Last-Minute Twist in Fox News vs. Dominion Case Leaves Gaping Questions

Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

The contentious defamation lawsuit between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems saw a last-minute twist occur on Sunday evening.

Fox News is being sued by Dominion after multiple shows on the conservative network aired segments pushing the idea that Dominion’s voting machines had been used to rig the 2020 election. Those claims largely originated with figures like Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, who both made grandiose promises of coming proof. The “Kraken” never materialized, though, and even Trump’s own legal team never took that argument to any court.

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Unfortunately for Fox News, they were left holding the bag, and it looks like it’s going to cost them an astronomical amount of money. According to a new report, the trial date for the defamation suit has been postponed because Fox News is looking to settle.

A Delaware judge delayed the start of the eagerly anticipated trial on a voting-machine company’s defamation claims against Fox News, an announcement that came as the network is looking for a possible way to settle the case.

The trial is now set to begin on Tuesday at 9:00 AM, giving the two sides an extra day to continue negotiations. Will Fox News settle, avoiding was appears to be a likely loss before a jury? That’s certainly what they want to do given how badly things have gone for them in court so far. The question is whether Dominion will even allow that. They know they have a strong case, and they have long indicated they want retribution to play out in the open. A settlement would mean the issue sinks into the foreground without any side publicly admitting guilt.

I’m also curious how a massive settlement (and rumors are it’ll be huge) would affect Fox News’ relationship with Donald Trump’s camp. The former president put out a Truth Social post on Monday morning shortly after 2:00 AM proclaiming that Fox News should simply double down on the stolen election claims. That would obviously lead to even more financial ruin, though.

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So what does Fox News’ management do if they end up crushed here? Do they lay down the law with their hosts when it comes to Trump and the stolen election claims? And if they try to do that, how will the hosts react? I’d guess not very well. Will certain figures be completely banned from the network? How much will Trump himself be allowed on air after this?

It’s a bad situation, but what choice does the network have but to play hardball going forward? You don’t win lawsuits on Twitter, and no amount of “but what about” from two-bit faux legal experts is going to save Fox News at this point. The biggest problem for the network comes in the form of text messages purporting to show malice, i.e. that producers and/or hosts knew what was being said was false but put it on the air anyway.

The long and short of this is that Fox News is in a lot of trouble. The amount of money they could be required to pay out if they lose at trial could cripple the network, and there’s no guarantee that Dominion will give them the out of a lower settlement. Wherever this goes, you can probably bet that big changes are coming to Fox News in the future.

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