KATIE PHANG (HOST): You said something interesting on Alex Wagner Tonight. You predicted that Fox News could likely see the same demise as OAN did. Is that a fair comparison, Angelo, to do a Fox News to OAN kind of side by side? Is that apples to apples comparison there?
ANGELO CARUSONE (MEDIA MATTERS' PRESIDENT): Yes, from a substantive perspective these days, absolutely. In fact, there were Dominion claims, even if we just look at it in this one instance, there were individual claims that Fox News was continuing to make by the end of December about Dominion and about the election that One America News had actually started to walk back from or correct on their own air. In fact, even though it seems incredible to think about. That’s because they are sort of grandfathered into a much different position in our political media, we think about them differently. But when you line up what happens on One America News and what happens on Fox News, really, the only difference is the production value and the quality of the guests.
PHANG: You will and I are simpatico on a separate thread but an important one about shareholder derivative lawsuits. Shareholder lawsuits against the board for breaches of fiduciary duty, no due diligence, basically knowing that you were walking the value of that company into a black hole of money. What do you think about the viability of those types of lawsuits as being the spinoff, not just the Dominion Voting lawsuits, but the spinoff lawsuits from the shareholders?
CARUSONE: I’m not an optimistic person always, and I live in the fever swamps. I see how mucky all of this can be. But the reality is when you look at it, I do think that what we are seeing right now is sort of the beginning of a series of cascading consequences, and the shareholder lawsuits are an important part of that.
The Murdochs do not have the majority control of this company. They only have about 39%. They do have to rely on shareholders to keep them in power. And shareholders ultimately want some money back. That’s the nature of this business. It is a publicly traded company. And what he was doing there was in some ways trading on profit for power. So this idea that what they were doing, they were doing for profit is a consideration. But really at that moment in time, it was about power. They leave a lot of money on the table. Fox is Fox’s fourth largest paid advertiser because they can’t fill their prime-time inventory with advertisements because of how controversial it has become. And why do they allow that to happen? For power. So if they can show some kind of return for shareholders, shareholders will take action. It’s in their interest to do so. And what unfolded here, their own legal counsel was warning Rupert Murdoch, “Hey, we have to do more. This makes us susceptible." Paul Ryan, who is one of the few non-Murdoch board members —
PHANG: He warned them.
CARUSONE: He did and he even said, “I’m reaching out to you as my fiduciary --." He even used that word. So I think that it is the first, that it will be -- And I've already seen this, by the way. There are already eight law firms who have been collecting shareholders' and major shareholders' complaints to begin the process of filing litigation. This isn’t just an abstraction. The law process is already underway to file these shareholder actions, and I’m sure they’re waiting to see what happens in this case.
PHANG: That’s right.
CARUSONE: And remember, Delaware doesn’t have a cap on punitive damages. So it could be significant.