Mesa County’s many, many supporters of Donald Trump (pdf) must be super-bummed this week to find out Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch has acknowledged that Fox News anchors Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo and others knowingly lied to them by repeating Donald Trump’s fraudulent statements that the 2020 general election was “rigged” and he actually won.
Murdoch acknowledged under oath in a deposition in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox Network, that Fox News hosts knowingly lied to viewers by endorsing false election fraud claims while at the same time they were privately ridiculing such claims. Murdoch further admitted he should have ordered Trump allies like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who were lying to the public about the election, off the air, but didn’t.
A trove of text messages and emails released as part of Dominion’s lawsuit showed Rupert Murdoch privately called Trump’s false election claims “really crazy stuff.”
In a private text, Fox News star Tucker Carlson told Laura Ingraham that Trump attorney “[Sidney] Powell is a nut.” Carlson told his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, that “Sidney Powell is lying.” Pfeiffer told Carlson, “I don’t think there is evidence of voter fraud that swung the election.” Ingraham told Hannity and Carlson in private texts that “Sidney Powell is a bit nuts. Sorry but she is.”
Yet when Powell appeared on Lou Dobbs’ show just days after these exchanges, Dobbs hailed Powell as a “great American” and “one of the country’s leading appellate attorneys.”
Other similar exchanges show Fox news hosts privately ridiculed election fraud claims while continuing to lie to Fox’s viewers who desperately wanted to believe Trump had won. Fox was afraid of losing viewers by telling the truth about the election.
Some attorneys say these private conversations are “incredibly damning” and show “actual malice” by Fox News Network. Actual malice is an element that must be proven in order to prevail in a defamation case.