By Chris Katje
Fox News has found itself in the cross-hairs of former President Donald Trump. While this sounds like nothing new in recent years, the media company has leaned to the conservative side of the political spectrum.
Trump won the 2016 presidential election against former First Lady & Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He was elected as the 45th President of the United States filled with a controversy of scandals that included the Russian collusion.
The New York billionaire lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden in an election in which Trump challenged the results with false claims. The events of January 6 took place where insurrectionists attempted to stop the certification of Biden on Capitol Hill.
Fox News, a unit of Fox Corporation, has been sued by voting machine company Dominion on defamation claims. Dominion said Fox hosts and guests said that Dominion was partly to blame for rigging the election.
An ongoing trial between Dominion Voting Systems and Fox News has uncovered evidence of how the media company handled reporting on the 2020 election.
New documents show how Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch handled the 2020 election claims.
Murdoch didn’t believe the 2020 election was rigged or stolen and did not believe Trump’s claims, according to Deadline. Murdoch said there was no evidence the election was rigged in favor of Biden, according to the new evidence in the Dominion lawsuit.
The filing shows that Murdoch said Trump’s election claims and the anchors who supported them were “bulls— and damaging.” Murdoch said he “would have liked to be stronger in denouncing” the election fraud allegations in the deposition.
Legal experts say that Fox News’ on shaky ground as Dominion argues the network defamed them by knowing about Trump’s falsehoods by claiming the voting machines were rigged to elected Joe Biden, according to The Hill.
“Fox does not appear to have any plausible defense, particularly in light of what Dominion uncovered in discovery of real-time knowledge of falsity,” said Catherine Ross, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University who specialized in the First Amendment.
The latest evidence caused Trump to lash out at Murdoch and Fox News.
“Rupert Murdoch should apologize to his viewers and readers for his ridiculous defense of the 2020 Presidential Election. How many forms of cheating and rigging does he have to see?” Trump wrote on Truth Social, a social media app that is merging with Digital World Acquisition.
Trump said Murdoch should get rid of any Fox New anchors who argued against Trump’s claims about the election. The former president also said that employees who knew the election was rigged but were afraid to speak up should also be fired. Trump said Murdoch should apologize to the anchors who were willing to speak out against the election on air.
“It’s time to get rid of Fake News, and call it like it is!”
Once a focal point of Fox News, Trump has not faced criticism from the network and is said to have received a “soft ban.”
The former president went on to say that Murdoch was throwing his Fox anchors under the bus and promoting an ire to his viewers.
Trump has lashed out against Fox News for running interviews with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential rival in the upcoming 2024 Republican presidential primary for which Trump has announced his campaign.
Trump also spoke out on Fox News not showing a poll that showed the former president leading DeSantis in the presidential race. The poll showed Trump with a 15-point lead over DeSantis in a hypothetical GOP primary with the Florida governor.
Trump accused Fox News of “promoting” DeSantis and “barely showing” the poll that showed strong Trump support.
Benzinga previously reported on new evidence of many Fox News hosts privately saying they didn’t believe the election was rigged, but who wouldn’t state this publicly. The hosts feared that speaking out publicly could hurt Trump and his supporters or hurt the ratings of Fox News, according to the evidence.
A Fox News spokesperson provided a statement to Benzinga on the ongoing lawsuit.
“There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan,” the spokesperson said.
Produced in association with Benzinga
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