Dominion Voting Systems unsealed a trove of texts, emails and various other documents from Fox News talent and executives Tuesday evening as part of its $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News Media, as the voting technology company continues to argue that the news network purposefully broadcast false claims about its software, defamed the brand and ultimately hurt its bottom line.
More than 6,500 pages of exhibits were released by Dominion on Tuesday, although many of the filings are heavily redacted.
One example is a January 21, 2021 email, the day after Inauguration Day, sent by Fox Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch to Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, in which he expresses that Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham “went too far” in their coverage of former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election. “Is it ‘unarguable that high profile Fox voices fed the story that the election was stolen and that January 6th an important chance to have the result overturned’? Maybe Sean and Laura went too far. All very well for Sean to tell you he was in despair about Trump but what did he tell his viewers?,” he wrote.
Speaking of Fox News primetime, another exhibit featured a text conversation between Hannity, Ingraham and Tucker Carlson. The trio seemed concerned about losing viewers and upset about the overall direction of the network. They criticized former Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace and former anchor/correspondent Leland Vittert, among others.
“I think the three of us have enormous power,” Ingraham texted, adding that they have “more power than we know or exercise.” She added, “we should think about how together we can force a change.” Hannity said Ingraham should “keep thinking.” Carlson said that “the first thing” they needed to do is “exactly what we want to do.” Carlson added, “We are all officially working for an organization that hates us.”
In another newly-uncovered email sent the day major news outlets called the election for Joe Biden, Murdoch discusses the election result with then-New York Post editor in chief Col Allan. Murdoch is angry at his own network’s Decision Desk, proclaiming, “I hate our Decision Desk people! And pollsters! Some of the same people I think. Just for the hell of it still praying for Az to prove them wrong!” The Decision Desk went on to accurately project that Biden had defeated Trump.
Also released was a Jan. 4, 2021 text message thread from Tucker Carlson to an unnamed Fox News staffer complaining that he wanted to stop covering Trump and that he “passionately” hates him.
“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights,” adding, “I truly can’t wait … I hate him passionately. I blew up at [former Trump White House official] Peter Navarro today in frustration. I actually like Peter. But I can’t handle much more of this.”
Carlson added, “That’s the last four years. We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest. But come on. There isn’t really an upside to Trump.”
Additionally, Carlson, his executive producer Justin Wells and primetime Fox News executive Ron Mitchell discuss the Sidney Powell press conference in a separate thread.
Here’s Tucker Carlson, his executive producer, and a Fox News executive mocking all the election lies. pic.twitter.com/B9XpViWYpv
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) March 8, 2023
Another revelation is Fox News weekend news and programming svp David Clark being asked during his deposition whether he feels Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo, a show he oversees, is a “credible source of news.” He initially responded “I don’t know,” before adding, “I am going to answer the question yes.”
Clark added in his deposition that he does not see Hannity or Tucker Carlson Tonight as credible sources of news.
Additionally, Sean Hannity claimed during his August 31 deposition that he takes “great pains to get to the truth” and hope that his audience trusts him. When asked how he views his obligation, he replied, “we produce news and information that is truth that most other newscasts wouldn’t put out there.”
“The emails, texts, and deposition testimony speak for themselves. We welcome all scrutiny of our evidence because it all leads to the same place — Fox knowingly spread lies causing enormous damage to an American company,” Dominion said in a statement.
In its countersuit, Fox News cites the First Amendment, arguing that the news organization was simply reporting on newsworthy allegations from President Trump and his high-profile advocates.
Fox also says that Dominion “cherry-picked” and “misrepresented” the content included in its summary judgment filing, and the network cites testimony by Fox Corp co-chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch, who said under oath that he was “concerned” but “not overly concerned” by declining Nielsen ratings after the election.
Dominion, on the other hand, is claiming that Fox News continued to push the false stolen election narrative because it was losing viewers to conservative news outlets that continued to tout it.
The network put out the following statement Tuesday evening.
“Thanks to today’s filings, Dominion has been caught red handed again using more distortions and misinformation in their PR campaign to smear Fox News and trample on free speech and freedom of the press,” Fox News said in a statement. “We already know they will say and do anything to try to win this case, but to twist and even misattribute quotes to the highest levels of our company is truly beyond the pale.”