Four of Clubs: Sean Hannity, Fox News: Trump’s Biggest Shill Finally Comes Clean – No Voter Fraud

 

“It’s important not only for Fox News viewers, but for the network’s hosts and top executives, to hear former Vice President Cheney‘s warning about the ongoing danger Donald Trump and his lies pose to our constitutional republic.” 

– Jeremy Adler, spokesman for former Vice President Dick Cheney

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/aug/10/dick-cheney-ad-air-fox-news-bringing-stinging-crit/

 

December 2, 2020: Hannity tears into mainstream media for ‘totally, completely’ ignoring election fraud claims:‘We will remain independent. We answer only to the truth,’ the ‘Hannity’ host told his viewers. foxnews.com

 

December 1, 2020:  Attorney General William Barr declared Tuesday the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election. Barr’s comments contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month’s voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.apnews.com

Jan. 6, 2021:

Even Fox News’s Sean Hannity tried to stop the madness, in a text to Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany: “Hey now, no more crazy people, no more stolen election talk. Yes, impeachment and 25th amendment are real. Many people will quit.” [Boldface added]

Replied [Trump press secretary Kayleigh] McEnany: “Love that. That’s the playbook.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/06/09/january-6th-committee-testimony-cheney-trump-dishonor/

Feb. 4, 2021: After legal threat, Fox airs news package debunking election fraud claims made by its own hosts. cnn.com.

“Like a Trumpian mini-me, Hannity sometimes sounds as if he’s channelling Trump”  newyorker.com, May 18, 2017​​

“HANNITY HAS SAID TO ME MORE THAN ONCE, ‘[TRUMP]’S  CRAZY’”: FOX NEWS STAFFERS FEEL TRAPPED IN THE TRUMP CULT” vanityfair.com, August 20, 2020

 

June 14, 2021: The Fox News host Sean Hannity reportedly had a falling out with Trump last year.

The Fox News host was “disgusted” with Trump’s election lies, but only privately, as he worried about alienating his audience, a new book says.

New details about Trump’s relationship with Fox are in an update of Stelter’s book “Hoax.”

  • A newly released paperback copy of the CNN anchor and media reporter Brian Stelter’s book “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth” includes details learned since its initial release in August.
  • Hannity, who has campaigned for Trump at rallies despite his job at a news organization, was advising Trump in frequent phone calls leading up to Election Day, Stelter said.
  • But when Trump began to peddle disinformation about the election and falsely say it had been stolen, the prime-time host reportedly came close to a breaking point.

https://www.businessinsider.fr/us/trump-hannity-friendship-falling-out-2020-election-fox-news-book-2021-6  By Jake LaHUt, June 14, 2021

The Myth of Voter Fraud: Extensive research reveals that fraud is very rare. Yet repeated, false allegations of fraud can make it harder for millions of eligible Americans to participate in elections. brennancenter.org

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

March 20, 20234

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

Parnas is a Ukrainian-born former associate of one-time Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. He was deeply involved in the attempt to smear Hunter Biden before the 2020 presidential election. This attempt included then-president Trump’s 2019 phone call to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to force him to announce he was opening an investigation into the Ukrainian energy company on whose board Hunter Biden sat. Trump suggested he would not release the money Congress had appropriated to enable Ukraine to resist Russian incursions into Crimea until Zelensky agreed to such an announcement. 

That call eventually led to Trump’s first impeachment, in December 2019. 

During that impeachment and ever since, Parnas said, “I have never wavered from saying that there was no evidence of the Bidens’ corruption in Ukraine—because there truly was none. On the contrary, by setting up a search for false criminality, every individual majorly involved in this plan was disguising their own criminal activity. That persists to this very day: The impeachment proceedings that bring us here now are predicated on a bunch of false information that is being spread by the Kremlin.”

Parnas said, “My mission for Giuliani and Trump would come to encompass nearly a year of traveling across the globe to find damaging information on the Bidens. This included trips to Ukraine, Poland, Spain, Vienna, London, and other locations…. In my travels, I found precisely zero proof of the Bidens’ criminality.”

What he did find, Parnas said, was that “the Kremlin was forcing [disinformation] through Russian, Ukrainian, American, and other channels to interfere in our elections. Ultimately this was meant to benefit Trump’s re-election, which would in turn benefit Vladimir Putin.”

