Latest Dominion Doc Dump Shows Big Mens Rea Energy At Fox
In some sense, the Dominion Voting Systems defamation suit against Fox News was always ridiculous. The voting machine company was acquired by State Street Capital in 2018 for less than $100 million -- it cannot possibly have suffered $1.6 billion in damages as alleged in the 2021 complaint filed in Delaware Superior Court.
At the same time, the downside for Fox seems almost limitless. Even if the network wins in front of a jury, it will have suffered incalculable reputational harm, with its embarrassing internal communications splashed across every front page in America. And that's before we even get to the six-week, live-streamed jury trial, during which every major star and executive at Fox, up to and including Rupert Murdoch, will be forced to sit for humiliating testimony.
As ATL columnist Mark Herrmann noted earlier this week, there is no logical reason for this case to go to trial.
And yet ... here we are. Thousands of jurors are being summoned for an April 17 hearing date; the parties have already spent tens of millions of dollars in legal fees; and Fox has submitted to a year's worth of discovery which Dominion is doling out in delicious, searing morsels. Quite apart from whether Dominion can prove its case to a jury, it has already proved to the public that Fox is not and has never functioned as a real "news" outlet, with Exhibit A being the massive freakout at Fox over the network's correct call of Arizona for Biden, which royally pissed off viewers used to a digital safe space, shielded from uncomfortable truths by a cocoon of righteous outrage. Even supposedly "straight" news anchors Brett Baier and John Roberts demanded that the network rescind the call to appease the furious crowd.
Last night Dominion upped the pain for Fox with another doc dump.
Among other hilarious revelations, Tucker Carlson, who spent this week trying to prove that the Capitol Riot defendants were just peaceful tourists, confessed to hating Trump "passionately," adding, "What he's good at is destroying things. He's the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong."
Rupert Murdoch similarly confessed that the network held off on reporting Biden's electoral college victory until other outlets had called it because "you would rather not have Trump as an enemy" and "being second saves us a Trump explosion!"
Indeed Murdoch emailed constantly, including with Jared Kushner, apparently documenting every thought and sharing it with his consiglieris, a habit which made it harder for him to deny in deposition that he had ever given any credit to the election fraud lies being flogged on his airwaves.
And the Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham group text remains a source of high comedy, with the trio complaining bitterly about the news side pissing off the audience with accurate reporting that undercut the primetime hosts' wildly inaccurate claims about election fraud.
"We are all working for an organization that hates us," Ingraham whined on November 16, "The people of news."
"We devote our lives to building an audience, and they let Chris Wallace and Leland fucking Vittert wreck it," Carlson huffed.
"I think the three of us have enormous power," Ingraham went on, no doubt to the great delight of the attorneys tasked with proving just how damaging the tremendous trio's misstatements were to the plaintiff. "We have more power than we know or we exercise."
"We should all think about how together we can force a change," she went on, suggesting that their aggregated clout might be wielded to force those annoying jerks on the news side to quit alienating the viewers with so much actual news.
This appeared to be a continuation of an earlier conversation on November 13, when she proposed a "prime time walkout" on grounds of "fraud in the inducement." Ingraham, who clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and actually practiced law at Skadden, Arps, proposed a theory of "fraud in the inducement" because "when we signed they sold the network as a conservative alternative ... It is now the opposite, and it is hurting all of our individual brands."
Meanwhile, it was beginning to dawn on management that there might be a price to pay for trying to hold off Newsmax by giving oxygen to Trump's Big Lie.
"FOX is looking at a potential legal dispute with Smartmatic. (Dominion voting-related)," executive Mary Schlageter wrote on December 11. "We need to look at all the times Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, Alan Dershowitz and Rona McDaniel came on FNC/FBN and addressed the questions that were raised about Dominion voting and Smartmatic machines."
"The potential legal dispute is claiming that we did not challenge the narrative being put out by Giuliani, Powell et al that the Dominion vote machines / Smartmatic were responsible for switching votes and/or producing inaccurate results," she went on. "Sometimes we didn't. But we are looking for the times we DID challenge this narrative."
Schlageter concluded by admitting that her team shouldn't waste time looking for pushback on the false election claims on "shows like Dobbs, Hannity, etc." but should instead concentrate on "straight-er news shows."
Well, it's not great. Luckily there's probably only ten thousand more pages where that came from.
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics