Dominion Voting Systems filed suit this week against Fox Corp., as it seeks to establish that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch bore responsibility when Fox News guests and personalities made false claims about the election systems company’s role in the 2020 presidential election.
The lawsuit, which was filed Monday in Delaware Superior Court (read it here), follows defamation lawsuits that Dominion has filed against Fox News itself. The network is seeking a dismissal of that lawsuit, arguing that the claim is an attack on its First Amendment right to report on the election.
The new lawsuit (read it here) appears to be an effort by Dominion to force discovery of the Fox News parent company and the Murdochs.
The lawsuit notes that after Dominion filed suit against Fox News in March, “Fox News ran away from the actions of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch. Indeed, Fox News has disclaimed any responsibility for searching or producing the Murdochs’ documents, or working to facilitate any discovery from Fox Corporation at all—despite Fox Corporation’s clear involvement (through Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, and others) in managing Fox News, including through editorial input and control.”
The lawsuit also named Fox Broadcasting as a defendant, citing its operation of Fox.com.
A spokesperson for Fox Corp. said, “The filing changes nothing of substance in this case. Fox is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and we will continue to vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court.”
The lawsuit claims that even though Rupert Murdoch did not believe then-President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud, “he nevertheless encouraged on-air personalities to perpetuate these baseless claims.” Dominion’s Fox News lawsuit cited statements made by Trump’s attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, along with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, that the elections system company was involved in rigging the election in Joe Biden’s favor. The lawsuit also claims that Fox News personalities Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro and Sean Hannity, along with former host Lou Dobbs, advanced the defamatory content on their shows.
In its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Fox News attorneys wrote in their brief, “Dominion confuses the obligation to truthfully report allegations with a purported requirement that the media rebut their underlying falsity.”
Much of the Fox Corp. lawsuit cites media reports of the involvement of the Murdochs in post-election decision making. Dominion’s attorneys contend that “regardless of where within the constellation of Fox Corporation companies the defamatory statements occurred, Fox Corporation itself—including Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch—maintained control over the decisions that caused harm to Dominion by the publication of these defamatory statements.”
Dominion’s Fox Corp. lawsuit claims that Fox News continued to give Giuliani and other figures platforms as the network faced competitive pressures from Newsmax and One America News Network. In the aftermath of the election, Trump himself had been promoting those networks as alternatives to Fox News.
In August, a federal judge ruled that Dominion could move forward with separate lawsuits against Giuliani, Powell and Lindell. The company also has filed defamation lawsuits against Newsmax and OANN.
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