Every person pushing “the Biden corruption rumors” knew they were “baseless,” Parnas said. And then he named names: “Then-Congressman Devin Nunes [R-CA, who at the time chaired the House Intelligence Committee], Senator Ron Johnson [R-WI], then chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee], and many other individuals understood that they were pushing a false narrative. The same goes for John Solomon [of The Hill], Sean Hannity, and media personnel, particularly at FOX News, who used that narrative to manipulate the public ahead of the 2020 election. They are still doing this today, as we approach the 2024 election.” 

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

April 1, 2023 

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

Also today, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis ruled in favor of Dominion Voting Systems in a key point of the company’s lawsuit against the Fox News Corporation for defamation. The ruling also established the central point for dismissing the story that Trump had won the 2020 election. Davis wrote—in italics—“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.” 

The Fox News Corporation had argued that the false statements of its hosts claiming that the voting system had thrown the 2020 presidential election to Biden were not defamatory because they were opinions. In his decision the judge went through the statements, calling out 20 occasions on which lies were stated as facts and similar occasions on which deliberately omitted material changed the meaning of what was presented. 

The judge has determined that the hosts’ statements were false. Now the case will go to a jury trial in April to determine whether Fox hosts knew they were lying and whether Dominion sustained damages from the defamation. The company is suing for $1.6 billion. [Boldface added]

 

SEAN HANNITY LETS MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE PEDDLE HER SECESSIONIST FANTASIES ON LIVE TELEVISION

The Fox News host seemed notably open to Greene’s idea of a “national divorce,” and even backed her proposal for a temporary voting ban on blue-to-red-state transplants.

FEBRUARY 22, 2023
[Excerpts:]

Greene, who revealed her secessionist views in a Presidents’ Day tweet, has since faced a chorus of condemnation from Democrats—and even some Republicans. Spencer Cox, the Republican governor of Utah, called the lawmaker’s rhetoric “destructive and wrong and—honestly—evil,” adding, “We don’t need a divorce, we need marriage counseling. And we need elected leaders that don’t profit by tearing us apart.” Likewise, Senator Mitt Romney, another Utah Republican, described the notion as “insanity.” Still, Cox and Romney are among a small group of GOP notables to criticize Greene, and most Republicans have stayed notably mum on the issue.

Rather than a clean split that would result in the creation of two countries, Greene’s pitch appears closer to a kind of balkanization that would allow each state to become a self-contained, self-governing body. It also involves temporarily stripping voting rights from Americans who move to red states from blue ones—a point that Hannity, for his part, agreed with. “Banning people who move from blue states to red states from voting for five years so they don’t bring their bad politics with them—I actually favor that idea,” the host said. (The proposed voting ban dovetails with comments Greene made earlier that day, when Turning Point USA cofounder Charlie Kirk asked Greene how Republican states could “stop” Democratic voters from “trying to invade our states or our counties.”)

One dazzling detail: “[Sean] Hannity and [Tucker] Carlson tried to get Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich fired for fact-checking a Trump tweet about Dominion and noting that there was no evidence of votes being destroyed.”“Please get her fired. Seriously… What the fuck?” Carlson texted Ingraham and Hannity on Nov. 12, 2020. “It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.

Not a joke at all.The Dominion filing is filled with quotes that document what the Fox folks knew about the utter bulls*t they were broadcasting and when they knew it:Each circumstantial factor cuts strongly in Dominion’s favor. But here, the words of multiple Fox employees provide overwhelming direct evidence of actual malice. In addition to the evidence cited above, the excerpts below feature just some of the additional examples showing Fox employees knew at the time that these claims—and the guests promoting them—were:

  • “ludicrous” –Tucker Carlson [11/20/20]
  • “totally off the rails” –Tucker Carlson [12/24/20]
  • “F’ing lunatics” –Sean Hannity [12/22/20]
  • “nuts” –Dana Perino [11/16/20]
  • “complete bs” –Producer John Fawcett to Lou Dobbs [11/27/20]
  • “kooky” –Maria Bartiromo, regarding email received from Powell [11/07/20]
  • “MIND BLOWINGLY NUTS” –Raj Shah, Fox Corporation SVP [11/21/20]

There’s a lot more.The bottom-line via MMFA: “Fox knew that it was pushing lies about Dominion and the election, and the network continued to smear the company and spread conspiracy theories anyway.”

