The judge approves that the case advance to trial and dismantles the defense of Fox News by not considering “pure opinions” the accusations of electoral fraud
An American judge has confirmed that the case between the American chain of Fox News, of conservative opinions and considered the favorite of former President Donald Trump, with the Dominion company, in charge of the voting machines used in the presidential elections, will be brought to trial. .
Dominion denounced the chain for defamation by assuring that the votes in the December 2020 elections, in which Joe Biden overthrew Trump, had been manipulated, something that the judge has now confirmed is completely false.
“The evidence presented in this civil proceeding shows that it is COMPLETELY CLEAR that none of the claims about Dominion in connection with the 2020 election are true,” said Eric Davis, the pretrial judge who has reviewed thousands of sheets of papers. evidence to determine if the case should proceed to trial.
Having already proven that the claims about electoral manipulation are false, the jury will have to decide if they imply defamation of Dominion, in a case that is expected to last for weeks, according to CNN, and for which Dominion asks 1,600 million of dollars (1,470 million euros) in damages.
A DECISION THAT KNOCKS DOWN THE FOX NEWS DEFENSE BEFORE IT STARTED
In the 130-page preliminary ruling, the judge dismantled several of the points used by Fox News’ defense, which could no longer be argued during the subsequent trial.
Davis has denied that the defense can use the “neutral coverage privilege” that protects journalists so that they can communicate, objectively, accusations made by public figures, considering that only the argument of “electoral theft” was voiced. many Republicans, including then-outgoing President Trump, shot back.
It also doesn’t think they can adhere to the “fair coverage privilege,” which refers to information provided in official proceedings, such as hearings in Congress or in court cases, since the network made the false allegations long before such processes existed.
“The context supports the idea that the accusations were not ‘pure opinions’ when they were made by reporters claiming to be based on reliable sources,” added the judge, considering the accusations “mixed opinions” or directly “objective statements” made by the presenters.
Even if the accusations were considered opinions, Davis added, they would not be protected by the US Constitution by “charging Dominion with the serious crime of voter fraud.”
THE REPUTATION OF THE CHAIN HAS ALREADY SUFFERED
During the tests shown in this preview, which has lasted several weeks, numerous facts have come to light that have damaged the public image of the network, the fifth most watched in the United States in 2022 with 2.37 million viewers, according to data from the country’s National Spectator Meter (NPM).
Among the tests, emails and text messages from some of the chain’s leaders, from its president, Rupert Murdoch, to its star presenter, Tucker Carlson.
“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights,” Carlson wrote to a colleague on January 4, two days before the storming of the Capitol by supporters of the former president. “I really can’t wait. I hate him with a passion,” added the presenter about the relationship with the former president who, during the height of his term, constantly spread the media news written to his greatest glory on social networks.
Murdoch, in a conversation with the organization’s CEO, Suzanne Scott, ended up declaring himself exasperated by the criticism received by the group after the assault on the Capitol. “They keep throwing mud at us. Maybe Sean and Laura have gone too far,” he lamented, referring to two other big faces on the chain, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.