The aftermath of the Fox-Dominion settlement

As far as a I can tell of the settlement of the case, Fox News personalities who told all those lies about Dominion and the elections will not have to make on-air apologies.

It looks like Dominion wanted a large financial settlement more than they wanted on-air apologies from Fox, and Fox wanted to avoid giving on-air apologies and was willing to pay almost $800 million to avoid doing that. Dominion likely used the demand for apologies as leverage to get Fox to pay up. While this is a large amount, Murdoch media is used to seeing fines for wrongdoing as just the cost of doing business. While many of us would have liked to see all the Fox people squirm on the witness stand and show public contrition for their irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric, ultimately Dominion is a business, not a pro-democracy or media watchdog organization, and it made a business decision.

But there are other cases that in the works and it will be interesting to see what impact this result will have on those cases.

Smartmatic: Another election technology company, Smartmatic, filed a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox in February 2021, accusing the news network of falsely implicating the company in a bogus narrative about vote rigging in the 2020 election.

Smartmatic said in its complaint that Fox knowingly aired more than 100 false statements. A day after the suit was filed, Fox Business canceled the show of Lou Dobbs, who was named as a defendant.

In February, a New York appeals court denied Fox’s request to dismiss the case, and last month a New York judge agreed the case could proceed. A trial date has not been set.

Abby Grossberg: On March 20, Fox News producer Abby Grossberg, who had worked with the hosts Maria Bartiromo and Tucker Carlson, filed two lawsuits against the company, in Delaware and in New York, saying that Fox’s lawyers had pushed her to give a misleading deposition in the Dominion case and alleging a hostile and discriminatory work environment. Ms. Grossberg was fired after filing the complaints.

And then we have all the lawsuits against Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Mike Lindell, and the cases against the rightwing media outlets Newsmax and One America Network (OAN) who all peddled the same lies that Fox was sued for by Dominion.

Then there is the Fox shareholder who is suing the network for violating its fiduciary duty by spreading lies about the election.

A Fox Corp. shareholder sued Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch and several members of the Fox Corp. board of directors in Delaware on Tuesday afternoon, arguing that they violated their fiduciary duty to the company when they allowed Fox News to broadcast election conspiracy theories.

The derivative action — a kind of lawsuit brought by shareholders who believe they’ve been harmed by the corporation — was brought by a single plaintiff, Robert Schwarz.

“The Board’s decision to chase viewers by promoting the false stolen election claims has exposed the Company to public ridicule and negatively impacted the credibility of Fox News as a media organization that is supposed to accurately report newsworthy events. The Company is now the subject of two defamation cases, with combined damages claimed to exceed $4 billion,” the lawsuit alleges.

The suit builds on the trove of internal communications, documents and evidence made public in Dominion Voting Systems’ sweeping $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News and Fox Corp., which has revealed that many at Fox News knew the rigged election claims were false even as they allowed their continued broadcast.

Again, it is not clear if the person suing wants to advance democracy or is concerned about the impact on stock prices of Fox’s actions.

I assume that all the damaging information about Fox that was uncovered during the discovery process and revealed by Dominion will be available for use by Smartmatic in its $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox and the other people who are also suing it, since all that information is now public. I am not sure if the judge’s summary rulings against Fox that they had made false statements about Dominion can be used against them in the other trials.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    I would think the Smartmatic case will be settled much more quickly. It’s virtually a carbon copy of the Dominion case, so Fox would want to avoid even the discovery phase since that would merely reemphasize to the world how many lies were told by so many of their people.

  2. says

    American business practices raise amorality to the level of policy. We are told to expect amorality because it’s good financial sense. Perhaps but what kind of society do we build this way? An oligarchy ruled by amoral billionaires.

  3. says

    Since Powell and Giuliana don’t have billions, it is possible that a public apology might be an alternative to bankruptcy. Smartmatic and Dominion have both of them dead to rights. But let’s not get hopes up. This is moneyball not justice.

  4. says

    Don’t get your hopes up about these “other cases” kids. Fox doesn’t have to admit to anything to the people who matter most: their viewers who they lied to. Sure, Fox lost some money in the short term, but nothing else changes and their propaganda money machine keeps on going. Why would anyone think that other outcomes would be any better for the pubic at large, or democracy in general?

    This is America. Money talks and everyone else walks. But don’t worry, soon they’ll be coming for your shoes, too.

  5. Dago Red says

    @3 Marcus Ranum -- “American business practices raise amorality to the level of policy.”
    Great point! “Its just business” has become a beloved mantra in America (and most capitalist nations) but its simply a bad substitute for an actual apology when someone actively decides to make decisions that fuck over other people. Its utterly amoral! I have ended several friendships over my many years, which I initially thought were really strong, but after a time I realized they were just too narcissistic to deal with any more. All of these people were “business” people who, after years of acting this way during their long work hours of being amoral all the time, fail to “turn off” (or perhaps were never incapable of doing so) their immoral business mindset when it comes to their personal lives. Such people evaluate everyone in their lives solely based on what services and benefits we provide them — all just so transactional. They attempt feigning real friendship (to sucker you in), but after a time it becomes apparent that you they simply see you as yet another employee of theirs. Business-driven amorality has totally infected all of American culture, and its why I believe so many people perceive Americans as overly narcissistic today. Its too subtle of a change for many to notice when they are replacing “doing what’s most ethical/moral” with simply “doing what’s best for one’s self-interest” — but the latter makes you into an amoral, narcissistic person. Amorality has been policy for so long in American businesses its now venerated and mimicked in our society at large as the proper tool for personal success, as well as business success.

  6. says

    Dominion and smartmatic also have suits against oan and newsmax, which are not as rich as fox and may be put out of business.
    Mmmmm garlic butter popcorn!

  7. Alan G. Humphrey says

    What business sense? It was a bribe, a court sanctioned bribe. Dominion let their name be defamed for a lot of money, but their business of making and selling voting machines was harmed. Why would state agencies, especially in Democratically controlled states, responsible for purchasing voting machines, trust Dominion from now on? If they accept this kind of bribe, then they are not a legitimate business, but an extortion racket, and will do anything for money.

  8. Holms says

    ^ Your argument is that accepting a settlement is an action that reduces their credibility?

  9. sonofrojblake says

    Business-driven amorality has totally infected all of American culture, and its why I believe so many people perceive Americans as overly narcissistic today

    Another possible reason why “people perceive Americans as overly narcissistic” may be for the same reason that “people perceive” the sky as blue and water as wet.

  10. Alan G. Humphrey says

    Holms @ 10
    When the settlement does not include a requirement to publicly refute the defamation to those most exposed to it, then Dominion has not healed their business from that defamation. Dominion’s business model now seems to be how to use lawsuits for profit, rather than making and selling the most secure and reliable voting systems. If I were in charge of making voting machine purchase decisions, then that would make Dominion less credible as a voting machine vendor. As a citizen of a state that uses Dominion, I would request my representatives and other applicable officials to change vendors.

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