The Fordham Ram

Fox News and Dominion Go Head-To-Head Over 2020 Elections


Dominion is suing Fox News concerning voting systems and widespread distrust. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Dominion is suing Fox News for what they claim to be lies spread about their voting systems and widespread distrust and irreversible damage done to the company by Fox hosts and Chief Executive of Fox Rupert Murdoch. However, in recent weeks, and with the progression of the lawsuit, more evidence has been presented and we have seen exactly what Dominion has in its pocket to prove that Fox damaged their brand and public trust on the whole. Firing back, Fox claims that they were platforming news that directly impacts the lives of all Americans on the basis of intel they deemed credible. However, with the main focus of the suit coming back to Fox executive Murdoch, it is arguable that Fox’s current stance in the suit and other varying details pins Murdoch as both liable and not liable for Dominion’s claims. 

On the night/morning of the election in 2020 when Fox called Arizona’s 11 electoral votes for Joe Biden, many Republicans were upset (namely, former President Donald Trump). It is also said that after the key call, Trump was seen yelling and seeking contact with Fox executives to get them to reverse their call, believing that he would win.

Murdoch is one of those executives, and though we do not know the exact nature of what was said by Trump, we do know he ushered for different narratives and reversals of calls from Fox. In the hours and days following shortly after those calls, and as argued by Dominion in their suit against Fox News, anchors began hosting guests and reporting on claims that voting systems provided by Dominion on election day were rigged for Biden and cheated his opponent out of a second term. 

Anchors such as Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Janine Pirro, Lou Dobbs and Tucker Carlson are among some who reported the claims. But as of late, it is Murdoch who has come into the spotlight of the main questions of the suit. 

Dominion has presented evidence in recent weeks that argues two main points against Murdoch in particular. One, Murdoch knew of the coup that Trump was attempting to stir in public opinion and hesitated to stop spreading related narratives. Two, Murdoch intended to help Trump due to his background as a conservative and allowed guests to air controversial narratives about the election even after Biden was inaugurated. 

However, many are questioning if Dominion pursuing damages of close to 1.6 billion dollars from Fox is something that is reasonable on the shaky ground being argued. Though the suit itself is up to corporate attorneys to argue and for a judge to decide, the suit should focus on simple ideas of virtue and what the constitution outlines Fox and Murdoch did both right and wrong.

When the organization was started in 1996 by Murdoch, Fox News held intentions to be better than their “corrupt” opposition in the media and provide the news as is and without a particular political alignment. Now, it is argued that Fox is one amongst many mainstream media outlets that have fallen into the pitfall of giving into rhetoric that increases ratings rather than reporting the news as it is. After all, Fox and Murdoch are in business as well, so in distasteful ways, it’s justifiable. But, whether it is right, wrong or otherwise, the concept of the freedom of the press is one that many are neglecting in the suit.

This concept outlines that newspapers, magazines or anchors are given the right to report the news without intervention from the government. This is what allows us to have a free press and avoid authoritarian and state media models seen in countries such as North Korea. But, in this suit presented by Dominion, it is alleged and put into a narrative that Murdoch was being used as a puppet by the Trump administration to sway opinion. However, there is a great deal that Fox has argued that shuts this idea presented by Dominion down. 

Namely, Fox argues that guests independent from Fox came onto their broadcasts, and the anchors or hosts themselves did not endorse ideas of election interference but only gave a platform to report stories that independent individuals gave evidence to back. At no point in the suit has Fox claimed they ever backed the ideas of election interference, but that they backed the news brought to them with facts behind them. This concept goes even further back than the issues raised in the Dominion suit and can be seen over the years with Fox’s reporting of similar findings through hosting individuals like those in organizations such as James O’Keefe with Project Veritas or Charlie Kirk with Turning Point USA. This concept is a common one in Fox’s reporting and goes deeper than the specific claims of catering to ideas of election interference, as over the years Fox has given a platform to report findings from individuals or organizations whom they might not “agree” with but have facts to back their claims and reporting. 

In the end, this is a topic that has already been put to bed as many Americans simply don’t care about the 2020 election, the best example being the 2022 midterms. In my view, regardless of the suit’s outcome, it will not affect viewership, reporting or standards at Fox because of the decay of demand in news related to 2020 in 2023. Further, if there were issues of election interference that were legitimate in 2020, they are further buried and made irrelevant by the Fox suit because suits like Dominion’s make true or untrue election statements null and void. Even if evidence proves such allegations and evidence of election fraud right, the mess of cases like this one confuses and makes surrounding conversation difficult.

However, if the suit ends in Dominion’s favor and the court finds that the allegations of libel have been met and Murdoch and Fox are responsible for intentionally harming the integrity of our national elections, any Fox anchor, employee or executive who engaged in such activities should suffer full potential legal consequences. It is simply in the best interests of our nation who’s still healing from COVID-19, economic obstacles and wounds made by the 2020 elections that this suit comes to the most correct and adequate conclusions so that we can learn from it and continue to trek forward.

Michael Duke, GSB ’26, is undecided from Scottsdale, Ariz.

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Fox News and Dominion Go Head-To-Head Over 2020 Elections