Other View / Fox in the news house: Legal filings expose profits were sought over truth
From the editorial: "Make up all the stuff you want about conspiracies involving chocolate candies, but don’t spin lies that put the fate of the country at risk."
The evidence in a recent 159-page filing by Dominion Voting Systems in its lawsuit against Fox News for its role in 2020 election disinformation is so voluminous and blatant that Fox will have a tough time defending itself from a judgment, where Dominion is seeking a payment of $1.6 billion. Yet whether or not it loses, this case is beyond the point.
Even if Fox had not defamed anyone who could turn around and sue, and it had simply engaged in First Amendment-protected speech repeating more broad stolen election falsities, it must be held accountable for the damage it caused in undermining a free and fair national vote and stoking an insurrection that sacked the Capitol on Jan. 6. It’s not about having a conservative or liberal bent, but subverting democracy itself.
Messages, internal conversations, and depositions obtained from Fox in discovery make clear that executives and high-profile hosts were fully aware that people like President Donald Trump attorney Sidney Powell were fabulists engaged in a dangerous effort to sow distrust in and overturn the 2020 election — an effort whose success would literally mean the death of American democracy — and chose to give them megaphones and stop their own reporters from fact-checking them.
We’re not talking about eye roll-worthy but ultimately largely harmless hand-wringing about wokeness in M&Ms here. This was a moment at which the survival of the American project of peaceful representative governance hung in the balance, and an organization that bills itself as a news network acted in furtherance of its own business interests and against the preservation of democracy, all in the fear that “our side,” as one Tucker Carlson producer put it, would stop watching or turn to harder-right rival channel Newsmax.
Make up all the stuff you want about conspiracies involving chocolate candies, but don’t spin lies that put the fate of the country at risk. Viewers, advertisers and profits are all fine objectives, but the Constitution protects the right of the free press for what we would think is a higher calling: the truth.
— New York Daily News Editorial Board ( nydailynews.com )