FOX Pays Up In Dominion Defamation Claims: Why It Matters for Conservatives

Feng Yu /
Feng Yu /

Fox Corporation and its news division, Fox News, reached a settlement with Dominion Voting Systems on April 18, 2023, in a defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion. The lawsuit centered around allegedly “false and baseless claims made by Fox News and some of its personalities about the integrity of the 2020 US presidential election.”

Dominion Voting Systems, a provider of election technology and services, had accused Fox News and its hosts of spreading conspiracy theories and false information that damaged Dominion’s reputation and led to threats against the company’s employees. Dominion sued Fox News for $1.6 billion in damages and received $787.5 million in the settlement.

Defamation is a hard case to prove. To successfully win a defamation case, it must be shown that the defendant intentionally:

Made a false statement: The statement made about the plaintiff must be false.

Publicized the statement: The false statement must have been communicated to a third party, either intentionally or negligently.

Identified the plaintiff: The plaintiff must be identifiable as the subject of the false statement.

Harmed the plaintiff: The plaintiff must have suffered harm as a result of the false statement, such as damage to their reputation or financial loss.

In addition, if the plaintiff is a public figure or official, they may also need to demonstrate that the false statement was made with actual malice, meaning that the defendant either knew the statement was false or acted with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity.

The entire lawsuit revolved around Dominion’s rebuttal of voting machine discrepancies and their role in influencing the 2020 election, one of many voter fraud claims leveled in the aftermath of the election. Donald Trump was thought to be leading the race when Americans went to bed on election night, but voters woke to find an entirely different story had played out overnight.

Some of the irregularities allegedly involved machines switching votes, millions of undocumented and unverifiable mail-in ballots overwhelmingly in now-president Joe Biden’s favor, suspicious pauses in vote counting in the middle of the night that resumed with ballots in swing states, conservative voting officials kept at arm’s length and unable to observe ballot counting, recorded videos of “mules” dumping hundreds of ballots into ballot boxes, illegal last-minute changes to voting laws in many states, and statistical anomalies.

The approach of the Democrats to the 2020 election far surpassed their usual strategies of counting the votes of deceased Americans.

Witnesses to the alleged fraud numbered in the thousands, but their testimony never saw the light of day. The court cases and lawsuits filed on behalf of Trump went unheard, not because of a lack of merit, but because of technicalities.

The left continues to declare the concerns of millions of Americans who fell victim to “misinformation” about the election and belittle their concerns of the integrity of the process. By repeating their assertion that the claims are “baseless,” “false,” and “disinformation,” Democrats can beat conservative opposition to the ground.

Dominion’s lawsuit is one example. The entire case revolved around the left’s claims that voter fraud was a falsely held piece of “misinformation.” Without this piece of the puzzle, the entire lawsuit would have failed based on the points necessary to prove defamation.

By this logic, however, Donald Trump now has ground for some amazing defamation lawsuits of his own, especially involving the now-debunked Russian collusion hoax. He can also go after the DOJ and the FBI for failing to release information about the Hunter laptop to keep it out of sight of voters prior to the 2020 election.

For FOX News, settling the case with Dominion was more an acknowledgment that they couldn’t win, not that they were wrong. The entire lawsuit was based on claims of machines switching or not accurately counting Trump votes, something that many at the voting booth witnessed first-hand. But the carefully orchestrated efforts of the government’s censoring of free speech on social media platforms ensured that many believe the election was legitimate, no matter how many witnessed the events as they unfolded.

A Democrat house, senate, DOJ, and other internal agencies were able to squash investigations before they started, adding fuel to the claims of “conspiracy theories” about the integrity of the voting process.

FOX issued their expected apologies and paid Dominion to put the entire case behind them, and Democrats are doing a victory lap. It’s not just Dominion’s win, it’s their win, too. The idea of conservative news channels is something they cannot stand. Having people with dissenting views is more than they can take. Democrats hope Dominion’s win will be the “evidence” they need to silence one of the few remaining conservative news outlets permanently.

For Dominion, the win wasn’t financial. It was a way to regain their reputation and allow their machines to be used in upcoming elections, no matter their intentional, or unintentional, flaws.

To be clear, Dominion didn’t “win.” FOX lost. And this loss will almost certainly guarantee that Dominion machines will continue to be used and that there will never be another conservative president sitting in the White House again.