Fox News settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million

In the wake of the 2020 election, Fox News made the corporate decision to promote Donald Trump’s unhinged election-fraud conspiracies hook, line and sinker. They gave a lot of airtime to a lot of talking heads, all of whom argued variations of: too many votes are suspicious, the voting machines malfunctioned, President-elect Biden’s victory is illegitimate. All of those unhinged lies led directly to the January 6th insurrection. The lies also led to Dominion Voting Systems suing the pants off of Fox News. Dominion’s lawsuit has been working its way through pretrial motions and depositions for two years, and none of it has looked good for Fox News or Rupert Murdoch. There are extensive emails, memos, messages and corporate strategy notes all proving that Fox News knowingly and willfully lied about the election. Well, the trial was supposed to start this week and Fox News was f–ked in about a billion different ways. So they settled on Tuesday.

The judge in the Fox News defamation case said on Tuesday that the case was resolved, abruptly ending a long-running dispute over misinformation in the 2020 election just as a highly anticipated trial was about to begin. It was a last-minute end to a case that began two years ago and after the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents that peeled back the curtain on a media company that has long resisted outside scrutiny. The settlement included a $787.5 million payment from Fox, according to Justin Nelson, a lawyer for Dominion.

“The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” he said outside the courthouse. “Over two years ago, a torrent of lies swept Dominion and election officials across America into an alternative universe of conspiracy theories causing grievous harm to Dominion and the country.”

Dominion had originally sought $1.6 billion in damages. Fox Corporation said in a statement that “we acknowledge the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false.” It added: “We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”

The sudden settlement means no high-profile Fox figures — including those who privately expressed concerns about the veracity of claims being made on its shows — will have to testify. The expected witness list had included Fox executives, including Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Corporation, and the hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Maria Bartiromo.

Dominion may have settled this suit, but its legal pursuits are far from over. The company still has defamation suits related to allegations of election fraud pending against Fox competitors Newsmax and OAN, as well as against the MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell, founder Patrick Byrne, and against Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, both former lawyers for Donald J. Trump.

Under the terms of the settlement, Fox News will not have to apologize or admit to spreading false claims on network programming, according to a person familiar with the details of the agreement. The $787.5 million that Fox News agreed to pay Dominion Voting Systems to settle the lawsuit against the cable network appears to be one of the largest settlements in a defamation case in U.S. history.

[From The New York Times]

They settled for less than half?? I mean, it’s a huge settlement, a crazy settlement, but Dominion settled for less than half of the $1.6 billion AND Fox News didn’t have to explicitly apologize or acknowledge their own wrongdoing. So, a mixed bag – the lawsuit did serious damage to Fox News, Rupert Murdoch’s empire and the reputation of right-wing media outlets. On the other side, Murdoch will survive, Fox News will survive and their viewership doesn’t care. Fox’s viewership always wanted the network to peddle Trump’s lies, and as we know from Fox News’ internal documents (released during discovery), Fox executives and anchors are terrified of the bigoted, racist, heavily-armed, ignorant monster they created. I wonder why Dominion settled if they had Murdoch on the ropes, which is what most legal analysts claimed?

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, Cover Images.

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66 Responses to “Fox News settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million”

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  1. Frippery says:

    I try not to be a Negative Nelson but I’m disappointed that they settled. Maybe those with more legal knowledge can explain to me why it’s a good thing, but I really really wanted Fox to be held more accountable than this.

    • ELX says:

      This is a big win for Dominion. Compensatory damages are based on actual losses — Dominion is a small company, which was valued at less than $100 million in 2020. They would have easily proven the malice, that’s pretty clear, but justifying the damages claim is the other part of a lawsuit that doesn’t get much attention. Dominion is walking away with most of Fox’s annual income or a bit over 8 times the putative value of Dominion.

      Want to get after Fox? Buy stock in your cable company and start writing letters to Investor Relations at that cable company about not wanting to pay for Fox. Most of Fox’s money comes from the carriage fees from cable companies.

      • sunny says:

        ITA with @ELX’s comments. There tend to be very few successful suits against media because the standards to win a successful judgment are so high.

