WASHINGTON (AP) – $787.5 million settlement Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems released executives and on-air talent from taking the stand in a defamation lawsuit centered around Fox’s broadcast of false claims. A stolen election just weeks after former President Donald Trump’s 2020 loss.
case More Fox figures revealed what they were saying about the rigged election claims, including Tucker Carlson, the network’s top host who was released on Monday.. His unexplained departure has drawn attention to what he said in thousands of pages of Dominion depositions, emails and text messages released in the lead-up to jury selection in the case.
Carlson’s messages blasted the news division and the administration, revealing how he felt about Donald Trump. and vindicated his suspicions of election fraud — so Fox lawyers and company founder Rupert Murdoch retained him as part of the company’s defense. The trial judge ruled that it was clear ” None of the election claims regarding Dominion are true.
Those who spread election lies
“Sidney Powell Lies” On November 16, 2020, Carlson told a Fox News producer that Trump’s lawyer, Powell, had an exchange before using explosives.
“You keep telling our audience that millions of votes were changed by software. I hope you prove it very soon,” Carlson wrote to Powell a day later. “You have them convinced that Trump will win. It’s a cruel and irresponsible thing to say unless you have solid evidence of fraud on that scale. There was no sign of Powell responding.
Fox attorneys repeatedly questioned Carlson Powell’s claims On her broadcasts: “When we continued to press, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her,” Carlson told viewers on Nov. 19, 2020.
Carlson told his audience that he took Powell seriously, but he did not provide any evidence or prove that Dominion software used siphoned votes from Trump to Biden.
On November 23, 2020, Carlson continued to trash Powell and Trump’s legal team, had a text exchange with fellow Fox anchor Laura Ingraham, and bemoaned the president’s inaction in the face of the two Georgia runoffs.
After calling it “abhorrent” that more lawyers didn’t push back against claims by Trump’s lawyers trying to overturn the election results, Carlson wrote: “Now Trump, I just learned this morning, is sitting back and letting them lose the Senate. He doesn’t care. I do. I have four kids, I plan to live here.
Fox’s 2020 election coverage
Fox viewers were outraged when the network called Arizona for Joe Biden on election night, an accurate race call. Fox executives and hosts began to worry about ratings as many of those viewers fled to other conservative outlets.
“We worked so hard to build what we have. They (expletive) destroy our credibility. It makes me angry,” Carlson said in an exchange with an unidentified person on Nov. 6, 2020.
On Nov. 8, after Biden was declared the winner, Carlson texted two other employees: “Do the executives understand how much trust and credibility we have lost with our audience? We’re playing with fire, really.
Later, when others brought up Newsmax as a growing competitor, Carlson said, “With Trump behind it, an alternative like Newsmax would be disastrous for us.”
In a November 13, 2020 text message to a producer, Carlson prepared for a Trump press conference: “He’s only good at destruction,” Carlson said of the then-president.
He later added, “He’s playing with fire.”
Jan. In a text exchange with an unknown person on 4, 2021, Carlson expressed anger at Trump. “We’re very, very close to boycotting Trump most nights,” he said, adding that “I really can’t wait.”
Carlson said there’s no doubt the 2020 election was rigged, but Trump and his lawyers have so discredited their case — and media figures like himself — that “it’s infuriating. Absolutely infuriating to me.”
Addressing Trump’s four-year presidency, Carlson said: “We all pretend we have a lot to show for it because it’s so hard to digest admitting what a disaster it is. But come on. Trump doesn’t really have any upside.
In the early hours of January 7, 2021, a day after the violent attack on the US Capitol, Carlson and his longtime producer, Alex Pfeiffer, lamented how the rioters believed Trump’s election was a sham.
“They take the president literally,” Pfeiffer said. “He is responsible for everything that happened today.”
“The problem is a little deeper than I would say,” Carlson replied.
“Obviously the problems run deep, but at the core of it Trump says it’s stolen,” Pfeiffer wrote.
“Not a fetus,” Carlson wrote. “Bad but a symptom.”
Later, Carlson writes about Trump: “He’s a demonic force, a destroyer. But he won’t destroy us. I’ve been thinking about this every day for four years.”
Fox News Department
The most heated vitriol was reserved for colleagues in the news division and included conversations with fellow on-air personalities Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.
The week after the November 13, 2020 election, Ingraham, Carlson, and Hannity engaged in a text message exchange in which they criticized the news division. It started when Ingraham pointed to a tweet from reporter Brian Lenas, who said he saw no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Pennsylvania.
To which Carlson responded that Lenas had contacted him and apologized, then said “whenever he ‘reported’ anything.”
Mentioning the name of another colleague who Ingraham pointed out was not a hoax, Hannity responded: “Guys I’ve been telling them for 4 years. News that doesn’t make any news takes off.” “They hate hate the three of us,” Hannity says in a Twitter message seconds later.
“They don’t want to be liked,” Ingraham replied, and Carlson said, “They’re pathetic.” The conversation continues with Hannity lamenting the damage done to the brand: “In one week and one debate they destroyed a brand that took 25 years to build and the damage is incalculable.”
In another text conversation between the trio three days later, Ingraham told her colleagues that her anger at the news channel was “pronounced,” followed by “lol.” In response, Carlson hit out at two Fox anchors: “It should be. We dedicate our lives to building an audience, and they let Chris Wallace and Leland (expletive) Wittert ruin it. Too much.” Wallace and Wittert left the network.
The three hosts began thinking about a path forward after Ingraham said they had “tremendous power” and how they could force change together. Carlson’s response: “Sure. First we have to do exactly what we want to do. That is the key. Leland Wittert seems to have the power to do whatever he wants. We should too.”
Associated Press writers in Atlanta Christina A. Cassidy, Randall Chase in Dover, Tel. and Gary Fields in Washington contributed to this report.
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