Details from the Dominion Voting Systems’ deposition of Fox News chair Rupert Murdoch are now coming out, and once again, it shows that the Fox executive suites were all fully aware their on-air hosts were “endorsing” hoaxes about the 2020 presidential election that they knew to be false. Rupert Murdoch himself admitted he was aware that several of his hosts were promoting the hoaxes, including Jeanine Pirro, Sean Hannity, and Lou Dobbs, and Murdoch was even willing to allow that Fox executives should “maybe got rid of” if it was proven that they knew the network was airing lies.
Good news on that front: In another part of the materials just released as part of Dominion’s response to a Fox News motion for summary judgment, we learn that ex-House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is on the Fox News board of directors, directly told both Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch that “these conspiracy theories were baseless” and that “Fox News should not be spreading conspiracy theories.” That would seem to preclude any executive excuses on the subject; from the board of directors to the Murdoch family itself, the bigwigs knew full well that their hosts were spreading election lies.
Dominion continues to have Fox News dead to rights on this one; it’s difficult to prove defamation lawsuits, but Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox has featured a mountain of evidence to prove that Fox News’ on-air pundits knew full well that accusations of fraud using Dominion’s voting machines were hoaxes.
There’s another tantalizing tidbit in Dominion’s filing as well. Media Matters senior fellow Matthew Gertz singled out a section in which Rupert Murdoch appears to confirm that when the Joe Biden presidential campaign purchased advertisements on Fox News during the campaign, Murdoch provided Trump White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner with “confidential information about Biden’s ads, along with debate strategy.”
During Trump’s campaign , Rupert provided Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, with Fox confidential information about Biden’s ads, along with debate strategy. Ex.600, R.Murdoch 210:6-9; 213:17-20; Ex.603 (providing Kushner a preview of Biden’s ads before they were public). But, on election night Rupert would not help with the Arizona call. As Rupert described it: “My friend Jared Kushner called me saying, This is terrible, and I could hear Trump’s voice in the background shouting.” Ex.600, R.Murdoch 65:6-8. But Rupert refused to budge: And I said, Well, the numbers are the numbers. Id. 65:9. By this point, Rupert knew no fraud had occurred:
We’ve long argued that Democratic candidates should not appear on the hoax-boosting propaganda network calling itself Fox News, but this is evidence that Democratic candidates should never, ever advertise on Fox either. Biden’s campaign may have purchased ads on the network, but Rupert Murdoch turned around and delivered those ads to the Trump team before they aired.
That’s probably not illegal, though it might be possible, perhaps, to argue that Murdoch’s delivery of confidential Biden campaign information was making an in-kind campaign contribution to Trump’s campaign.
But it’s definitely crooked for a supposed “news” network, and yet more proof that even as Fox pretends at being a journalistic outfit, it operates as a for-profit arm of the Republican Party’s campaign machine.
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.
Addendum: Keith Olbermann has thoughts.