Fox News Admits Making False Claims as It Settles Dominion Systems Lawsuit

Fox building in New York
(Image credit: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems reached a settlement in Dominion’s $1.6-billion defamation suit just before the high-profile case was about to go to trial.

Lawyers for Dominion said that the network, a division of Fox Corp., will pay more than $787 million to the voting machine company.

Dominion accused Fox of spreading misinformation about its equipment and its role in the 2020 election.

During discovery, many documents, phone calls and texts were made public showing that Fox executives, including Rupert Murdoch, network managers and on-air talent, had questions about whether claims being reported about Dominion were true.

In a statement, Fox News acknowledged that the court found claims about Dominion to be false. Fox is not obligated to address the issue on air.  (The topic did not come up during the 5 p.m. edition of Fox News Channel’s The Five and was not mentioned during the early portions of Special Report With Bret Baier at 6, though it was mentioned during Neil Cavuto’s show [see tweet below]. It was the dominant story during those time periods on CNN and MSNBC.)

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“We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems. We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,” Fox News said in the statement. “This settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.” It was widely reported on other networks that Fox News was not required to make an on-air apology or issue retractions as part of the settlement. "We can't control what they do on their shows,” Stephen Shackelford, a Dominion lawyer, said on CNN during the 7 p.m. hour.

The Washington Post reported that Dominion lawyer Justin Nelson said outside the courtroom, “The truth has meaning. Lies have consequences.”

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis last month ruled that Dominion had already proved that statements Fox News made on air were false and said he would instruct jurors that Fox’s statements were false.

“The evidence developed in this civil proceeding demonstrates that [it] is crystal clear that none of the statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true,” Davis said in his ruling.

The beginning of the trial was delayed, leading to speculation that a settlement was in the works.

Fox News also has been sued, over alleged defamation, by Smartmatic, another voting technology firm. Dominion also sued Newsmax and One America News Network, and Newsmax said in a statement today: “Newsmax believes that the facts at issue in Dominion’s case against it are materially different from those that may have driven Fox to settle, and no conclusion about Newsmax should be drawn from that settlement. Newsmax stands by its coverage and analysis of the 2020 election and will continue to vigorously defend against the claim.” 


Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.

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