MICHELLE GOLDBERG

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/17/opinion/fox-news-dominion

[Excerpts:]

The brief, a motion for summary judgment in a case stemming from Fox’s egregiously false claims of Dominion-abetted election fraud, offers a portrait of extravagant cynicism. It reveals how obsessed Carlson and other leading Fox News figures were with audience share, and their fear of being outflanked by even further-right outlets like Newsmax.

“It’s remarkable how weak ratings make good journalists do bad things,” Bill Sammon, a Fox senior vice president until 2021, is quoted as saying. It’s a line that would fall flat on “Succession” because it’s too absurdly on the nose.

As the Dominion filing lays out, there was panic at Fox News over viewer backlash to the network correctly calling Arizona for Joe Biden on election night. Despite its accuracy, the call was viewed, internally, as a catastrophe.

“Do the executives understand how much credibility and trust we’ve lost with our audience?” Carlson texted his producer. He added, “An alternative like Newsmax could be devastating to us.” Sean Hannity, in an exchange with fellow hosts Carlson and Laura Ingraham, fretted about the “incalculable” damage the Arizona projection did to the Fox News brand and worried about a competitor emerging: “Serious $$ with serious distribution could be a real problem.”

Hyping false claims about election fraud was a way for Fox to win its audience back. While the Arizona call was “damaging,” Fox News C.E.O. Suzanne Scott wrote in a text to Fox executive Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son, “We will highlight our stars and plant flags letting the viewers know we hear them and respect them.”

When Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich fact-checked Trump’s wild claims about Dominion on Twitter, Carlson was enraged and tried to get her fired. “It needs to stop immediately, like tonight,” he texted Hannity. “It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” (Heinrich kept her job but deleted the tweet.)

The network knew, of course, that Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell, a chief promoter of Dominion conspiracy theories, was a delusional fantasist. The legal brief reveals that some of her claims about Dominion were based on an email Powell had received from someone who claimed to be capable of “time travel in a semiconscious state.” On Nov. 18, 2020, Carlson told Ingraham: “Sidney Powell is lying by the way. Caught her. It’s insane.” Ingraham wrote back that Powell was a “complete nut.”

But according to the Dominion brief, an analysis by Ron Mitchell, the senior vice president for prime-time programming and analytics, found that “Fox viewers were switching the channel specifically to watch Sidney Powell as a guest” on Newsmax. A few days after this analysis, Powell was a guest on Hannity’s show.

At one point, Carlson did express skepticism of Powell on-air, noting on Nov. 19 that she had never produced evidence for her claims. “Maybe Sidney Powell will come forward soon with details on exactly how this happened, and precisely who did it,” he said, adding, “We are certainly hopeful that she will.”

Even this gentle note of doubt produced viewer pushback, though most of a message about it from Fox executive Raj Shah is redacted. Afterward, Carlson seems to have given up trying to steer his audience away from total credulity about Trump’s stolen election claims, even though he privately called Trump a “demonic force.”

On Jan. 26, Carlson hosted MyPillow founder Mike Lindell on his show and let him sound off about Dominion without resistance. In fairness, Carlson may have had a motive for indulging Lindell besides grubbing for ratings. As Media Matters for America pointed out, MyPillow at the time was Carlson’s single biggest advertiser.

“Respecting this audience whether we agree or not is critical,” Hannity texted on Nov. 24. It’s a version of respect indistinguishable from contempt.

Letters from an America,

Feb. 16. 2023

A legal filing today in the case of Dominion Voting Systems against the Fox News Corporation provides a window into the role of disinformation and money in the movement to deny that President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Dominion Voting Systems is suing FNC for defamation after FNC personalities repeatedly claimed that the company’s voting machines had corrupted the final tallies in the 2020 election. The filing today shows that those same personalities didn’t believe what they were telling their viewers, and suggests that they made those groundless accusations because they worried their viewers were abandoning them to go to channels that told them what they wanted to hear: that Trump had won the election. 

The quotes in the filing are eye-popping:

On November 10, 2020, Trump advisor Steven Bannon wrote to FNC personality Maria Bartiromo: “71 million voters will never accept Biden. This process is to destroy his presidency before it even starts; IF it even starts….  We either close on Trumps [sic] victory or del[e]gitimize Biden…. THE PLAN.”

FNC’s internal fact checks on November 13 and November 20 called accusations of irregularities in the voting “Incorrect” and said there was “not evidence of widespread fraud.”

On November 15, Laura Ingraham wrote to Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity: “Sidney Power is a bit nuts. Sorry, but she is.” 

