Even far-right Fox media mogul Rupert Murdoch found Rudy Giuliani’s vote fraud press conference after Donald Trump’s election loss “crazy,” according to a court filing.
“Really crazy stuff. And damaging,” Murdoch wrote in a November 2020 text message, which was revealed in a summary judgment brief filed Thursday by attorneys for Dominion Voting Systems. The company is suing Fox News and its parent Fox Corporation for $1.6 billion over alleged defamation.
In their unforgettable presentation, Giuliani and another Trump-supporting lawyer, Sidney Powell, spun a bizarre, incomprehensible tale of a rigged election. They spoke of supposed manipulation by voting machine software “created in Venezuela” at the direction of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who had died seven years earlier.
A wild-eyed Giuliani appeared to ooze something like hair dye throughout the press conference.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson flatly told a producer that “Sidney Powell is lying” about having evidence to support her story, according to the court filing. Carlson also reportedly referred to Powell in a text as an “unguided missile” and “dangerous as hell.”
Fellow Fox host Laura Ingraham told Carlson that Powell is “a complete nut. No one will work with her,” adding, “Ditto with Rudy,” according to the filing.
Despite the off-the-rails press conference and outright disbelief over the claims, Fox News hosts, executives and Murdoch nevertheless used the powerful Fox media platform to prop up a baseless election fraud story, Dominion is arguing in its suit.
“Fox knew,” states the latest court filing. “From the top down, Fox knew ‘the dominion stuff’ was ‘total bs.’”
Fox defended its coverage, writing in a response that the Constitution protects freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
But courts have ruled in the past that deliberate lies are not necessarily protected speech. Fox journalists and executives knew the rigged election tale was a lie, yet continued to push it, which meets the bar for defamation, Dominion argued in the brief.
A spokesperson for Fox sent the following statement: “There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan.”
This story has been updated with a statement from Fox News.