Dear Commons Community,
Dominion Voting Systems’ decision to settle its defamation suit with Fox News for $787.5 million dominated the news cycle on almost all media outlets for two days, except at Fox News. The settlement has remained the top story on CNN, MSNBC and CBS News. Anderson Cooper, host of the prime-time show “Anderson Cooper 360,” led his program with the case and also interviewed Davida Brook, lead counsel for Dominion.
The conservative outlet’s digital operation published one very brief story on the deal, which does not mention the troves of evidence showing how Fox executives and top hosts did not believe the claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election that they were nevertheless airing all over the network.
Neil Cavuto, who hosts “Your World” on Fox News, briefly read news of the settlement Tuesday (see video below) on his late afternoon show, citing The Wall Street Journal, which is also owned by Fox founder Rupert Murdoch. Reporter Howard Kurtz appeared on Cavuto’s program to quickly discuss the settlement and labeled the conspiracy theories aired on the network “obviously false.”
I happened to catch this just as I started capturing The Five. How does it feel to work for a network that has to admit it lied about a presidential election for months? #FoxIsGarbage pic.twitter.com/R2g1DCuTYG
— Decoding Fox News (@DecodingFoxNews) April 18, 2023
The 6 p.m. show “Special Report With Bret Baier” also aired a short segment on the deal, featuring Kurtz.
“A Dominion lawyer gave reporters a dollar figure for the settlement, but I have not been able to independently confirm that,” Kurtz told Fox viewers.
In total, Fox News’ broadcast coverage of its landmark settlement amounted to about six minutes, according to The New York Times.
Kurtz previously said Fox News was preventing him from covering the story at all — the network had little to no coverage of the Dominion defamation lawsuit before April.
Juliet Jeske, a researcher who authors the “Decoding Fox News” newsletter, told HuffPost that she found zero mention of the settlement on “The Five,” the network’s highest-rated show. The morning shows appeared to have largely ignored the story, as well.
The voting tech company sued Fox for $1.6 billion in the case, which was minutes away from going to trial when lawyers hammered out the settlement.
Dominion’s lawyers and CEO have hailed the deal as proof that lying has consequences. But asked for her take on its impact, Jeske told HuffPost, “I sadly don’t think this will change anything on the network.”
“Fox is due for a renewal with their contract with the cable companies. If the cable companies lower the rate they pay for Fox, that could have some impact,” she noted. “Otherwise they’ll just go back to business as usual.”
Fox is reportedly in the process of negotiating new carriage terms with several major cable companies, which typically pay hefty sums for Fox channels, according to Media Matters President Angelo Carusone.