US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (pictured) has said that it would have been better for the US if Dominion Voting Machines had not settled with Fox News and, instead, pushed the Rupert Murdoch-owned network all the way to a decision.
Dominion sued Fox after the network’s hosts propagated a succession of knowingly false assertions about the company regarding the 2020 US Presidential election.
However, after Fox attempted to stall and delay the trial with late submissions of evidence, the companies settled out of court for a record US$787.5 million amount (around AU$1.1 billion).
Both Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan were due to testify in court about their role in the affair, as were several high-profile Fox hosts including Tucker Carlson, which would have made the trial a bonanza for the international media.
While Ocasio-Cortez (whose name is frequently abbreviated to AOC) told former White House press secretary and now-MSNBC host Jen Psaki that while Dominion’s lawyers got a big win for their client, they did not get the right result for US citizens.
“This was a corporation suing another corporation for material damages,” she said.
“Their job is to go in and get the most money that they can. And I think that they did that. They are not lawyers for the American public.
“I think what is best for the country, what would have been best for the country, would have been to demand that and to not settle until we got that. But that is not their role.
“And so for us, I think this really raises much larger questions. Very often, I believe that we leave to the courts to solve issues that politics is really supposed to solve, that our legislating is supposed to solve.”
Nine deaths have been linked to the 6 January attack on the US Capitol, which resulted from Trump’s loss of the election. Fox News hosts repeated claims that Dominion switched votes, paid government kickbacks and had been founded in Venezuela to fix elections for Hugo Chávez.
However, in the run-up to the trial Dominion unearthed evidence from Fox that showed that executives at the highest level of the company, including Murdoch, were aware of the claims and did nothing to dissuade presenters from making them. The evidence even showed that the executives and the presenters themselves did not believe the claims that the network was making.
“We have very real issues with what is permissible on air. And we saw that with January 6. And we saw that in the lead-up to January 6, and how we navigate questions not just of freedom of speech but also accountability for incitement of violence,” said Ocasio-Cortz.
When asked whether media networks should be held accountable for the attack on the Capitol, Ocasio-Cortez said that “when it comes to broadcast television, like Fox News, these are subject to federal law, federal regulation, in terms of what’s allowed on air and what isn’t.
“And when you look at what [the primetime host] Tucker Carlson and some of these other folks on Fox do, it is very, very clearly incitement of violence. And that is the line that I think we have to be willing to contend with.”
Fox News is not out of the woods just yet, however. It still faces legal action from Smartmatic, another voting machines company, which is suing Fox for US$2.7 billion (AU$4 billion). Abby Grossberg, a former Fox staffer, is also suing the company, claiming she was forced to give misleading testimony.
Even a Fox shareholder is suing the network, seeking damages and claiming that execs breached their fiduciary duty to the company by allowing the false election claims to be broadcast.
Lead image credit: MSNBC.
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