New York Daily News: By Joseph Wilkinson – Rupert Murdoch conceded in a deposition that multiple Fox News hosts “endorsed” former President Donald Trump’s election fraud conspiracy.
The mogul was deposed by Dominion Voting Systems in its lawsuit against Fox and several Fox News hosts.
“Some of our commentators were endorsing it,” Murdoch said in the deposition, made public on Monday. “They endorsed.”
Dominion’s lawyers specifically asked about Fox News hosts Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro. Murdoch believed all four endorsed Trump’s claims, even adding that Dobbs did so “a lot.”
Fox had originally argued in the case that its news broadcasts had only provided a platform for Trump backers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani to spout lies about rigged Dominion voting machines.
But in his deposition, Murdoch, 91, admitted the four Fox News hosts went beyond that. However, he argued the company itself did not take a position.
“Not Fox,” he said, “But maybe Lou Dobbs, maybe Maria, as commentators.”
When it came to keeping Powell and Giuliani off the air, Murdoch admitted he “could have. But I didn’t.”
Dominion filed the $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox and its network hosts in May 2021. The voting machine company argued that Fox News deliberately changed its tune because its ratings dropped after it called Arizona for President Biden.
“Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process,” the lawsuit read. “If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does.”
Earlier this month, the company released depositions from Hannity and fellow popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson that showed both men believed Trump’s election fraud claims were bogus, even as they continued giving them credence on the air.
“That whole narrative that Sidney was pushing, I did not believe it for one second,” Hannity said.
Fox has since argued that such allegations from a sitting president were self-evidently newsworthy, and that the company was acting within its First Amendment rights to cover and comment on the story.
Fox News blasted the suit in a Monday statement.
“Dominion’s lawsuit has always been more about what will generate headlines than what can withstand legal and factual scrutiny,” it stated.
“Their summary judgment motion took an extreme, unsupported view of defamation law that would prevent journalists from basic reporting.”
Top Feature Photo: Rupert Murdoch – Drew Angerer/Getty Images