Jim Crawford: Consequences for Fox News?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 27, 2023

Fox News and Fox commentators lie to their viewers daily. 

The largest cable news network admitted as much in the $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems this week. 

The judge in the case, Eric M. Davis, wrote that it was “crystal clear” that Fox’s election fraud claims were false. Fox knowingly told its viewers that election fraud cost Donald Trump the presidency and that Joe Biden did not win the election fairly. 

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And the talking heads at Fox all knew these claims were lies. There is no question about these facts and the only question is: Does it matter that Fox lies? 

It does matter because, as a result of Trump’s false claims and Fox’s lies, 61 percent of Republicans still believe (Monmouth University poll Sept. 20, 2022) that voter fraud put Joe Biden in the White House.

It matters because the lies created distrust in the cornerstone of American democracy, the vote. 

It matters because it created a false division among Americans with the narrative that disappointed voters should “stop the steal” and fight to keep Donald Trump, the election loser, in office. 

It matters because the lies led to the Jan. 6 insurrection, an attempt to overthrow our democratic form of government. And it matters because the insurrection has imprisoned hundreds of Americans, with more to follow for their violence on Jan. 6. 

Trump and his friends did this, not alone, but with the total aid and assistance of Fox News endlessly repeating that Trump won and Biden cheated. The truth is precisely the opposite; Biden won, Trump cheated and Fox knew it all along. 

But the Fox lies may not be the worst outcome of the 2020 election. There is absolutely no indication that Fox viewers care in the least that they were lied to about the 2020 election. 

In the Dominion settlement, Fox acknowledged that they lied to their audience, yet that audience has remained loyal to the news network. 

Fox’s defense was simply that its viewers threatened to leave the network for more radical news outlets should Fox not attack the Biden election victory. 

Essentially, Fox viewers demanded the news they wanted to believe, not the truth Fox should have committed to deliver. 

Fox News cannot be exonerated by its settlement this week. The settlement was little more than buying off the facts with Dominion, so Fox could continue to operate its news division as nothing more than an entertainment empire, designed to eschew facts for ratings and ratings to hold an audience with little or no interest in truth anyway.  

Fox will not change; it will continue to undermine the nation with daily articles that mimic news in form but ignore the news in fact. And anytime you want to hear more about the admission of Fox before the court in the Dominion case, you will not find much of that news on Fox. While the settlement made headlines across the nation, Fox barely mentioned it at all. Neil Cavuto mentioned the settlement amount, Howard Kurtz said he could not confirm a settlement amount, Hannity ignored the settlement, and Tucker Carlson found something else to discuss. 

Another day in the fiction that calls itself Fox News. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was submitted prior to Monday’s news that Carlson is no longer employed at FOX News.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.