On November 16, Carlson wrote to his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, “Sidney Powell is lying.” 

On November 19, FNC chair Rupert Murdoch wrote: “Really crazy stuff.” 

Hannity later testified: “[T]hat whole narrative that Sidney was pushing. I did not believe it for one second.” 

Fox Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt later testified, “[N]o reasonable person would have thought that,” when asked if it was true that Dominion rigged the election.

The filing claims that FNC peddled a false narrative of election fraud to its viewers because its pro-Trump audience had jumped ship after the network had been the first to call Arizona for Biden, and its ratings were plummeting as Trump loyalists jumped to Newsmax. “I’ve never seen a reaction like this, to any media company,” Carlson wrote to Suzanne Scott, chief executive officer of Fox News, on November 9. “Kills me to watch it.” On November 12, Hannity told Carlson and Ingraham, “In one week and one debate they destroyed a brand that took 25 years to build and the damage is incalculable.” 

They went to “war footing” to “protect the brand.”For example, when FNC reporter Jacqui Heinrich accurately fact checked a Trump tweet, correcting him by saying that “top election infrastructure officials” said that “[t]here is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” Carlson told Hannity: “Please get her fired. Seriously…. What the f*ck? I’m actually shocked…. It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company.The stock price is down. Not a joke.” 

Heinrich deleted her tweet. 

The filing says that not a single witness from FNC testified they believed any of the allegations they were making about Dominion. 

[Boldface added]

 

Trump and MAGA Misfits Turn on ‘Trump’s Bitch’ Sean Hannity

It turns out that Sean Hannity has never really believed Trump won in 2020.

 

Trump’s cable cabinet: New texts reveal the influence of Fox hosts on previous White House

By Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey

January 9, 2022 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-cable-cabinet/2022/01/09/96fac488-6fe6-11ec-b9fc-b394d592a7a6_story.html

Stephanie Grisham, former press secretary to President Donald Trump, remembers the challenges that came from so many Fox News hosts having the direct number to reach Trump in the White House residence.

“There were times the president would come down the next morning and say, ‘Well, Sean thinks we should do this,’ or, ‘Judge Jeanine thinks we should do this,’ ” said Grisham, referring to Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, both of whom host prime-time Fox News shows.  [Boldface added]

Grisham — who resigned from the White House amid the Jan. 6 attacks and has since written a book critical of Trump — said West Wing staffers would simply roll their eyes in frustration as they scrambled to respond to the influence of the network’s hosts, who weighed in on everything from personnel to messaging strategy.

Trump’s staff, allies and even adversaries were long accustomed to playing to an “Audience of One” — a commander in chief with a twitchy TiVo finger and obsessed with cable news.

But text messages — newly released by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection — between Fox News hosts and former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, crystallize with new specificity just how tightly Fox News and the White House were entwined during the Trump years, with many of the network’s top hosts serving as a cable cabinet of unofficial advisers.

Read More

As the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol unfolded, Meadows received texts from Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade, as well as Hannity, according to the newly released communications. [Boldface added]

“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Ingraham wrote. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.” Ingraham’s private missives, however, differed starkly from what she said on her show later that evening, when she began whitewashing the violence of the day and claiming the attacks were “antithetical” to the Trump movement.

Kilmeade urged Meadows to get Trump “on TV” to call off the rioters, writing, “Destroying everything you have accomplished.”

And Hannity asked Meadows, “Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol.”

What Fox News hosts said privately vs. publicly on Jan. 6

In private text messages on Jan. 6, Fox News hosts condemned President Trump’s response to the attack. In public, those same hosts deflected blame from Trump. (JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

‘Everyone tunes in’: Inside Trump’s obsession with cable TV

Other texts released by the committee reveal that Hannity also offered the White House advice in the run-up and aftermath to the attacks that resulted in five deaths. On Dec. 31, 2020, Hannity texted Meadows to warn, “I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told.” And on Jan. 10, 2021 — referring to a conversation he had with Trump himself — Hannity texted Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a close Trump ally, to try to discuss strategies to rein in Trump.  [Boldface added]

“Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days,” Hannity wrote. “He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s truly understood. Ideas?”

A former senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid details of private discussions, said Trump would also sometimes dial Hannity and Lou Dobbs — whose Fox Business show was canceled in February — into Oval Office staff meetings.

