Fox News is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, as CNN's Brian Stelter pointed out in his newsletter.
It started with Chris Wallace noping out for CNN+, the network's streaming service. After 18 years, the only Fox host with any real journalistic credibility announced on his Sunday show that he was abandoning Rupert Murdoch's House That Fear Built.
“I want to try something new, to go beyond politics, to all the things I’m interested in,” Wallace said, announcing his decision. Translation: Fuck this shit, I'm out.
And if anyone needed clarity on the burning issue of "Is Fox a real news outlet?" — did you fall down go boom and hit your head? — on Monday Rep. Liz Cheney read out texts to Mark Meadows from the entire goon squad demanding that Trump call off the Capitol rioters on January 6. Because those maniacs attacking the seat of government and attempting to overturn a lawful election were Trump's guys and also Fox's guys, and they all knew it.
"Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy." — Laura Ingraham
"Please get him on tv. Destroying everything you have accomplished." — Brian Kilmeade
"Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol?" — Sean Hannity
Look at this shit from Hannity:
I thought liberals believed in privacy in this country. Just like when we talk about COVID, I think I'm one of the few remaining Americans that believes in freedom, you know, not out there saying, "F your freedom" like other people. I mean, it's like every other day I hear somebody new saying, "F your freedom." I'm like, "Nah, sorry, that's not the country I believe in, or the people." Yeah, I mean, it's just people, just bizarre.
The country that I believe in — I believe in medical privacy. I believe in doctor patient confidentiality. You know, nobody wants to hear it, but I think I'm right. I think the debate, for the most part, is over in terms. People have decided where they stand on vaccinations. And I don't think anything that Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Anthony Fauci, the CDC or the NIH is going to say that's going to convince them and we'll get to that later in the show today.
And the fact that, you know, they read a test — a text from me, "Can he make a statement, ask the people leave the Capitol?" OK, now why would they release this, except that they're trying to make a point?
Hannity and Ingraham spent the rest of the week complaining about Cheney and doing that weird handoff thing where they pretend to be normal human beings who actually like each other and hang out in the break room. Hello, fellow colleagues!
Ingraham: "I'm crying. I'm very upset."\n\nHannity: "Crying about what?"\n\nIngraham: "I don't think Liz Cheney likes us."\n\nAnd it went on from there...pic.twitter.com/KwjeVoj3gk— Brian Stelter (@Brian Stelter) 1639623821
During last night's handoff, Hannity announced that he was leaving for vacation with Jesus, and the two of them would spend the rest of the year in holy communion discussing the midterms.
“On vacation, I try to center myself, find God, and then get my creative juices flowing, and I already know where I’m headed,” he vowed. “I know next year is the biggest most important midterm election year in our lives and I’m going to be focused like a laser beam.”
Sorry for making you think about Sean Hannity's juices.
But the bad news wasn't over for Fox, because Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis denied the network's motion to dismiss a $1.7 billion defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems. It was a really, really bad order for Fox, and not just because they lost this round. Judge Davis laid out the evidence in spectacularly damning fashion.
Here he is pointing to "actual malice," i.e. the standard a public figure like Dominion would have to meet to establish that Fox defamed it.
Contrary to Fox’s contentions, the Complaint’s allegations are not conclusory. The Complaint supports the reasonable inference that Fox either (i) knew its statements about Dominion’s role in election fraud were false or (ii) had a high degree of awareness that the statements were false. For example, Fox possessed countervailing evidence of election fraud from the Department of Justice, election experts, and Dominion at the time it had been making its statements. The fact that, despite this evidence, Fox continued to publish its allegations against Dominion, suggests Fox knew the allegations were probably false.
In addition to which, he laid waste to the three affirmative defenses Fox is likely to assert at trial.
A "neutral reporting" defense protects accurate reporting on a newsworthy event, i.e. not Maria Bartiromo saying, "Sidney, we talked about the Dominion software. I know that there were voting irregularities. Tell me about that."
“Fox’s reporting must have been neutral, not ‘a personal attack’ on Dominion, to succeed on this defense,” Judge Davis writes. “Dominion’s well-pleaded allegations, however, support the reasonable inference that Fox’s reporting was not accurate or dispassionate.” In addition,
Fox next asserts the “fair report privilege.” New York has codified the fair report privilege in Section 74 of the Civil Rights Law. Section 74 provides that a “civil action cannot be maintained….for the publication of a fair and true report of any judicial proceeding, legislative proceeding or other official proceeding.” Thus, for the privilege to apply, a publication must be a “fair and true report” “of” an official proceeding. The Court finds that the Complaint’s well-pleaded allegations support the reasonable inference that Fox’s reporting (i) was not fair or true and (ii) did not concern an official proceeding.
Finally, the court found that the "opinion privilege," wot protects this here mommyblog, may or may not be available to people who call themselves Big Boy Real Life Journalists. Anyway, "Fox’s news personnel repeatedly framed the issue as one of truth-seeking and purported to ground interview questions in judicial proceedings and evidence.”
And not for nothing, but those same statements, or similar ones made on other rightwing networks, make up the evidence in the multiple lawsuits filed by Dominion and Smartmatic against Fox, Newsmax, OAN, Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell, and Rudy Giuliani. So while you're crying hot tears for Fox, you can pour one out for the rest of these assholes, too.
Or raise a glass, if that seems more appropriate.
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