Since 2002, when Fox News first overtook CNN as the most-watched cable news channel, one thing has been as certain and predictable as its dominance: Every time a Democrat wins the White House, the right-leaning network’s ratings take a momentary dip.
That happened after the election of President Biden in 2020, too. But the reaction inside Fox was far different than before.
There was panic. From the chairman of Fox Corporation on down, executives scrambled as they tried to keep viewers tuned in, believing they were facing a crisis. Now, because of the decisions made after former President Donald J. Trump’s loss, Fox News is reckoning with a threat that could prove far more serious.
A $1.6 billion defamation suit from Dominion Voting Systems claims Fox knowingly spread false information about the role of the firm’s election technology in a made-up conspiracy to flip votes. On Tuesday, the two sides will present oral arguments before a judge in Delaware state court as they prepare for a trial next month.
Fox has insisted that it wasn’t presenting claims about Dominion as fact but was reporting and opining on them as any news organization would.
As part of the suit, Dominion obtained thousands of internal Fox emails and text messages and deposed dozens of Fox employees. That evidence shows in extraordinary detail how the network lost its way in the weeks after the election. Here is a timeline of that fateful period, as told in court filings. [Continue reading…]