Before November of last year, few knew the name Dominion Voting Systems. But after Donald Trump lost re-election, he and his supporters made them a household name. They floated surreal, convoluted, and baseless claims about it and other voting machine equipment companies, such as Smartmatic, helping to steal the election for Biden. And then those voting companies struck back, suing those on the right who spread said lies, from lawyers like Sidney Powell to MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell.
Dominion also came for Fox News, filing a $1.6 billion lawsuit for repeatedly airing untruths that they claimed tarnished their reputation. Now the network is attempting to get it dismissed. As per The New York Times, their legal team turned in a 61-page response, arguing, essentially, that they were just, you know, being journalists.
“A free press must be able to report both sides of a story involving claims striking at the core of our democracy,” the motion reads, adding, “especially when those claims prompt numerous lawsuits, government investigations and election recounts.” It continues: “The American people deserved to know why President Trump refused to concede despite his apparent loss.”
The motion goes on to defend a number of instances in which Fox News anchors and personalities aired said lies, arguing that they weren’t stating them as fact but merely repeating what others had said.
In a statement released Tuesday, the network’s lawyers tried to rebrand their legal woes as a first amendment issue. “There are two sides to every story,” they wrote. “The press must remain free to cover both sides, or there will be a free press no more.”
Could their crazy plan just work? Their coverage of the post-election fallout might be hard to spin, given how many times anchors, such as Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs (whose show was cancelled shortly after a lawsuit from Smartmatic), uncritically repeated false claims made by the likes of Powell and beleaguered Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. Still, given how much Trump supporters hate the media, Fox News trying to paint themselves as one of the fold is an…interesting tack.
(Via The New York Times)