Fox’s lawyers left through a side door of the court building and wriggled past the journalists however they could. Those of Dominion – the electoral counting machine company that sued the conservative chain for its lies – appeared smiling and surrounded by cameras at the front door on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware. Although the defamation lawsuit was closed with an agreement, there is a very clear winner and loser: Fox pays 787.5 million dollars (more than 700 million euros) for its lies about the 2020 elections to Dominion, which has made with the lawsuit the best deal in its history. But next to Fox, there is another loser: Donald Trump. Those that have been defeated are his lies, which he has made a key part of his strategy and his speech.
In the United States, when a president runs for re-election and loses, the politician and the country turn the page. But Trump, to stay alive as the hope of the voters of his party, needed to flee from the story of a defeated and losing president; And the way to do it has been to insist over and over again, against all evidence, on his hoax that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Fox aired the lies its audience wanted, as did Trump.
Even though it entails a surrender, the agreement spares Fox from possible greater evils. To begin with, the lawsuit was for $1.6 billion. The judge had already made it clear that it was “crystal clear” that the claims being tried were falsehoods. What Dominion had to prove is that the network spread the lies knowingly or with disregard for the truth; and the previous investigations had uncovered a mountain of evidence pointing in that direction. With the agreement, Fox also gets rid of six weeks of trial, a torture in which he repeats over and over again that he deceived his audience. It prevents its star presenters and managers from testifying, including Rupert Murdoch himself, whose embarrassing role has also been exposed.
In a statement, Fox made it clear that it now intends to move on from the matter: “We acknowledge the court’s rulings declaring certain claims about Dominion false. (…) We hope that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, will allow the country to turn the page on these issues,” the chain said in a statement Tuesday. The statement included another phrase — “This agreement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards” — which drew a laugh from CNN anchor Jack Tapper: “Sorry, it’s hard to say with a straight face,” he said.
The chain informed very concisely on Tuesday of the extrajudicial agreement; and has avoided discussing the matter on Wednesday. Its star presenters, the same ones who starred in some of the falsehoods, completely ignored the issue on their shows. But turning the page is not going to be so easy.
Another lawsuit is being processed in which the company Smartmatic claims 2,700 million dollars from the chain. There has already been a decision by an appeals chamber of the Supreme Court of the State of New York that has seen merit in a case that could also end up being processed in Delaware. For Fox, who has agreed to pay $787.5 million to Fox to avoid not only his conviction, but also the spectacle of the trial, what makes sense is to also reach an out-of-court agreement with Smartmatic. But new fronts are accumulating for the chain: a lawsuit from a former employee, another prepared by company shareholders… For its part, Dominion has its own lawsuits against other channels and people who pointed it out, such as Newsmax or the businessman Mike Lindell, close to Trump and a great advertiser for Fox
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