just another way to try to prevent republican campaining.

    Demo cities are getting what they vote for.
    Reparations, paying loans for worthless degrees, its all made up for votes and will never happen.

    Fox is opposite cnn.
    Nice to have a mix.
    Personally…dont watch either.
    BBC ans economist provide real news.

  3. Jason in Georgia

    March 1, 2023 at 9:49 am

    The real issue with the 2020 election was the information market, in general, in the leadup.

    If Fox News is uniquely guilty for defaming Dominion, the entire liberal establishment squelched all legitimate news and commentary which questioned the Biden family on very real grounds. I have no question that threw a close election, making the 2020 election, indeed, “illegitimate.”

    Fox News may pay a high toll for this mess; perhaps they should. The entire nation has paid for a far larger fraud perpetrated guilt-free by a far wider cast of bad actors.

    So you can toss an election by collusion of traditional and social media without fear of reprisal – this is what I’ve learned.

    If Dominion deserves $1.6 super large, shouldn’t Donald Trump be given a far larger amount?

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