The biggest media story of the year – or even the century – is the billion dollar defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting systems against Fox News. Recent disclosures in court filings have unmasked just how brazenly Fox News has deceived their viewers by repeatedly lying on air about matters for which they privately held diametrically opposing views.
For weeks following the Dominion filings, Fox News refused to even bring up the subject of the lawsuit. Then their chief media correspondent, Howard Kurtz, addressed it briefly on his Sunday program, MediaBuzz. However, his only comments were to tell his audience that he was not going to be reporting on the lawsuit because he had been forbidden to by Fox editors and executives.
Apparently that censorious edict has been revoked and Kurtz was given some sort of conditional permission to cover the story. So he did so in the most Fox-ish manner possible. Which means that he was overtly dishonest in his starkly biased presentation that looked like it was written by the Fox News PR department. What follows are some of the lowlights of Kurtz’s whitewashing coverage (video below).
Kurtz began by defending the indefensible saying that “there is a crucial First Amendment argument here involving the coverage of unsubstantiated claims of 2020 election fraud by Donald Trump and his allies.” That’s patently false. The First Amendment prohibits Congress from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Dominion is not Congress. Furthermore, Dominion is not seeking to censor Fox News. They are suing for damages due to Fox’s purposeful and repeated defamation, which is not protected by the First Amendment.
Kurtz then quotes from a Fox News statement saying that “Dominion has been caught red-handed using more distortions and misinformation in their PR campaign to smear Fox News and trample on free speech and freedom of the press.” Nothing in that statement is true. Dominion was not “caught red-handed,” and Kurtz doesn’t bother to substantiate any of its charges of “distortions and misinformation.” Yet somehow, Kurtz asserts that his framing of the “facts” will be fair to both sides…
“Now I’m going to give you both sides, but let me say this: Fox’s critics and competitors are denouncing the network, and many of them are rooting not just for Fox to lose the suit, but to be wiped out as a company because they can’t stand the mostly conservative view of a relative handful of opinion hosts”
Notice that Kurtz immediately contradicts his own assertion to give both sides. The criticism of competitors is completely irrelevant to the misconduct that Fox has been engaging in. If Fox News were a legitimate news enterprise, they would tell the truth regardless of what their competitors are saying. And the claim that only “a relative handful of opinion hosts” are disgorging conservative views is pure fiction. Fox’s alleged “journalists” (i.e. Brett Baier) were shown to be just as dishonest as Sean Hannity in the Dominion filings. Even so, Fox’s opinion hosts are the highest rated personalities on the network, so their lies carry more weight than unknown field reporters.
Kurtz went on to soft-pedal Fox’s deceit saying that “The heart of dominion’s suit is a gap” between what hosts said on the air and what they said privately among each other. Referring to Fox’s outright lying as merely a “gap” is like referring to the Grand Canyon as a pothole. Kurtz is deliberately underplaying the severity of Fox’s corruption. And he spent the remainder of his remarks spewing defenses for it. For instance, Kurtz said that…
“There was, to be sure, straight reporting by the news division, which also caused some friction, but the fact that some people in the chain of command privately dismissed the fraud claims as nuts or outlandish or insane doesn’t necessarily mean Fox couldn’t cover and comment on the extremely newsworthy spectacle of a president saying an election was stolen.”
Actually, no reputable media organization would allow a reporter to cover a story they were caught lying about. What’s more, the problem wasn’t that Fox was “covering” what Donald Trump and others said about election fraud. The problem was that the Fox News hosts were endorsing the fraud allegations themselves. That isn’t journalism, it’s propaganda.
In conclusion, Kurtz – still claiming to be fair to both sides – closed with a comment by Fox’s CEO, Lachlan Murdoch, who said that…
“The network has an obligation to report the news fairly. I think a lot of the noise you hear about this case is actually not about the law, and is not about journalism, and is really about the politics.”
Really? For Murdoch to brag about Fox’s “obligation to report the news fairly” after what the Dominion lawsuit has revealed is preposterous. That has never been the mission of Fox News, and the recent disclosures of their internal communications proves that it isn’t now. Not when you have their hosts knowingly deceiving viewers and spreading flagrant falsehoods that undermine democracy and foment violence.
- In Dominion v Fox News, Network Cries ‘We Can’t Make People Think We’ve Turned Against Trump’
- Hannity Admits in Fox News Lawsuit that ‘I Did Not Believe [Trump’s Big Lie] for One Second’
- Tucker Carlson Hysterically Hypes Bogus Election ‘Fraud’ Film By Convicted Election Fraudster
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