Fox News made a 180 degree course correction on Tuesday by settling out of court with Dominion Voting Systems over the network’s defamatory lies it spread after the election, agreeing to pay the astronomical amount of $787.5 million. It’s nice to see gravity starting to return to the world of news and politics, where one’s held accountable for one’s actions.
What’s more, though, Fox somehow came out getting the worst of both worlds here. Not only did they settle for a huge sum of money, they still had to put their executives and anchors through the humiliating process of having their dirty laundry aired (in the sense of emails revealing their conscious efforts to mislead the public) and the public spectacle that coincides with that kind of thing. It begs the question, “Why go through all that pain just to agree to pay the huge sum Dominion wanted?”
The only apparent concession Fox got was not having to publicly apologize. Fox can’t afford to perturb its fickle, fanatical audience of cranks, crackers, and crackpots. It’s willing to pay nearly any price to avoid it. One wonders what that fallout might look like. Fortunately, we might soon find out.
Dominion is just one of the two voting system corporations suing Fox. Smartmatic is expected to have its day in court around July 2024, and they certainly smell blood in the water after seeing what they were willing to settle with Dominion for. Will they put their company and its staff through the same kind of public humiliation again? Will Smartmatic pull down a much more hefty sum than Dominion, since they’re even better positioned?
The key question is this: Will Smartmatic refuse to accept settlement terms in which Fox doesn’t force it’s anchors and talking heads to directly apologize to its audience? That’s what I’ll be watching for.