        This is a big win for Dominion. But i do wonder if settling does impact the wider set of similar suits that are going on right now.

      • freddy says:

        Not to mention, that since Dominion would have needed a unanimous decision by a jury it would have taken just ONE juror to find that there was no malice and Dominion would have lost. I was sooooo hoping to watch Ingraham, Hannity, Carlson, and the Murdochs speaking clearly and truthfully (for once) that they were telling their viewers lies. As good as this is for Dominion, it’s a huge loss for ethics, morals, and Democracy. Fox’s viewers only watch Fox, so this will blow through one ear and out the other.

      • Renstewart says:

        Agree with @ELX that this is a big win and is probably well over Dominion’s bottom number, “sweet spot” or what can be quantified. Leading up to the trial there was a “public” trial in the media. The airing of Fox’s lies and actions, left them no chance of a take nothing verdict.

      • bisynaptic says:

        Fox News’s income in 2022 was $14B. The settlement is chump change, compared to that. And there was no provision in the settlement to make Fox admit to lying. The lying will continue, apace.

      • ML says:

        Thanks for this explanation, Elx. Upon hearing Fox settled, it seemed to me that Dominion “lost,” and I didn’t understand why they chose not to go to trial. This clarifies things for me.

    • Tacky says:

      It’s a big win for Dominion that the Fox News zombies will never hear about. Money does not equal justice for the poll workers and local election officials who were hurt by these lies.

      • Brassy Rebel says:

        There are separate suits ongoing.

      • Mariana says:

        It’s true they’ll never hear about it. I checked out the Fox News website this morning. It was full of stories of how AI is being trained to kill us and turn our kids “woke.”

        Zero mention of the lawsuit or settlement.

      • olliesmom says:

        There was live coverage of the press conference on all of the other news networks and “breaking news” yesterday afternoon. Over at Fox – crickets.

        Yep, still NOTHING about this on the Fox “News” network’s website today. Their viewers don’t even know that any of this is happening. the viewers that get pumped full of misplaced anger, misinformation and hate 24/7. I guess Fox figures if they don’t cover it then it never took place.

        i was looking forward to what the testimonies would reveal.

        I think that part of the settlement should have been all of these Fox ghouls have had to go on the air repeatedly and apologize.

      • Brassy Rebel says:

        Does anyone believe if the Fox cultists heard about the case and settlement, they would suddenly turn against Fox? Because I sure don’t. Whether Fox’s base hears of this is totally irrelevant to me. They are a tiny subset of society and don’t accept facts and reality. That’s unlikely to change no matter what reality is.

    • Barbiem says:

      I definitely wanted to hear all the testimonies! Dominion should have put in the settlement Fox employees all have to apologize on air

      • BothSidesNow says:

        I too wanted them to not settle and have every Faux News hosts and all of the Faux corporate heads sweating during their time at the trial. I was disappointed that Dominion settled as Faux deserved to be put to trial to show the country and the world how manipulative the entire corporation is.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      The settlement is about 10 times the total value of the company. And even a win in court was never going to result in the billion plus dollars they sued for. Murdoch said “uncle”. I hope everyone waiting in line sues Fox into oblivion.

      • Mary Pester says:

        @brassyrebel, me to, I would love to see murdoch left with nothing, and the likes of carlson disappear into oblivion and take the orange turnip with him.

      • Jaded says:

        Another election technology, Smartmatic, is also suing Fox for defamation related to its coverage of Trump’s stolen-election lie. It’s suit could be more dangerous as it’s asking for damages of $2.7bn. Between the two, Fox and Murdoch are in deep financial sh*t.

    • Truthiness says:

      This is the largest public settlement for defamation ever. Quantifying the damages was always dicey, esp as everyone is pointing out that it’s so much larger than the company’s net worth. It’s worth repeating, Rupert Murdoch just paid out the largest public defamation sum in US history. In fear. And it’s not over.

      Smartmatic’s $2+ billion lawsuit against Fox is still to come, plus Rudy Giuliani, Mike Lindell, and Sidney Powell.

