- Internal messages show how Fox News anchors privately mocked 2020 election conspiracy theories.
- Fox News’ Howard Kurtz said on Sunday that the company has barred coverage of the messages.
- As of Sunday, there were zero stories on Fox News’ website covering the messages.
A top Fox News anchor said his company has barred coverage of the Dominion lawsuit, which recently received renewed attention after a 200-page motion showed private texts between Fox stars and executives dismissing the 2020 election conspiracy theories peddled by Donald Trump and his supporters.
During his Sunday segment on MediaBuzz, host Howard Kurtz acknowledged viewers who were wondering why Fox had not covered the ongoing lawsuit.
“Some of you have been asking why I’m not covering the Dominion Voting Machines lawsuit against Fox involving the unproven claims of election fraud in 2020, and it’s absolutely a fair question,” he said. “I believe I should be covering it. It’s a major media story, given my role here at Fox. But the company has decided that, as part of the organization being sued, I can’t talk about it or write about it — at least for now. I strongly disagree with that decision, but as an employee, I have to abide by it. And if that changes, I’ll let you know.”
—PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) February 26, 2023
Dominion, an elections technology company, filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News in March 2021, accusing the media company of spreading conspiracy theories that claimed Dominion helped rig the 2020 election results.
The result of those theories cost the elections technology company $600 million in potential profits in addition to $1 billion in potential value, Dominion wrote in its filing. The company also said employees’ lives were threatened.
“As a result of the false accusations broadcast by Fox into millions of American homes, Dominion has suffered unprecedented harm and its employees’ lives have been put in danger,” Dominion’s attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.
The company is seeking $1.6 billion in damages.
Last week, a 200-page motion filed by Dominion was made public and contained a cache of internal communications between some of Fox News’ top brass, including Fox Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch, host Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and Carlson’s producer Alex Pfeiffer, among others.
“[T]he software shit is absurd,” Carlson said in a text on November 7, 2020.
“It’s dangerously insane these conspiracy theories,” Fox reporter Lucas Tomlinson said to Bret Baier, host of Special Report.
The network has largely been silent about the internal messages. A search through FoxNews.com turns up zero recent stories regarding the Dominion lawsuit. Most stories date back to 2020 and are related to the claims against Dominion or Dominion’s response to the allegations.
Fox previously said in a statement that Dominion had “cherry-pick[ed]” quotes and taken them out of context.
“There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan,” the statement said.
—Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 19, 2023
Though Kurtz suggested the reason why he is not discussing the Dominion lawsuit is that the network is a defendant in an ongoing legal battle, this has not stopped other Fox anchors from disparaging electronic voting machines or mentioning Dominion.
On the night of the 2022 midterm elections, more than a year since Dominion filed its lawsuit, Carlson mentioned claims about electronic voting machines not allowing people to vote in Maricopa County of Arizona, a state that has continued to fuel Trump’s false election fraud claims.
“That is an actual threat to democracy and it points up the core problem which is we’re not really very serious about democracy if we’re using electronic voting machines,” Carlson said.
—John Whitehouse+ (@existentialfish) February 26, 2023
A Fox News Media spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.