The Debate Continues as Dominion Deposes Hannity, Carlson, Others Over Trump's 2020 Election 'Narrative'

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Month after month, news cycle after news cycle, some things never change, including the never-ending debate about the 2020 presidential election, with allegations that the election was “rigged” and “stolen,” Donald Trump’s role in the aftermath, and, on a journalistic sidetrack, the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News for claiming Dominion was complicit in voter fraud.


So, here’s the question, in this case: Was Dominion a villain or victim? The answer depends on which side one is predisposed to believe. For those in the middle, questions remain for both sides.

To refresh, Dominion brought a $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox Corporation after multiple Fox News hosts, including Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, repeatedly argued that the voting systems company was complicit in (alleged) voter fraud.

As reported by The Hill, Dominion’s lawyers have argued in court filings that Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and other leaders at Fox Corp. knowingly allowed the network to air false claims of voter fraud, saying they “decided to promote former President Trump’s narrative after Trump’s condemnation of Fox damaged its stock and viewership.” Incidentally, as you might recall, multiple political pundits who had previously sung Fox’s praises turned on a dime and joined Trump’s condemnation of the “Fair and Balanced” network, only to later return to the dutiful fold.

Fox has moved to have the case dismissed on First Amendment grounds, but a Delaware Superior Court judge in June ruled the case against the network could proceed. It should be noted that Fox also filed a similar motion to dismiss Smartmatic’s similar $2.7 billion suit, bizarrely claiming that allegations against the voting systems company were “newsworthy,” even if false. The only problem being Fox News hosts were among those making the allegations.


Now, as reported by The New York Times, Hannity is scheduled to sit for a deposition on Wednesday, Carlson is to be deposed on Friday, and Dobbs, whose show was canceled last year, is set to appear on Tuesday. Court records show “The Five” co-host Jeannine Pirro, “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, and a number of high-end Fox producers have also been recently deposed. The depositions are the clearest sign yet that Dominion is aggressively proceeding with its case against Fox.

Here’s more, via The Times:

The suit accuses Fox of pushing false and far-fetched claims of voter fraud to lure back viewers who had defected to other right-wing news sources. In its initial complaint, Dominion’s lawyers framed their lawsuit as a matter of profound civic importance. “The truth matters,” they said, adding, “Lies have consequences.”


Dominion’s legal complaint lays out how Fox repeatedly aired conspiracy theories about the company’s purported role in a plot to steal votes from former President Donald J. Trump, and argues that its business has suffered considerably as a result.

Those falsehoods — including that Dominion was a pawn of the Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and that its machines were designed with a feature that allowed votes to be flipped from one candidate to another — aired night after night as Fox hosts like Mr. Hannity and Mr. Dobbs allowed guests to make them on their shows, and in some cases vouched for them.


A spokesman for Fox Corporation, noted The Times, has claimed the First Amendment protected the company from the suit, and that any attempt by Dominion lawyers to put the Murdochs at the center of their case would be a “fruitless fishing expedition.”

The network is “confident we will prevail as freedom of the press is foundational to our democracy and must be protected,” a Fox News spokeswoman said in a statement. She added that the $1.6 billion in damages that Dominion is seeking are “outrageous, unsupported and not rooted in sound financial analysis.” According to court filings, Dominion estimates business losses at hundreds of millions of dollars and values the company at around $1 billion.

So the band plays on, and the song remains the same. Every last verse of it.

The bottom line:

As I suggested at the top, battle lines have long been drawn over the 2020 election and its aftermath, including the January 6 Capitol riot, the unprecedented FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, and Trump’s continuing insistence that the election was indeed “rigged” and “stolen.”

Those battle lines remain steadfast; no amount of evidence to the contrary or lack thereof changes a single mind on either hardened side.


Hence, 2024 is going to make 2020 look like a Sunday school picnic.


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