  2. Happyoften says:

    Bummer. I was so looking forward to seeing that whole crew on the stand explaining themselves…

  3. Southern Fried says:

    Dang I was looking forward to a trial. Hopefully we’ll still get one or two out from the other lawsuits.

  4. Moderatelywealthy says:

    ” I wonder why Dominion settled if they had Murdoch on the ropes, which is what most legal analysts claimed?”

    Usually, they ask a high amount in damages especifically so they can negotiate. It is done all the time, it is not that surprising. Lawsuits like this are a pain the arse for everyone, and as you said yourself, Fox News audiences will not care, so having Tucker in the stand would bring next to nothing.
    At the end of the day, Dominion is a company. Let´s not expect them to behave they were suing to protect democracy. it was buisness.

    • Fifty-50 says:

      Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the lawyers representing Fox cost $213M over the course of the litigation. There is an army behind a trial like this, especially something so high stakes. I can only imagine the amount of analysis Fox did weighing the settlement amount against the reputational damage they would suffer if everything went to trial. Demanding a cool $1.7B takes a lot of confidence.

      Dominion might also move for Fox to pay their attorney’s fees. It’s not forgone conclusion that the settlement includes that amount.

    • Well Wisher says:

      This. They ask for double the amount of the lawsuit. Dominion does not want to destroy Fox, just make them pay.
      Fox did not want the scrutiny, they do not want people to know that the metaphorically sausage has little or no choice meat.

  5. Jessica says:

    From what I’ve read, Dominion had Fox dead to rights on the facts of the case, but would have had a harder time arguing that the damages were as high as what they were seeking.

  6. Acha says:

    Apparently we are not done with Fox lawsuits, however. Dominion was only one of the voting machine companies, and Smartmatic can deliver the rest of the coup de gras. Per this guy on twitter:

    • BothSidesNow says:

      At least I will be happy to watch Faux news squirm some more. I have hope that the costs associated with these lawsuits are hitting Faux where it counts in the bank!!

  7. equality says:

    It was still a record-breaking amount in a lawsuit. And, hopefully, it will encourage others to start bringing lawsuits against media lies. They can not admit, but anyone with sense knows you don’t pay millions out if you have a case to exonerate yourself.

  8. Izzy says:

    Dominion probably settled because at this point, they got two things they wanted: a crapton of money, and a de facto admission of guilt – all those internal documents they obtained, which everyone now knows about, that show how the network and its employees knew they were peddling lies, are in the public sphere now. You can’t unring that bell.

    • MsIam says:

      I agree, this is a good outcome. It further cements Trump as a nutcase who can only be believed and supported by his fellow nutcase extremists. Fox will have a hard time platforming him again which limits his reach. Also, I think it undercuts others who were planning to follow his “election lie” playbook. I don’t think you will ever be able to eliminate the lunatic fringe but you have to be able to corral and contain it and this will help.

  9. Eurydice says:

    It makes sense that Dominion settled – FOX is politically motivated, but Dominion is not. It’s a relatively small, for-profit company, and this settlement is like 9 times their projected annual revenue. There was no guarantee that the jury would award them the full $1.6 billion and the money would probably have been held up in the appeals process. This way they get the money right away and it makes their investors happy.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      That’s an excellent view point. I did not take that into consideration. Thank you @ Eurydice for opening my eyes regarding this additional issue at hand.

    • AmyB says:

      Yes, very good point! It is definitely a huge win for Dominion.

  10. Selene says:

    “We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”

    I wonder what it feels like to be a lawyer that creates deceit using alternative facts like the ones in this quote. Living in that cloud of delusion, lack of self awareness and gaslighting has to feel better than Ayahuasca or something.

  11. Seraphina says:

    While a trial would have been great, there is a reason Fox settled – a clear sign they don’t want any more digging or exposing of their dirty deeds.

  12. Seaflower says:

    So disappointed by this.

  13. MK says:

    I hate to burst bubbles, but Fox’s insurance is probably covering the legal fees and the settlement. No idea how much they are insured for, but it’s bound to be a lot. The damage is in everyone knowing that they settled, all the pre-trial disclosures and the precedent it sets for the other lawsuits about the lies. Fox’s premiums are going to go up though!!

