The day is finally here; Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News and Fox Corp moves into the trial phase beginning this afternoon in Wilmington, Del.
The trial was supposed to start Monday but was unexpectedly pushed back by a day by Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis, who brushed off the delay by saying that it was “not unusual” and affirmed it was his idea.
There was speculation that there was a last-minute effort to reach a settlement between the two parties, but that is not the case, as it’s all systems go.
With jury selection set to conclude this morning, opening arguments will soon follow, with Dominion setting the case that Fox News executives, on-air hosts, and behind-the-scene staffers knew that the technology company had no role in determining the outcome of the 2020 election but kept pushing that narrative in order to protect its competitive advantage and financial interests.
Fox News, for its part, will say that as a news organization, it was within its rights to cover claims of election fraud brought on by then-President Donald Trump and that it brought on people from the former president’s camp who supported those claims.
The network will try and prove to the jurors that they had no position when it came to these election claims, there was no “malice,” and that it was within its First Amendment rights to proceed in the manner it did.
In the court of public opinion, Fox News looks like it doesn’t have a sturdy leg to stand on as numerous pieces of evidence revealed during the pre-trial phase showed that the motives for sustaining this point of coverage were primarily to keep its audience base happy, many of whom were looking to flee to channels like Newsmax and OAN and protect its business.
Again, this trial is to be decided by the jurors within that courtroom, so what is perceived or concluded on the outside matters little to nothing.
With expected testimony from Fox Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, and on-air hosts like Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo and Sean Hannity, the results from this case will have broad implications across the media landscape.
Should Dominion prevail, it resets how cases against the media may be brought about.
Should Fox News prevail, the security blanket bestowed onto them and the other media entities by the First Amendment and the landmark New York Times vs. Sullivan case only gets stronger.