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GGoss

(1,273 posts)
Sun Feb 19, 2023, 09:34 PM Feb 2023

Why Fox News Lied to Its Viewers - TheAtlantic [View all]

Why Fox News Lied to Its Viewers - TheAtlantic

Early in the Trump era, news organizations were torn over whether to refer to Donald Trump’s false statements as lies, because it is difficult to know an individual’s state of mind, to know what they know. In the throes of insecurity, ideological conviction, or carelessness, people can make statements that are false without malicious intent. The argument over what a person knows to be true or false can take on a metaphysical aspect.

Sometimes, though, you have proof that someone knew one thing and said another. With Fox News, examples of the network’s commitment to knowingly misleading its viewers abound. There was the irresponsible hyping of anti-vaccine propaganda even as it imposed a vaccine mandate on its employees. There were the text messages from Fox hosts released by the January 6 committee showing that they saw Trump as responsible for inspiring the mob that sacked the Capitol, even as they defended him on air and downplayed the significance of the event.

Sometimes, defending itself in court, the network will argue that a reasonable person would not assume that everything its on-air personalities say are true. In 2020, the network successfully beat a defamation lawsuit by arguing that Tucker Carlson is “not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary.’”

The most compelling example of Fox News consciously lying to its viewers, however, arrived yesterday with the evidence in the defamation lawsuits filed by the voting-machine company Dominion, over claims aired on Fox News echoing Trump’s lie that the 2020 election had been fixed by compromised voting machines. Dominion’s latest filing argues that privately, Fox News hosts admitted that the allegations of election fraud being floated by Trump allies were baseless, but they kept airing them, in part because they feared another right-wing network, Newsmax, was stealing their audience. The filing shows that when Fox News reporters shot down the allegations publicly, the network’s big personalities were livid, complaining internally that telling their viewers the truth was hurting the network’s brand.


Link: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/02/fox-news-dominion-lawsuit-trump/673132/

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