The fallout from Fox News firing their Senior White Nationalist, Tucker Carlson, continues to cast dark shadows on the network that tolerated and embraced his hate speech and lies for so many years. Apparently terminating Carlson after agreeing to settle the defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems for 3/4 of a billion dollars was only the beginning of their problems.
This week Media Matters acquired some videos of Carlson that further exposed his racism, as well as the animosity he had for his own colleagues at Fox News who he thought weren’t sufficiently repellent. These videos revealed Carlson maligning his former employer, saying “I don’t want to be a slave to Fox Nation. [and that] Nobody watches Fox Nation because the site sucks.” Additionally, there were text messages wherein he complained about having been deposed by Dominion’s lawyers and criticized violent Trump supporters because “It’s not how white men fight.”
On Friday Fox News sent Media Matters a “cease and desist” letter demanding that they stop publishing these videos. The letter said…
“We write on behalf of Fox Corporation to clarify any misunderstandings Media Matters may have had regarding previously unaired footage that Media Matters has published in a series of articles headlined ‘Foxleaks.’ That unaired footage is Fox’s confidential intellectual property; Fox did not consent to its distribution or publication; and Fox does not consent to its further distribution or publication. This proprietary material was given to you without Fox’s authorization. Fox demands that Media Matters cease and desist from distribution, publication, and misuse of Fox’s misappropriated proprietary footage, which you are now on notice was unlawfully obtained. We reserve all rights and remedies.”
— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) May 5, 2023
Seriously? First of all, Media Matters is well within their rights as a journalistic enterprise to publish these videos. Fox’s threat is empty and unsupported by the law, and particularly the Constitution.
What’s more, Fox News is a frequent exploiter of what they have insisted is their First Amendment rights to publish similarly obtained materials. They have had no problem with publishing private emails from Hillary Clinton, or text messages of FBI agent Peter Strzok, or the sort of videos that Project Veritas produced by secretly recording people that they purposefully deceived. Consequently, it is more likely that the source of these videos is actually Fox News. They have to incentive to dirty up Carlson before he lands at some other media outfit and starts smearing Fox.
Nevertheless, Fox News thinks they can intimidate Media Matters to prevent them from providing information that is relevant and important to the public regarding the state of affairs at Fox News. But Media Matters wasn’t intimidated. They released a response that brilliantly rejected Fox’s feeble threat.
“Reporting on newsworthy leaked material is a cornerstone of journalism. For Fox to argue otherwise is absurd and further dispels any pretense that they’re a news operation. Perhaps if I tell them that the footage came from a combination of WikiLeaks and Hunter Biden’s laptop, it will alleviate their concerns.”
— Media Matters (@mmfa) May 5, 2023
OUCH! It’s unlikely that even proving that Fox News is brazenly hypocritical will “alleviate their concerns.” That’s because Fox’s concerns are rooted in their deeply held, ultra-rightist biases, and not in any logic, reason or facts. Which is one of the reasons why Fox is currently suffering the worst downtrend in their ratings in more than ten years. And ridiculous measures like this to try to censor their critics isn’t going to make anything better for them. Just imagine what would come out in any trial if Fox followed through with this threat.
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