With the Fox-Dominion Settlement We’re Still at the “Mercy of a Billionaire Dynasty”
At the eleventh hour, Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems resolved a defamation suit over the network’s coverage of the 2020 election, evading weeks of trial that would have brought the network’s biggest names, including Rupert Murdoch, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity, to the witness stand. Although the court found that Fox aired falsehoods about Dominion, apologizing or retracting those falsehoods on air was reportedly not part of the settlement deal. Even as Fox was able to resolve its suit with Dominion just hours after jury selection, the network still faces other legal challenges. Fox News is being sued by Smartmatic for $2.7 billion in damages for defaming the voting-technology company in its coverage of the 2020 election, and a former producer has filed a pair of lawsuits against the company alleging a hostile work environment and claiming that the network’s lawyers pushed her to give misleading testimony in the Dominion case. With its reputation—and money—on the line, what is next for Fox News and the Murdoch family’s hold on the company? And what could the various pending defamation cases portend for libel law in the United States? The New Yorker staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos consider these questions, among others, in this week’s political roundtable.