Fox News will change its news coverage after paying a large defamation settlement to Dominion Voting Systems
After the 2020 election, Fox News employees were discussing a “pivot” to shift their coverage away from former President Donald J. Trump and towards more mainstream Republican politics, which Rupert Murdoch, the network’s founding chairman, favored.
Mr. Murdoch expressed his desire to turn Mr. Trump into a “non person.” This sentiment has not changed, as evidenced by Mr. Murdoch’s January deposition in the Dominion Voting Systems defamation lawsuit against Fox. He stated, “I’d still like to.”
However, Fox’s audience, which is both the source of the network’s profits and the largest in cable, may not agree with Mr. Murdoch.
Those who expect that the $787.5 million settlement between Fox and Dominion this week will make the network more humble or subdued are likely to be disappointed. There is unlikely to be much change in the network’s favorable coverage of Mr. Trump and the issues that resonate with his supporters.
Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News editor and on-air personality who was fired by the network in 2021 and was scheduled to be a witness in the Dominion case, said, “How are you going to make an argument to your hosts to not do things that rate? You can’t tell people, ‘Do anything to get a rating, but don’t cover the most popular figure in the Republican Party.'”
After a long break from the network, Mr. Trump has returned to Fox News. He has already done three interviews with the network in less than a month, including a recent one with Mark Levin that will air on Sunday.
Even the issue of voter fraud, which resulted in Fox being sued for billions of dollars by Dominion and another voting technology company, Smartmatic, has not disappeared entirely. In a recent interview with Tucker Carlson, Mr. Trump suggested that there was good reason to doubt President Biden’s victory, saying, “People could say he won an election.”
Mr. Carlson, on the other hand, has also recently returned to election denialism. On March 14, he said on the air, “Jan. 6, I think, is probably second only to the 2020 election as the biggest scam of my lifetime.” (Private text messages he exchanged with his producers, which were revealed as part of Dominion’s lawsuit, show him discussing how there was no proof that the 2020 election results were materially affected by fraud.)