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HomeInternationalFox News Settles Historic $787.5M Defamation Suit with Dominion Voting Systems.

Fox News Settles Historic $787.5M Defamation Suit with Dominion Voting Systems.

In a landmark resolution, Fox News has agreed to pay Dominion Voting Systems a staggering $787.5 million, marking the largest known media defamation settlement in US history. The settlement was reached just before the highly anticipated libel trial, with Dominion initially suing for $1.6 billion.

A High-Stakes Case with Far-Reaching Implications

Dominion, an electronic voting machine manufacturer, accused Fox News of knowingly promoting baseless claims that the company rigged the 2020 presidential election in favor of Joe Biden. The presiding judge had already determined Fox News’s statements about Dominion’s role in the 2020 election to be false. To meet the US’ high defamation standard, Dominion would also need to prove Fox News either knowingly lied to its audience or displayed a reckless disregard for the truth.

Breaking Down the Settlement’s Impact

For Fox News, the settlement represents a sizable expense, nearly 20% of its available cash. However, by settling, Fox News avoids a trial that would potentially expose internal newsroom operations and require testimonies from prominent figures like chairman Rupert Murdoch and hosts like Tucker Carlson. Notably, the settlement does not require an on-air apology from Fox News, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Dominion stands to benefit significantly from the $787.5 million payout, considering the company generates less than $100 million per year in sales, according to Axios’s Dan Primack.

Critics of Fox News, however, expressed disappointment that the case did not proceed to trial. They argue that by promoting former President Trump’s false “rigged election” narrative, Fox News contributed to the erosion of trust in elections, culminating in January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. They contend that the settlement fails to hold the network accountable.

Future Legal Challenges for Fox News

Despite this settlement, Fox News still faces legal challenges. The network is currently confronting a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit from another election technology company, Smartmatic, over claims similar to Dominion’s. A New York judge allowed the case to proceed last month.