“A lot of it was PR — what he should be saying and how he should be saying it; he should be going harder against wearing masks or whatever,” Grisham said. “And they all have different opinions, too.”

A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Fox News declined to comment.

Michael Pillsbury, an informal Trump adviser, said he realized how powerful Fox News was in Trump’s orbit when the former president began embracing Sidney Powell — an attorney promoting Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud — and other election fabulists after seeing them on Dobbs’s show. Pillsbury added that while it seemed obvious that many of the claims were patently false, Trump was inclined to believe them, in part because he was watching them on TV and had affection for Dobbs in particular.

“It taught me the power of the young producers at Fox, and Fox Business especially,” Pillsbury said. “These young producers who are in their mid-20s. They come out of the conservative movement, they‘ve never been in the government. They are presented with these reckless, fantastical accounts. And they believe them and put them on for ratings.”

Alyssa Farah, a former White House communications director, said the four most influential Fox hosts were Dobbs, Hannity, Igraham, and Pirro — and in the final year of the Trump administration, Hannity was the most influential. Other former top administration officials also mentioned Mark Levin, another Fox News host, and Maria Bartiromo, a Fox Business host, as two other network stars in regular touch with the White House.  [Boldface added]

From the point of view of the staff, Farah said, the goal was simply to “try to get ahead of what advice you thought he was going to be given by these people” because their unofficial counsel “could completely change his mind on something.”

Fox News hosts urged Trump to stop Jan. 6 violence, texts show

But the relationship was also symbiotic, with White House aides actively trying to influence the network, especially on issues such as spending deals and averting government shutdowns. They knew if they could get Fox hosts to echo their goals on air, that would help sway the president.

Jeff Cohen, author of “Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media,” said the recent text messages represent a “smoking gun.”

“If you watch Fox News as much as I do, and I watch a few hours a night, they’re always signaling their close contact with the White House,” Cohen said referring to the Trump era. “But these texts are just the hard evidence. This is just how deeply intertwined the Fox News leadership is with Trump and the Trump White House.”

The problem, he explained, is that even though many of these hosts are opinion journalists, they are still violating public trust by not disclosing the full extent of their relationships with the Trump administration.

“Journalists and media are supposed to be public checks on power, not private advisers to power,” Cohen said. “A commentator is still a journalist, and even if the commentator doesn’t consider him or herself to be a journalist, they still have to tell the public when they played a role in something they’re commenting on.” [Boldface added]

One former top White House official said that the hosts often had more influence with Trump based on what they said on air rather than in their various backchannels to him and his team, in part because the former president was obsessed with the following — and ratings — of their shows.

Former Trump chief of staff John F. Kelly told others in the White House that Dobbs’s show was critical to understanding the president and that Trump’s ideas and feelings about people often originated from that program. Kelly also told colleagues that if Dobbs went after a White House senior staffer, they risked their status falling quickly in the eyes of the former president.

When Kelly could not watch the prime-time Fox shows himself, he would ask other staffers to monitor them, and he would scour the White House call logs for the names of Fox News personalities.

Pirro, several Trump aides said, often became irate if the former president did not appear on her show frequently enough in her view, especially if he had been on Hannity’s show several times prior.

Fox shows were so important to the president that White House staffers were determined to get guests booked on them, even forcing staffers to take weekend shifts appearing on Pirro’s show after Pirro complained she couldn’t get a guest — and the former president also called in himself.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Hannity called Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and other Trump allies on a number of occasions to voice his months-long concern that the campaign was heading in the wrong direction and Trump would lose unless he turned around his operation, according to a Republican with direct knowledge of the campaign’s operations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of private discussions. They added that Hannity was much more bullish on his show than in private about Trump’s electoral prospects. [Boldface added]

Analysis: Sean Hannity’s Jan. 6 texts and the duplicity they reinforce

As the coronavirus pandemic ramped up in early 2020, a range of Fox News hosts again mobilized to offer backchannel advice to the Trump White House. In March, Tucker Carlson flew to Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., to warn of the seriousness of the virus. Carlson told Trump he might lose the election because of covid-19, while Trump told the prime-time host that the virus wasn’t as deadly as people were claiming. 

In April, Ingraham arrived at the White House with two on-air regulars who are part of what she describes as her “medicine cabinet” for a private meeting with Trump. There, she talked up hydroxychloroquine, a controversial anti-malarial drug which public health experts have concluded is not effective as a covid-19 treatment.

