Dominion Voting Systems’ filing opposing Fox’s motions for summary judgment shows how, from the top down, the network willingly aired lies about voter fraud and Dominion after the 2020 election. According to the filing, even though Murdoch thought Fox was “uniquely positioned to state the message that the election was not stolen,” at the end of the day he agreed the profit motive was the deciding factor: “It is not red or blue, it is green.”
In March 2021, Dominion filed a defamation suit against Fox for the false claims the network pushed after the election suggesting Dominion machines supposedly changed or deleted votes to sway the election in President Joe Biden’s favor. Publication of the opposition to Fox’s motions for summary judgment comes on the heels of the previously released bombshell filing detailing how Murdoch and Fox executives, hosts, and producers all knew that the network was pushing dangerous lies about Dominion and voter fraud. This earlier summary judgment filing proved that Fox did not merely push the election lies made by former President Donald Trump and his allies because they were “newsworthy,” but rather because they feared other right-wing media companies would steal their viewers and hurt their bottom line.
Now, the newest filing confirms that the rot at Fox comes from the top. In emails after the Capitol insurrection, Murdoch even said, “Everything changed last Wednesday [January 6],” and that Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott “thinks everyone is now disgusted and previous supporters broken hearted.” But his network played an enormous role in stoking the flames of the insurrection — in fact, the network questioned the results of the election or pushed conspiracy theories about it almost 800 times in the two-week period after Fox News declared Biden the president-elect. Once January 6 was in the history books, the network downplayed its role and continued to host members of Congress who voted against certifying the election over 900 times in 2021.
Beyond January 6, the new filing also revealed:
- In response to whether he could have stopped Fox from bringing on Trump campaign lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, who continued to spew election lies, Murdoch said, “I could have. But I didn’t.”
- To the question of “what should the consequences be when Fox News executives knowingly allow lies to be broadcast,” Murdoch replied, “They should be reprimanded, maybe got rid of.”
- In response to why Fox continued to have MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell on as a guest while he spewed lies about Dominion, Murdoch agreed, “It is not red or blue, it is green.”
- After watching Powell and Giuliani push voter fraud lies at a press conference, Murdoch texted Scott, “Terrible stuff damaging everybody, I fear. Probably hurting us too.” Murdoch confirmed “us” meant “Fox News.”
- Former Speaker of the House and Fox Corp. board member Paul Ryan said, “Fox was trying to navigate this dynamic between a core group of Trump loyalists who were ignoring the truth and the truth itself,” further saying that “both Rupert and Lachlan [Murdoch] agree fully" that January 6 was a “huge inflection point to keep Trump down and move on for the future of the conservative moment.”
The shocking details of the newly released filing also fuel further speculation that the Dominion lawsuit had some impact on Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch’s now-abandoned plans to merge News Corp. and Fox Corp.
Clarification (2/28/23): Language in this piece has been updated to clarify that Rupert Murdoch agreed that “It is not red or blue, it is green,” according to the filing, but it is unclear who said the phrase originally.