    • Kate says:

      You can have insurance cover intentional torts??

      • MK says:

        Yes – liability insurance covers the costs of defamation suits. In fact, Bill Cosby used his homeowners’ insurance to cover the cost of the lawsuits women filed against him.

  14. HamsterJam says:

    How many more 3/4 billion $ payouts does Murdoch need to make before his company becomes bankrupt?

    • Selene says:

      I hope he does, and the next one sued is the Daily Mail. Prince Harry, take him for all he’s got.

    • Knkaren says:

      About 5. Good luck explaining this to the Fox shareholders, who ultimately pay the price for Murdoch & Co’s ineptitude.

  15. FancyPants says:

    I am so disappointed with this. Dominion didn’t even require Fox to read on-air admissions that they lied- their viewers will never even know this happened and the Fox hosts still have no incentive to stop lying, because as someone said above, their insurance company will pay this “fine.”

    • JanetDR says:

      That’s my take as well. Fox watchers will go right on believing the election was stolen.

    • Dara says:

      That’s why I hate this settlement. At the very least it should have included a stronger admission from Fox – not the lame “we don’t dispute the findings” language. AND Fox should have had to prominently read on-air or post online, a statement saying exactly – and using non-legal language – what those findings were, and why Fox was found to be at fault.

  16. LauraIngallsWildest says:

    As a lawyer, I am crushed – I was really looking forward to following this. But this is a fantastic outcome for Dominion. The $1.6 billion figure was extremely speculative – as others have said, it would be hard to prove and essentially come down to a battle of expert witnesses. I’ve negotiated plenty of settlements, and never had one where the defendant admitted fault. But $787.5 million reads in the real world like a pretty big admission. And yes, Fox’s insurance premiums when it renews will be staggering!

    • Fifty-50 says:

      Agree. I would have been astounded if Dominion was able to get more than $250M from a jury. A company valued at $100M? Asking for an amount 10 times its value? Companies like Apple demand $1B in damages in IP cases against other multibillion dollar companies. Tiny companies manufacturing voting machines do not get 7x their worth— how would you even justify that amount? There is no multibillion dollar market for voting machines, there just isn’t.

      I mean, even with treble damages, just. I figure max would be $750M, if we’re optimistic about the $250M (which I’m not). Yeah. Good for Dominion.

  17. Louise177 says:

    Fox won big time. They only gave up hundreds of millions that they could afford and didn’t have to admit guilt. Some dirt came out but a lot more probably would’ve came out if there was a trial. Since they barely got a punishment it’s still going to be business as usual.

    • Shai says:

      Fox didn’t win anything, they lost nearly a billion dollars over lies. They’re not out of the woods yet, there’s another pending lawsuit against them. Dominion was just one.

    • Truthiness says:

      Fox lost, it’s the highest dollar public defamation case in US history. Smartmatic’s $2 billion case is still to come.

      Of course we wanted them spit roasted for weeks while people like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson testify but Dominion was paying lawyers in excess of its worth.

    • MsIam says:

      Fox definitely lost. Listen even if there was a trial you were never going to win over the true believers, the MAGA nuts. This is a win for the rest of the sane people, a confirmation of what people already believed, that Fox is a right wing propaganda machine that cannot be believed or trusted. Plus I read that some shareholders are suing or planning to sue Murdoch. So he may be forced out and hopefully his son Lachlan too.

  18. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    So upset about this last night. What a missed opportunity.

    • Well Wisher says:

      It would have been interesting to metaphorically know how much actual meat is in the sausage, if any.

    • AmyB says:

      I was disappointed as well. I was ready to watch Fox get hammered relentlessly in the press for weeks while the trial went on. Would have been glorious to watch people like Murdoch, Hannity, and Carlson have to take the stand LOL

  19. Cecil says:

    Almost all defamation-type lawsuits settle pre-trial, and it’s considered smart of the plaintiff. Most lawyers would counsel their clients to settle in this situation. As others mention, you can often get higher damages from a settlement, than from a legal decision (additionally, damages awarded as a trial outcome can be appealed and are often reduced on appeal). I think part of the disappointment here is that while damage was done to Dominion, damage was also done to the public writ large, and while Dominion has been compensated, the public hasn’t been whatsoever. That’s why I’m upset there was no public admission of wrongdoing by Fox (although keep in mind there’s another lawsuit in a similar vein by Smartmatic). At the end of the day, Dominion is partially owned by a hedge fund company, and they’re always going to push to get the highest amount of money, to the detriment of everyone else.

