The trial of the 1,600 million against Fox: "vote rigging?  Come on man!"

More than two years have passed, but the assault on the Capitol by a Trump mob on January 6, 2021, as well as the conspiracy hoaxes that fueled it, continue to be investigated, debated, and settled in court. A process that makes more and more transparent the problems facing American democracy. Among them, the media addiction to hyperbolic narratives that radicalize the audience and aggravate the trivialization of the country.

Given the doubt of whether or not to give rise to conspiracy theories about the alleged electoral fraud in the 2020 presidential elections, which caused the illegal invasion of the halls of Congress and which were already clearly devoid of evidence, the executives and presenters of the conservative channel Fox News opted for the former. Better to spread unsubstantiated accusations than to contradict the audience, convinced that Joe Biden had won with a giant punch. Such is the conclusion that emerges from the evidence collected by the Dominion voting software company in its multi-million dollar lawsuit against the chain.

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“This move is fucking crazy. Vote rigging by the millions? Come on man!” said Fox executive Raj Shah on November 20, 2020Two weeks after the elections. Shah asked the producers of the network’s flagship show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, not to give these allegations much air. One of the producers responded: “Really, it’s crazy, but our viewers buy itso addressing again that Venezuela’s stupid affidavit (an attempt to make believe that the Dominion company had committed fraud for the Venezuelan regime) is not proof could be insulting to them.”

The producer, Alex Pfeifer, was right. Field work by Fox News reporters showed no evidence of alleged fraud. As a result, the audience began to drop, so the presenter, Tucker Carlson, asked his team to immediately look for the evidence. that four corpses from the key state of Georgia had come to cast their ballots. Carlson proposed calling the Donald Trump campaign directly for help. That night, Carlson denounced, without proof, that several dead people had voted for Joe Biden.

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Both Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, the network’s two other star presenters, and ultra-conservatives, railed against Trump in their private communications. “I hate him with a passion,” Carlson acknowledged, referring to Trump, whom he considered “a demonic force, a destroyer”. Hannity referred to the most vocal Trump lawyers, Sydney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, as “fucking lunatics”. Terms very similar to those used by Laura Ingraham, but always in private. In public they were given space during prime time to spread their lies to millions of homes.

The behavior of these presenters angered the network’s news team. Reporter Kristin Fisher clashed with the corporation when she told it like it was. One of her bosses asked her to “respect our audience”. “He thought she was respecting our audience telling them the truth“, Fisher testified in the lawsuit filed by Dominion. Now, the journalist works at CNN.

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When Jacqui Heinrich, another Fox reporter, debunked the Trump campaign’s lies about the alleged fraud, Tucker Carlson sent a message to his colleague Sean Hannity: “Please get her fired. Seriously,” he wrote. “What the fuck? I’m really shocked (…). He has to stop immediately, tonight. She is hurting the company beyond measure. Stocks are down. It is not a joke”.

According to a New York Times analysis, Carlson spent much of 2021 taking down the iron of the Trumpist mob’s assault on Congress, described, in his words, as “mostly peaceful chaos.” The host landed the coveted 8:00 p.m. segment, almost at the same time that Donald Trump took office, and the two had been shepherding, hand in hand, the agenda and the sentiments of the national-populist movement in the United States.


Now, Dominion’s lawyers are after him and the conservative chain. If the lawsuit is successful, it could threaten Fox’s viability as a media company. Dominion asks for compensation of $1.6 billion to compensate for reputational damage and lossas a consequence, of potential business.

Fox has denied the accusations of malpractice, defended its electoral coverage and appealed to freedom of expression, which would have allowed it to circulate the clear lies emanating from the Trump campaign. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, according to some analyzescould make these controversial messages sent between the bosses of Fox did not count as approval when prosecuting the chain.

Meanwhile, audience data reflects that Fox followers remain loyal to the channel, unscathed before the publication of the messages. The Nielsen agency collects that, between February 27 and March 5, Fox News marked 100 consecutive weeks as the leading audience channel among people between 25 and 54 years of age. A sign of fidelity as firm as the one professed to the famous Donald Trump, as demonstrated by its national popularity low but very stable for yearsfor having a practically unbreakable cohort of followers.

Another sign of national polarization, a problem so mentioned that it has become a cliché, is the perception of the assault on the Capitol. A Quinnipiac University survey, carried out over these two years, shows that opinions about Trump’s role in the insurrection are diametrically divided: 46% of Americans agree with the premise that the former president committed a crime . 47% disagree. They are June 2022 numbers. But they have remained virtually unchanged over time.

All these political and media diatribes continue, relatively, in sleep. But they will be activated in the coming months, as the candidates announce their campaigns, the campaigns begin to fill the airwaves with ads that are often insulting, and the nation adopts, like every four years, an ultrapolitical mentality. The mentality typical of presidential cycles.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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