In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential race, prominent political and media figures expressed serious misgivings about election integrity.
Various critics pointed a finger at Dominion Voting Systems with largely unsubstantiated claims that the company was complicit in fraud that cost former President Donald Trump another term in the White House.
Dominion fought back, launching defamation suits including a $1.6 billion claim against Fox News.
As NPR’s David Folkenflik explained in January, the cable news giant’s defense centered on “the argument that Fox essentially was reporting newsworthy claims of fraud from newsworthy people — that is, this then-sitting president of the United States, Donald Trump, and his campaign allies and representatives and lawyers — and that it was inherently newsworthy.”
Of course, Fox Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch seemed to acknowledge during a deposition that at least some of the network’s personalities went beyond merely quoting the claims of election skeptics.
While he adamantly denied that Fox News Channel endorsed any claims that the election was stolen, he said: “Some of our commentators were endorsing it.”
He specifically cited Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo as on-air network figures who seemed receptive to the claims about Dominion.
Even as the lawsuit attracts widespread attention elsewhere across the media landscape, Fox News has apparently been purposely resistant to offering any coverage — much to the chagrin of media reporter Howard Kurtz.
The host of Fox News Channel’s “MediaBuzz” recently reacted to questions he has received regarding his own program’s dearth of information about the ongoing court case.
— TV News Now (@TVNewsNow) February 26, 2023
“The company has decided that as part of the organization being sued, I can’t talk about it or write about it, at least for now,” Kurtz recently told viewers. “I strongly disagree with that decision. But as an employee, I have to abide by it.”
As for why he decided to bring up the topic at all, he referenced criticism he has received from some in his audience about the glaring omission in his coverage of the media.
“It’s absolutely a fair question,” Kurtz concluded. “I believe I should be covering it, it’s a major media story, given my role here at Fox.”