Making the Story Go Away

The big news today: Fox News has settled the case brought by Dominion Voting Systems. (Fox News had repeatedly implied that the 2020 election was somehow stolen via manipulation of the voting machines built by Dominion. Without an ounce of evidence. Which of course damaged the reputation of Dominion, who sued.) Did Fox lose by admitting it lied, or did it win by making the story go away?

CNN: Last-minute $787.5 million settlement in Dominion-Fox News case, subtitled “Some on-air claims about Dominion Voting Systems were false, Fox News acknowledges in statement after deal is announced”


NY Times: Fox Will Pay $787.5 Million to Settle Case, Dominion Says, subtitled “Deal Averts Landmark Defamation Trial Over 2020 Election Falsehoods”


SlateFox News and Dominion Settled for $787 Million. Here’s What Happened in the Courtroom.


Salon: Fox News saved by last-minute settlement



Vox: Fox pays $787 million for its 2020 election lies, subtitled “Dominion Voting Systems will get $787 million of the $1.6 billion it originally sought.”


AlterNet: ‘The emasculation of Fox News’: Internet reacts to $787.5 million Dominion defamation settlement


Washington Post: Fox News settles defamation lawsuit with Dominion for $787.5 million


And notably, here’s a screenshot of the homepage of the Fox News site (a site I virtually never look at, except for today) this afternoon.

There is an item about this settlement with, Dominion, FOX News Media, Dominion Voting Systems reach agreement after legal battle, six screens down from the top on my monitor.


Now, a simplex reading of this situation is that Fox News has — again! — admitted they were lying. If they had a case they thought they could win (via the relatively high bar of proving intent to deceive, the speculation had been), they shouldn’t have settled. A slightly more complex take is suggested by Salon’s use of the word “saved” and AlterNet’s take on how the “Internet reacts” to this result. That is, Fox News settled to make the story go away, to avoid having their popular TV personalities exposed on the witness stand to recite the comments they are well-documented to having privately said about the phoniness of the Dominion story. And that Dominion shouldn’t have given in, but should have taken the case to court.

Still, the basic situation here, in this as with so many other things, is that conservatives just *make stuff up* and hope a gullible audience, whether viewers of Fox News, or readers of conspiracy theory posts on Facebook, will believe them. The Fox News folks apparently were gobsmacked by the evidence as it trickled in that Biden was winning the election that night back in November 2020, and so as the days and weeks went by, tried to ‘explain it away’ with various outrageous, baseless, evidence-free, imaginary ways the election might have been stolen. So as to maintain their ratings. If they admitted Biden had won the election fairly, their viewers were abandoning them for even further right-wing sites and channels (which I won’t name). TV news is about entertainment, and ratings. For viewers, it’s all about the need to believe, as I’ve posted about recently.

So now this story will go away and all the Fox News fans will shrug it off as another attack by the MSM and the Deep State that didn’t take. After all, they settled, right? No one’s going to jail!

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