Court documents from Dominion Voting System’s ongoing defamation lawsuit against Fox News show the network’s executives and prime-time lineup privately doubted former President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud after losing reelection. However, some of them expressed fear that any fact-checkers might alienate their audience.
In a text message to his producer, Tucker Carlson said that “Sydney Powell is lying.” Behind the scenes, News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch called Rudy Giuliani’s defense of the former president “crazy stuff.”
However, the network is adamant that it never knowingly made false claims.
Months of depositions and evidence were made public Thursday.
As The Hill reports:
Top network hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham in text messages referred to the voter fraud allegations made by Trump and his associates as “insane” while network leadership debated how rebuking those claims on the air might hurt the conservative media giant’s reputation with its viewers, according to the filing.
Correspondence and testimony from top talent and executives at the network were made public as part of an ongoing defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting System against Fox News and its parent company, seeking $1.6 Billion in damages, for what the voting software company says was Fox’s broadcasting of information about it that the network’s leaders knew were false.
At one point, Laura Ingraham’s producer messaged network management, saying her “BS” about the election would wind up giving him “a f*cking aneurysm.”
Around the same time, Tucker Carlson wanted Fox News’ prime-time hosts to pressure network execs to fire reporter Jacqui Heinrich for fact-checking Trump.
“Please get her fired,” Carlson messaged Sean Hannity. “Seriously… What the f*ck?”
Page 31 in the legal filing detailed Carlson’s request, which included concerns about FOX Corporation’s declining stock price:
In their group text thread, Carlson pointed Hannity to a tweet by Fox reporter Jacqui Heinrich. Heinrich was “fact checking” a tweet by Trump that mentioned Dominion and specifically mentioned Hannity’s and Dobbs’ broadcasts that evening discussing Dominion. Heinrich correctly fact-checked the tweet, pointing out that “top election infrastructure officials” said that “‘There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.’”
Carlson told Hannity: “Please get her fired. 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.” Tucker added, I just went crazy on Meade over it. Hannity said he had “already sent to Suzanne with a really?” He then added: “I’m 3 strikes. Wallace shit debate[.] Election night a disaster[.] Now this BS? Nope. Not gonna fly. Did I mention Cavuto?”
Representatives for Fox said the messages were cherry-picked out of context, saying the case boils down to freedom of the press and freedom of speech. The network added in a statement that these are “fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan.”