On April 18, 2023 (US Time), Fox News agreed to pay $787.5 million ($1.17 billion Australian dollars) to settle a defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting System over the network’s promotion of misinformation about the 2022 election.
Dominion’s CEO, John Poulos, said all those involved with Dominion were “grateful” for allowing “the truth to come out”. While news outlets have reported that Rupert Murdoch has fired the network’s most popular host Tucker Carlson “on person order”.
The settlement has become one of the largest ever in a defamation case in US history, with a surprising twist at the end.
Click the link below and listen the full episode now:
However, this is not the end for Fox News, as it is now grappling with another defamation suit with a voting technology company called Smartmatic.
In episode seven of Defending Democracy with Malcolm Turnbull, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull talks to former Guardian newspaper editor Alan Rusbridger. Mr Rusbridger was the editor of the Guardian for over 20 years, and during that time, he took on Rupert Murdoch when no one else would.
In this episode, they unpack the chaos inside the network and evaluate the carnage wrought by the reckless embrace of Donald Trump’s big lie.
Mr Rusbridger has known Rupert Murdoch for almost 50 years and said he is a “complicated figure to talk about because he owns so much, and they are all different in some ways”.
“Murdoch’s defenders have always said it’s not about politics. He’s really just interested in the money,” Rusbridger said.
“I think he’s gotten more political over the years and became really part of the Trump project in a way that it’s hard to imagine 30, 40 years ago in any newspaper quite bending themselves to the will of one politician,” he added.
When Fox News got in trouble in the Dominion’s defamation lawsuit, Rusbridger said audiences of Fox felt a sense of betrayal, and Fox executives could see the audience disappear in front of them.
“So they became a prisoner of the very audience that they had created,” he said.
“I think the moment of time that we’re living in is a very, very dangerous one…if you’ve got a society which no longer knows whom to trust, what is true, what isn’t true, not even the news media, then I think politics becomes impossible.”
There are eight episodes of Defending Democracy with Malcolm Turnbull are available now on LiSTNR or wherever you get your podcasts.