Fox News Has Reached A Settlement With Dominion In Their Defamation Lawsuit For $787.5 Million
Fox News has reached a settlement with Dominion in their defamation lawsuit for $787.5 million. Dominion had sought $1.6 billion in damages, alleging that Fox spread false claims that the 2020 Presidential election vote had been rigged against Donald Trump, causing significant harm to the company's business.
Hilda WorkmanApr 20, 202396 Shares1786 Views
Fox News has reached a settlement with Dominion in their defamation lawsuit for $787.5 million. Dominion had sought $1.6 billion in damages, alleging that Fox spread false claims that the 2020 presidential election vote had been rigged against Donald Trump, causing significant harm to the company's business.
As part of the settlement, Fox acknowledged that certain claims it made about Dominion were false. Dominion CEO John Poulos described the settlement as an admission by Fox that it had told lies, which caused enormous damage to the company.
The settlement spares Fox executives, including Rupert Murdoch, from having to testify in court. It also means that the trial, which was expected to be one of the most anticipated defamation cases in recent US history, will not go ahead. The judge in the case does not need to approve the settlement.
Both sides had appeared to be digging in for a lengthy trial, with Fox repeatedly objecting to the damages sought by Dominion, characterizing the figure as massively inflated. The lawsuit argued that Fox had sullied Dominion's reputation by airing falsehoods about the 2020 vote being stolen from former President Trump.
Trump had falsely claimed that Dominion rigged the election in favor of Joe Biden, and the lawsuit said that the false claims were partly an effort to win over viewers who were angered by Fox's decision on election night to declare that Biden had won Arizona.
Legal findings ahead of the trial suggested that a number of Fox executives and journalists privately questioned and dismissed conspiracy claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen but still put them on air. Court documents showed that Murdoch referred to the claims about Dominion as "really crazy" but failed to take any action.
Fox News agrees to pay Dominion $787.5 million in defamation settlement
Justin Nelson, a Dominion attorney, told reporters that:
The truth matters. Lies have consequences. Over two years ago a torrent of lies swept Dominion and election officials across America into an alternative universe of conspiracy theories, causing grievous harm to Dominion and the country.- Justin Nelson, a Dominion attorney
Mr. Nelson added that for "democracy to endure", Americans must "share a commitment to facts".
Despite the large payout, some legal experts believe that the settlement was a positive outcome for Fox News. Had the trial gone ahead, jurors would have been tasked with determining whether Fox News acted with "actual malice" by broadcasting claims it knew to be false. The settlement may have avoided a verdict against Fox, which could have been even costlier and had serious implications for subsequent rulings on the actual malice standard and the First Amendment.
The settlement between Dominion and Fox News marks a significant development in the ongoing fallout from the 2020 US presidential election, which saw widespread controversy over the legitimacy of the vote. Donald Trump and his supporters claimed that the election was "stolen" from him through widespread fraud, despite a lack of evidence to support this claim.
Fox News was one of the most vocal proponents of these claims, with many of its hosts and commentators repeating false information about the vote being rigged or stolen. This led to a wave of criticism and condemnation from many quarters, including other media outlets, political leaders, and election officials.
In the wake of the settlement, many commentators have expressed their views on the implications for both Dominion and Fox News. Some have praised Dominion for standing up to the media giant and securing a substantial payout, while others have criticized the company for trying to stifle free speech and legitimate criticism.
Similarly, Fox News has faced criticism for its role in spreading false information about the election, as well as for its handling of the lawsuit. Some have argued that the network should have apologized and retracted its false claims much earlier, rather than fighting the case in court.
Despite the settlement, the controversy over the 2020 US presidential election is likely to continue for some time, with many still arguing over the legitimacy of the result and the role played by various actors in the process. It remains to be seen whether the settlement will have a lasting impact on the media landscape in the US, or whether it will be seen as a one-off case with limited implications.