Saturday Night Live went with the week’s biggest media stories for its cold open: the revelations from Dominion Voting Systems bombshell filing in its defamation lawsuit against Fox News. Watch a clip below.
Once again choosing the setting of Fox & Friends to skewer the network, hosts Steve Doocy (Mikey Day), Ainsley Earhardt (Heidi Gardner) and Brian Kilmeade (Bowen Yang) explained the revelations and why the network hasn’t covered the case.
“Rupert Murdoch admitted that Fox News aired election fraud conspiracies to get ratings even though everyone at Fox knew they were false,” Day’s Doocy says.
“Uh-oh. I didn’t. Loop a brother in next time,” Yang’s Kilmeade says.
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Gardner’s Earhardt then tells viewers, “You may be wondering, if it is such a big story, why haven’t I heard about it on Fox?”
“I think it is because they are suing us for $1.6 billion,” Kilmeade says.
Doocy corrects him. “No, it’s complete BS. The media is taking private texts from Fox News hosts and showing them completely out of context.”
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In reality, Fox News actually has contended that Dominion, in its court filings, has taken texts and emails gathered in its lawsuit and taken them out of context.
A scheduled release on Tuesday of exhibits in the case should give added context to some of the texts, emails and deposition statements that Dominion has cited in its filings. But in the SNL skit, the Fox & Friends hosts try to explain the context.
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They point to one text from Sean Hannity: “Rudy Giuliani is insane.”
“How could you leave out the rest?” Kilmeade says. “It’s Rudy Giuliani is insane-ly hot.“
The skit also featured an appearance from Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO who is one of the network’s most prolific sponsors — and one of the most visible of conspiracy theorists about the 2020 election.
Before he comes on, Kilmeade warns him, “Because of this lawsuit, our lawyers have asked you please don’t say anything crazy about Dominion.”
Lindell responds, “No problem. I’ve been briefed. I know the rules. Every Dominion machine has a Venezuelan Oompa Loompa inside!”
Then Doocy tries to cut him off.
“You can’t just be saying, whatever, anymore.”
Lindell responds: “Of course, of course. Let me choose my words carefully. Dominion Voting Machines give triple votes to Democrats, illegals and that lady M&M that stopped shaving her pits!”
Dominion’s lawsuit singles out Lindell as one of the guests Fox featured to amplify the false claims that the company was involved in rigging the election. In its filings, Dominion has noted that Tucker Carlson featured Lindell as a guest on January 26, 2021, well after Dominion warned the network that its personalities were amplifying falsehoods about the company. According to Dominion, “Murdoch admitted it was ‘wrong'” for Carlson to host Lindell without contesting his claims about the company.
Fox News said that Dominion’s lawsuit “has always been more about what will generate headlines than what can withstand legal and factual scrutiny, as illustrated by them now being forced to slash their fanciful damages demand by more than half a billion dollars after their own expert debunked its implausible claims.” Fox News has challenged Dominion’s $1.6 billion damages claim.
The network also said that Dominion’s “summary judgment motion took an extreme, unsupported view of defamation law that would prevent journalists from basic reporting and their efforts to publicly smear FOX for covering and commenting on allegations by a sitting President of the United States should be recognized for what it is: a blatant violation of the First Amendment.”
The network’s anchors and correspondents have stayed away stories on the case. Howard Kurtz, who anchors its weekly MediaBuzz, said on Sunday’s show that he was told not to cover it, though he disagreed with the decision.
The SNL skit came just hours after The New York Times reported that the week after the election in 2020, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace convened a Zoom meeting to talk about the backlash the network got for being the first news outlet to call Arizona for Joe Biden, angering Donald Trump and the White House.
“Listen, it’s one of the sad realities: If we hadn’t called Arizona, those three or four days following Election Day, our ratings would have been bigger,” Ms. Scott said, according to the Times review of a recording of the conversation. “The mystery would have been still hanging out there.” According to the Times, anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum suggested that viewer reaction should be considered, not just the statistical determinations from the election model, in making such calls.
In a statement to the Times, Fox News said, “Fox News stood by the Arizona call despite intense scrutiny. Given the extremely narrow 0.3 percent margin and a new projection mechanism that no other network had, of course there would be a wide-ranging post-mortem surrounding the call and how it was executed no matter the candidates.”
Here is a clip from the cold open:
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