We truly are living in an alternative universe the founders of this republic would not recognize. It’s bad enough that the America-hating Left seeks to undermine the First Amendment as a means to crush dissent; in conservative circles that is now taken for granted. What is worse is the shameful abandonment of the freedom of the press . . . by the supposed press.
And yet again, America’s corporate media refuses to defend what was once considered a nonpolitical, nonnegotiable right when it comes to ideological differences with the Left.
Consider Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News for putting several individuals on air who claimed that rigged voting machines swayed the outcome of the 2020 election.
Here’s the problem: the individuals in question were the president’s lawyers. These lawyers repeatedly stated they had proof that Dominion’s voting machines were rigged to flip votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network simply aired the news that the president’s lawyers were making these claims. In some instances, the Fox host allowed the president’s lawyers to make the claims with little push back. In other instances, Fox hosts did push back and demanded evidence, and even suggested they stop making the claims without it. In fact, Fox News invited Dominion representatives to appear on air to give their side of the story, but the company declined all but one invitation. Instead of entering the public debate, Dominion began preparing litigation soon after the election.
Apparently, this caused some debate and discussion within the Fox Corporation, the channels’ parent company, with some executives and employees voicing opinions about the potential damage to the media giant’s credibility. Some at Fox were inclined to believe the president’s lawyers while others were skeptical. That’s hardly unusual in a large news organization when it comes to controversial topics.
Dominion filed its defamation suit in Delaware state court, a clear case of venue shopping as Delaware is Joe Biden’s home state with notoriously liberal judges and jurors who undoubtedly bear animus toward conservative-leaning Fox News. They claim Fox knew the claims were false because Dominion told them so. Essentially, “Our machines weren’t rigged so you have to stop putting the president’s lawyers on the air.” But it turns out even Dominion’s own employees were aware that their machines were highly vulnerable to hacking and manipulation.
Eric Coomer, Dominion’s director of product strategy and security, admitted in an October 2020 email that, “our [expletive] is just riddled with bugs.” The problems with Dominion’s machines were described at length by the corporate media in the run-up to the 2020 election. On September 9, 2020, the Washington Post reported, “election integrity activists say the new [Dominion] voting machines are unaccountable and unverifiable and have many of the same security vulnerabilities as the old ones.”
Of course, the fear then was that Republicans would steal the election by hacking the voting machines. The media was in full “stop the steal” mode when they thought Trump was going to win. Dominion sure wasn’t suing the Washington Post, New York Times, or any of the other legacy media outlets that reported on Dominion’s security problems.
Fox filed a motion to dismiss the case based on the overriding First Amendment issue and the complete lack of damages suffered by Dominion. But it seems there’s a “Fox News exception” to the First Amendment in Joe Biden’s home state and among a corporate media that appears convinced of its invulnerability. And so, Fox is headed to trial in April.
Let’s go back to 1998 when then-President Bill Clinton wagged his finger at America on national TV and lied to us about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Everyone in the White House knew “Slick Willie” was lying. Every Democrat in Congress knew he was lying. Heck, almost everyone in America knew he was lying.
But that didn’t stop the networks from airing his defenders to broadcast the lie. Were the networks supposed to suppress the statements of high government officials who were defending the president in a very public matter? Of course not. Fast forward to 2020: Was Fox News not supposed to air the president’s lawyers who claimed they had incontrovertible proof of rigged machines? Of course not.
How about a more recent case—the entire Russiagate investigation which was based on the bogus Steele dossier? The mainstream “media” knew the dossier was bogus, but they were being told by congressional Democrats and party hacks at the Justice Department and FBI that it was legit and Trump was colluding with the Russians. It turned out to be an absolute lie—a campaign dirty trick funded and played by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Should the networks and newspapers have ignored the story? It was after all news concerning the president of the United States.
In recent filings, Fox stated,
After more than a year of discovery, the record in this consolidated case confirms that Fox Corporation had no role in the creation and publication of the challenged statements—all of which aired on either Fox Business Network or Fox News Channel . . . Dominion has deposed dozens and dozens of witnesses from Fox News and the CEO of Fox Corporation. Every single one denied that anyone at Fox Corporation participated in creating any of Fox News’s coverage of Dominion, let alone any of the challenged statements, which are the only ones relevant here. The reams of written discovery produced by both Fox News and Fox Corporation confirm the same: Fox Corporation did not direct, participate in, or play any role in the creation or publication of the statements Dominion challenges.
Fox simply did what a good news outlet is supposed to do in the face of a controversial, national story and covered it from all sides. That should have been enough to have the case dismissed. It’s also the reason the rest of the media should be standing up to defend Fox News. But all we hear from them is the deafening sounds of silence.
The fate of the First Amendment is at stake once again. Perhaps the rest of the “media” will wake up if Fox loses at trial. Perhaps they’ll remember that nothing less than liberty is at risk should the case enter the appeals process. Perhaps they’ll remember that they could be next if political fortunes change.