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Fox News Execs Tried to Fire Reporter For Fact-Checking Trump’s Election Lies: Dominion’s $1.6 Billion Lawsuit Explored

Fox News is facing a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, which alleges that the cable news network pushed various pro-Donald Trump conspiracy theories about the election technology company during the 2020 presidential election.[0] The case has raised questions 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.[1]

Fox News was the first network to call Biden's win in Arizona on November 3, 2020, setting off fury and fear among Fox employees.[2] Tucker Carlson, who worried in text messages that the call would destroy Fox's “credibility,” suggested to a producer that Trump could “easily destroy us if we play it wrong.”[3]

When Fox News correspondent Jacqui Heinrich fact-checked Trump's vote fraud claims in a tweet, Carlson texted Ingraham and Hannity: “Please get her fired. … It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It's measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.”[4] By the following morning, Heinrich had removed her tweet.[4]

In its filing, Dominion's legal representatives stated: “Fox knew the truth. It knew the allegations against Dominion were ‘outlandish’ and ‘crazy’ and ‘ludicrous’ and ‘nuts.’ Yet it used the power and influence of its platform to promote that false story. Fox knew better.”[1]

On numerous occasions, Fox News executives and presenters expressed concern about the situation and began to take action against people at the network who verified election falsehoods.[0] Jacqui Heinrich, a White House correspondent, was the subject of a call for her dismissal by Carlson after she fact-checked a Trump tweet that suggested election fraud.

When Carlson and Hannity saw Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich fact-checking Trump's falsehoods about the election on Twitter, they tried to get her fired, messages obtained by Dominion show.

Included in a legal filing as part of Dominion Voting System's $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News, messages displayed that Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham harshly ridiculed falsehoods being propagated by former President Donald Trump's camp alleging that the election was rigged.[5]

The attorneys for Dominion have a tough task of attaining the “actual malice” necessary for victory in this case.[6]

0. “Fox News stars and executives privately trashed Trump's election fraud claims, court document reveals” East Idaho News, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.eastidahonews.com/2023/02/fox-news-stars-and-executives-privately-trashed-trumps-election-fraud-claims-court-document-reveals

1. “Rupert Murdoch, Fox News Hosts Saw Donald Trump’s Election Fraud Claims As “Crazy” And “B.S.,” Dominion Says In Defamation Filing; Network Calls Lawsuit “An Assault On First Amendment”” Deadline, 17 Feb. 2023, https://deadline.com/2023/02/fox-news-dominion-voting-systems-defamation-1235262693/

2. “Tucker Carlson told his producer Trump is ‘the undisputed world champion' of destroying things and could ruin Fox News if it didn't back his election lies” Yahoo News, 16 Feb. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/tucker-carlson-told-producer-trump-231515596.html

3. “Tucker Carlson tried to get Fox reporter fired for fact-checking Trump: court docs” Business Insider, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/tucker-carlson-sean-hannity-fox-news-reporter-fact-checking-trump-2023-2

4. “Fox News stars privately mocked Trump's vote fraud claims, Dominion suit shows” The Week, 17 Feb. 2023, https://theweek.com/fox-news/1021093/tucker-carlson-other-fox-news-stars-privately-mocked-trumps-stolen-election-claims

5. “Fox stars trashed Trump’s claims behind the scenes, document shows” The Mercury News, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/02/16/fox-stars-trashed-trumps-claims-behind-the-scenes-document-shows/

6. “Fox News Stars Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity Privately Trash-Talked Trump's Election Lies” The Daily Beast, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/fox-stars-like-tucker-carlson-sean-hannity-privately-trash-talked-trump-camps-election-fraud-lies