Listen To This Story
— OPINION —
We have been telling you for many years in this space that Fox “News” is a dangerous propaganda network that shills for the GOP (or vice versa). Instead of being “fair & balanced,” it is “malicious & biased” — and even that is a pretty charitable description.
In fact, because Fox is such a threat to the country and democracy, we may have overdone it a little bit.
So, for a change of pace, here are Fox owner Rupert Murdoch, Fox executives, and Fox’s on-air “talent” telling you the same thing — courtesy of a court filing in the ongoing legal battle between Fox and Dominion Voting Systems.
At issue in this defamation lawsuit is whether the propaganda network negligently or maliciously disseminated false information about Dominion that could harm the voting machine manufacturer.
Keep in mind that Fox, worried about alienating defeated President Donald Trump, provided him and his co-conspirators with a platform to spread lies about the election that culminated in the coup attempt on January 6 and continues to be used by Republicans to weaken voting rights.
You be the judge… and do keep in mind that part of the Dominion court filing from which these excerpts are taken is still redacted, so there is more to come.
Let’s start with old man Rupert himself. Here he is in an email to Fox “News” CEO Suzanne Scott showing us just how fair & balanced his network is:
“These people [referring to competitor Newsmax] should be watched, if skeptically,” Murdoch wrote. “Trump will concede eventually and we should concentrate on Georgia [referring to the two Georgia runoff elections that would decide control of the Senate], helping any way we can [emphasis added]. We don’t want to antagonize Trump further, but Giuliani taken with a large grain of salt. Everything at stake here.”
Then there is Tucker Carlson, one of the network’s biggest stars. In another lawsuit, according to the judge’s decision to dismiss, Fox “persuasively argues … that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statements he makes.” In non-legalese, that means Carlson is full of shit and only morons would believe him (which is actually a tenet of the Fox business model).
While he plays the jovial, incredulous “journalist” on TV, away from the cameras he is a different person. For example, when Fox reporter Jacqui Heinrich fact-checked a tweet from Trump and said there was no evidence to support his unhinged conspiracy theories about voting machines, Carlson was not pleased with this rare attempt to practice something resembling actual journalism at Fox.
“Please get her fired,” Carlson told fellow right-wing demagogue and Fox host Sean Hannity. “Seriously…. What the fuck? I’m actually shocked…It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.”
There you have it: Someone speaking the truth at Fox is bad for business.
Speaking of Hannity, even though he (correctly) referred to part-time Trump lawyer and full-time insane person Sidney Powell as an “f’ing lunatic,” and said he “did not believe [her conspiracies] for one second,” he still invited her onto his show more than three weeks after the election and gave her a platform for more craziness.
These are just some of the highlights. There is plenty more in the 192-page filing. Overall, what the internal communications show is that Fox “News” is precisely what we have been telling you: a deeply partisan propaganda outfit that tries to get Republicans elected (and then influences them) while continuing to dupe Americans (and actual news outlets) into thinking that it practices journalism. It does not.
Obviously, this is serious stuff. As we have pointed out before, Fox is bad for America. During the pandemic, it killed its own viewers for the sake of ratings. It clearly had a hand in January 6 by not trying to put out the fire it had been stoking.
That being said, many parts of Dominion’s filing are as hilarious as eye-opening.
Like when Carlson wrote to his producer that the network’s decision to (correctly) call Arizona for Joe Biden was “destroying our credibility.” In this context, “credibility” can only mean “our ability to inundate gullible audiences with lies and complete BS.”
While not surprising, what Fox’s biggest names are saying in private communications behind closed doors is pretty remarkable.
For example, here is Carlson on Trump: “What [Trump’s] good at is destroying things. He’s the undisputed world champion of that.” He also called the former president “a demonic force.”
Perhaps the funniest line in the entire document is the description of the work of host Lou Dobbs — whom others at Fox called “crazy” and “ultra MAGA” — that Fox President Jay Wallace offers:
“The North Koreans do a more nuanced show than Lou Dobbs.”
That just about sums up all of Fox’s programming these days.