  20. AmyB says:

    I am disappointed that the trial did not proceed. I was looking forward to the weeks of embarrassment and humiliation for Fox!

    However, it’s no surprise to me they finally settled – Fox saw the writing on the wall, and they were going to lose bigly, but the public deserves full transparency here. And apparently, an on-air apology for Fox’s torrent of lies and misinformation is not part of the settlement. So essentially, Dominion wins and America loses. Fox viewers will never know they lied so they will continue to believe the big lie. Everyone who ever quotes Hannity, Carlson, and the rest of the clown show that has been and is Fox should get reminded immediately that every one of those assholes are entertainers of the gullible.

    The good news is that Fox has other pending civil lawsuits for even more money. Smartmatics is suing Fox for $2.7 billion for the same claims as Dominion. With Fox settling here, that certainly bodes well for Smartmatics. Keep hitting Fox where it hurts – in their pockets!!

  21. tamsin says:

    Good for Dominion. Getting enough revelations to get Fox to settle for such a huge amount is a victory for Dominion and at least the information is in the public domain. As a member of the public, I feel not satisfaction, but disappointment because Fox is not being held accountable in the way that will greatly affect their ability to continue broadcasting misinformation; they will just have to be more careful.

  22. Lizzie Bathory says:

    Big win for Dominion, with more cases to go. And many more cases for Fox–the discovery in this case alone is likely to lead to shareholder actions against Fox. Once the judge appointed a special master (to be paid for by Fox) to dig into what Fox hid about Murdoch’s personal involvement in this, Fox knew they had to settle.

    I understand wanting to see Tucker Carlson et al on the stand, but I was bemused to see people on Twitter saying “so this was all about money? Not about democracy?” Like, yes? It’s Dominion’s job to recover damages on behalf of their shareholders. It’s our job to preserve democracy.

    • Fifty-50 says:

      Agree 100%.

      Stop waiting around for others to save democracy— go out and do it yourselves, instead of sitting around glued to twitter, yelling about the state of the world. Jfc.

      Democracy is hard work, and it will always be hard work. I would have thought the Trump years showed us that, but apparently not.

      People have to go out and keep doing the work— I want to welcome all white people to the world of POC, where you have to fight for every single right, every single day, and watch as no one is held accountable.

  23. Sara says:

    Good for Dominion and I really don’t like this demon… he may be one of the worst human being in the world

  24. MSTJ says:

    It’s good that Fox News faced consequences for its actions. However, many companies are insured to cover damages from major lawsuits. Fox News is likely insured and may be able to make a claim for the amount paid out for damages to Dominion.

    • Well Wisher says:

      Their premium will be very high due to this settlement. It will make more expensive to do business.
      But a settlement means that the ‘trade’ secrets, remain secret.

  25. Rnot says:

    Here’s hoping that they get wrecked by shareholder lawsuits and are also forced to underwrite their own indemnity insurance for directors and officers.

  26. jferber says:

    And yet with all of this, I fully believe Fox will do the same thing the next election, if Orange Turd runs and loses again. They will fully support “a stolen election” again. Stupid lasts forever. So does unconscionable.

  27. Jaded says:

    While I’m disappointed that this didn’t go to trial and no *official* apology will take place, there are dozens of other companies and organizations that own massive amounts of Fox stock. There will likely be many major shareholders suing Fox for their terrible mismanagement. Some shareholder lawsuits have already hit the courts but with the Dominion win and the Smartmatic lawsuit about to go to trial, I think the writing is on the wall for Fox and Murdoch.

  28. Veronica S. says:

    Liberals should be ripping into Dominion now where they can because this case basically sounds like they don’t actually care whether elections are safe. They care about money. So…why should I believe they couldn’t be paid off to sway elections for the right price lol?