An internal Trump coronavirus response team led by Jared Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, also prioritized the requests of certain VIPs, including Kilmeade and Pirro. Kilmeade had called two administration officials, for instance, to pass along tips about where to obtain personal protective equipment. And Pirro had repeatedly urged administration officials to send a large quantity of masks to a specific New York hospital.

At the time, a Fox News spokeswoman said neither host had been aware that their tips were receiving preferential treatment.

Since leaving office, Trump has vociferously complained about Fox, particularly its coverage of the election and what he views as increasingly negative coverage about him. But he has kept in close touch with many of the hosts and even sees some of them at his Florida resort.

The Jan. 6 committee has asked Hannity to cooperate with its investigation, and he has hired Jay Sekulow, a longtime Trump attorney, to represent him. “We are evaluating the letter from the committee. We remain very concerned about the constitutional implications especially as it relates to the First Amendment. We will respond as appropriate,” Sekulow said in a statement last week.

But some former senior White House officials said the texts make the role of Hannity and others seem more outsize than it was. The former president appreciated that the Fox crew was fighting on his behalf on a daily basis, this person said, “but he would not be like, ‘Let me call Larry Kudlow and change our economic plan because Laura Ingraham said that.’ ”

Of course, Kudlow, who now hosts a show on Fox Business, came to Trump’s attention as a top economic adviser in part because of the business show he previously hosted on CNBC.

 

Judge rejects Fox News request to dismiss Dominion Voting’s defamation lawsuit over election claims

By Timothy Bella

December 17, 2021 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/12/17/judge-fox-news-dominion-lawsuit-election/

[Excerpts:]

A judge on Thursday rejected a request from Fox News to dismiss a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems over baseless claims made against the company during the 2020 presidential election, allowing the suit to move forward.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis said it was “reasonably conceivable” for the Denver-based voting-machine company to have a defamation claim.

“The Court can infer that Fox intended to avoid the truth,” Davis wrote in a 52-page ruling. “Whether Dominion ultimately will prove Fox’s actual malice by clear and convincing evidence is irrelevant on a motion to dismiss. … Accordingly, Fox’s Motion should be denied.”

Dominion filed the lawsuit against Fox News earlier this year, claiming that some of its highest-profile on-air talent helped elevate false charges that the company had changed votes to favor Joe Biden over then-President Donald Trump.

The lawsuit claims that hosts such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro brought Trump allies onto their shows to spread lies asserting that Dominion was using algorithms in voting machines that were created in Venezuela to rig multiple elections for Hugo Chávez, the late president.

Dominion alerted Fox News and its anchors to information disproving the false claims being broadcast against the company, according to the judge. The allegations from Dominion in the lawsuit show that Fox was given “signs indicating the reports were false,” Davis wrote.

“Fox possessed countervailing evidence of election fraud from the Department of Justice, election experts, and Dominion at the time it had been making its statements,” the judge wrote. “The fact that, despite this evidence, Fox continued to publish its allegations against Dominion, suggests Fox knew the allegations were probably false.”

The judge’s ruling, considered a major win for Dominion, comes about a year after the company was the subject of many baseless accusations about election fraud following November 2020. After his loss, Trump and his allies spread false claims that, as he put it, voting software is “used in states where tens of thousands of votes were stolen from us and given to Biden.” When he was still on Twitter, Trump, who described Dominion as “horrible, inaccurate and anything but secure,” retweeted a baseless report that the voting-machine system had “deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide.”Election results under attack: Here are the facts

There is no evidence that any voting systems were compromised, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Trump’s attorney general, William P. Barr, also confirmed that he had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

The lawsuit specifies how Trump allies such as Rudolph W. Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Mike Lindell were given platforms on shows hosted by Carlson, Hannity and Pirro to spread the false claims of election fraud. Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs, whose show was canceled earlier this year, are also mentioned in the lawsuit.

Dominion pointed to how Hannity and Dobbs “brought on Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell to assert their claims that Dominion rigged the election by changing votes in its machines.” Another instance mentioned in the lawsuit involved when Carlson brought Lindell, the founder of MyPillow, onto his show to talk about his ban from Twitter, only for him to spread false claims of election fraud against Dominion.

“Carlson endorsed Mr. Lindell’s claim that Mr. Lindell found the machine fraud and had all the evidence,” according to the complaint.

Dominion eventually sent an email to Fox personalities and producers titled, “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: FACTS & RUMORS,” the judge noted. Election officials and experts also went on the network to emphasize how there was “absolutely no evidence” that Dominion changed votes during the election.

