Fox News Decides to Settle; Pays Record Fee for Spreading False Election Claims
- Posted on April 19, 2023
- By Top Stories
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Fox News Decides to Settle:-
Fox Corp and Fox News have resolved a defamation Lawsuit filed against them by Dominion Voting Systems by agreeing to pay $787.5 million. This settlement has prevented a trial that could have put one of the largest media companies globally in a difficult position due to their reporting on baseless allegations of vote-rigging in the 2020 US election. The settlement was announced at the last minute by the judge between both parties involved.
The legal professionals told that it is the largest settlement amount ever paid by an American media corporation.
Earlier today, the jury was chosen as Dominion had filed a lawsuit in 2021 seeking $1.6 billion in compensation.
Dominion CEO John Poulos described the settlement reached with Fox News as a significant moment. Poulos stated that Fox News had acknowledged its role in spreading false information about Dominion, causing serious harm to the company, its workers, and its clients. Poulos emphasized the importance of truthful reporting in maintaining the integrity of democracy.
The lawsuit centered on whether Fox News should be held responsible for broadcasting false allegations against Dominion's voting machines being utilized to manipulate the 2020 Presidential election in Joe Biden's favor over Donald Trump, the then-incumbent Republican President.
Fox avoided the risk of having its prominent figures, including Rupert Murdoch, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Jeanine Pirro, being summoned to testify and possibly facing harsh questioning, thanks to the settlement on Tuesday.
Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto interrupted his news program to announce that the network had settled its dispute with Dominion Voting Systems. In a statement read on air, Fox News said that it was pleased to have reached an agreement with Dominion and acknowledged that certain claims made by the network about Dominion were false, as determined by the court.
Fox News stated that the settlement was in line with its commitment to the highest journalistic standards and hoped that resolving the dispute amicably would help the country move past these issues instead of a divisive trial.
Fox possesses a considerable amount of cash in the billions.
Fox Corp's stock closed at $34 per share, with a slight increase, but dropped by 1% in after-hours trading when the settlement amount was revealed. However, Fox has enough cash to pay for the settlement, as it had committed $3 billion to buy back shares in the first quarter and had around $4 billion cash on hand, according to CEO Lachlan Murdoch's statement to Wall Street analysts in February.
Dominion lawyers didn't provide any information on whether Fox News would issue a public apology or make any changes.
Fox News is the top-rated cable news network in the US. A recent media libel case settlement was concluded for $787.5 million, the largest amount paid in such a case in American history. The previous highest amount paid was by Walt Disney Co in 2017, which paid $177 million (plus insurance recoveries) to settle a defamation case against its ABC network by Beef Products Inc., which involved the term "pink slime."
The trial, processed to determine if Fox's coverage breached ethical journalism standards, was postponed for a day as Fox engaged in settlement talks. The trial was delayed again on Tuesday as both parties continued to negotiate privately. Fox had previously positioned itself as a defender of press freedom in the pretrial proceedings.
The main issue for jurors to decide in the defamation case brought by Dominion is whether Fox intentionally spread false information or acted with a reckless disregard for the truth, known as the legal standard of "actual malice." Dominion has presented evidence, including internal communications, which suggest that Fox knew the Claims made about Dominion were false but still promoted them on-air to attract more viewers and retain its audience against competitors on the right.
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