“Despite these efforts, Fox continued to promote known lies on its broadcasts, websites, social media accounts and subscription service platforms,” Davis wrote. “Mr. Dobbs, Ms. Bartiromo, and Mr. Hannity also continued to give Ms. Powell and Mr. Giuliani a platform to disseminate lies about Dominion by hosting them on their shows. Mr. Dobbs, Ms. Bartiromo and Mr. Hannity likewise endorsed and repeated those lies.”

The lawsuit claimed that Bartiromo “continued promoting lies even though she had been specifically notified that independent fact-checkers, government officials and election security experts debunked those lies about Dominion.”

“Moreover, Ms. Bartiromo had actual knowledge that Georgia conducted a hand recount of every paper ballot,” Davis wrote.

The network has defended its coverage, arguing that media must be able to fully report a story that involves claims that hit at the core of U.S. democracy. The judge rejected Fox’s argument that some of its top personalities were reporting the news with flair, saying that “Fox’s reporting comprised opinion ‘mixed’ with false facts.”

“Although Fox classifies its reporters’ remarks as ‘commentary’ that used ‘loose and hyperbolic rhetoric’ for entertainment value, even loose and hyperbolic language can be actionable if it rests on false statements of fact undisclosed to viewers,” the judge said.

The lawsuit against Fox is one of several that Dominion has brought stemming from false claims after the election. Separate defamation lawsuits filed by Dominion against Powell, a former Trump campaign lawyer, and Giuliani, Trump’s former attorney, previously survived motions to dismiss in federal court in Washington.

Dominion isn’t the only election technology company to sue Fox over its election coverage. Smartmatic Corp. is suing the network for $2.7 billion in damages, as part of a lawsuit that also names Pirro, Bartiromo and Dobbs as defendants. Fox has also requested to dismiss that lawsuit.

The Dominion defamation lawsuit against Fox will continue toward a final judgment, with both sides gathering evidence in the case.

[Boldface added]

FOX NEWS HOSTS CONVENIENTLY IGNORE THE NEWS OF THEIR PRIVATE JANUARY 6 FEARS

Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Brian Kilmeade, who would later question Trump supporters’ roles in the Capitol attack or downplay it, had privately tried to get the president to stop the violence.

[Excerpts:]
The Fox News hosts’ urgent messages during the insurrection suggest that even Trump’s media boosters knew the former president’s supporters were behind the attack and that Trump had the power to stop them.

Even Hannity, one of Trump’s most ardent and influential defenders, desperately called for Trump to “make a statement,” telling Meadows that the president needs to “ask people to leave the Capitol.”

The texts also provide damning insight into the private, real-time reaction to the riot from three of Trumpworld’s biggest stars––the same talking heads who would go on to obfuscate the culpability of Trump and his supporters. Shortly after the riot, Hannity theorized that “antifa” protesters had dressed up like Trump supporters to cause chaos and to goad the crowd into rioting. “We heard the reports that groups like antifa, other radical groups…were there to cause trouble,” said Hannity, who later posited that “agitators insert themselves inside a big crowd like that.” 

Both Hannity and Ingraham abandoned their Antifa did 1/6 conspiracy theory after it was swiftly debunked, but the two prime-time Fox hosts pivoted to other defensive narratives, including the idea that the Capitol riot was not a big deal and should not be investigated.  [I]n July, Hannity accused the House investigation into January 6 of only trying to “smear Donald Trump and the GOP on national television.” 

 

 

 

“All Roads Lead to Mar-a-Lago”: Inside the Fury and Fantasy of Donald Trump’s Florida

Roger Stone, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Ben Shapiro—they’ve all made their way to the Sunshine State, fueling and profiting from a tabloid culture that turns politics into spectacle, arguably Florida’s greatest export.

BY JOE HAGAN

AUGUST 10, 2021

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/08/the-fury-and-fantasy-of-donald-trumps-florida

[Excerpt:]

Before he died of cancer earlier this year, Limbaugh, a Trump supporter through and through, privately expressed contempt for Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, calling them “imitators” who copied his act but with half the wit and even less of the intellect . . . .

[Boldface added]

 

 

 

 

“History shows that autocrats always tell you who they are and what they are going to do.”
“We just don’t listen until it is too late.”

Image

— Ruth Ben-Ghiat, author of “Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present”