- 09 Mar 23
The American cable TV network is facing a $1.6 billion defamation suit for propagating the debunked claim that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from Donald Trump.
The premier Fox News host Tucker Carlson is facing condemnation across party lines this week for misrepresenting and downplaying the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the United States Capitol on his show.
After being provided with over 40,000 hours of security footage by U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, Tucker Carlson Tonight broadcasted videos of the riot that omitted any violence perpetrated by supporters of former president Donald Trump. Instead, the conservative host deemed the riot a day of “peaceful chaos”.
Nine people died in connection to the capitol insurrection, including several capitol police officers who died by suicide soon after the attack. In addition, around 150 officers from the Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police Department and other agencies that responded to the attack were injured. In response, over 1,000 people have been charged for the events of January 6th and hundreds have been convicted of offences including seditious conspiracy.
“We have condemned this false depiction of the unprecedented, violent attack on our constitution and the rule of law, which cost police officers their lives,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday.
In more blunt terms, Jean-Pierre described the attack on the capitol as “a very dark day and an attack on our democracy.” She also called the host’s commentary “shameful”.
Capitol insurrectionists attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election that named Joe Biden the 46th president of the United States. After losing his bid for re-election, Trump and several Republican members of Congress began promoting the false claim that the election was “stolen” due to massive voter fraud. Many of the capitol rioters believed this falsehood and threatened the lives of elected representatives who refused to help overturn the election results, including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Trump’s own vice president, Mike Pence.
Several high-profile Fox News hosts have boosted the stolen election lie on-air, raising suspicions that election machines were rigged in favour of Biden. In response, Dominion Voting Systems has filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the cable TV network.
In addition, over 6,500 documents have been released amid the suit that show Fox executives, producers and hosts admitting to spreading knowingly false information about the 2020 election on the network.
“The emails, texts, and deposition testimony speak for themselves. We welcome all scrutiny of our evidence because it all leads to the same place – Fox knowingly spread lies causing enormous damage to an American company,” a Dominion spokesperson said.
Carlson is among the most-watched anchors in the U.S., amassing a viewership of millions of nightly viewers. In July 2022, the host broke the record for the highest-rated programme in cable news history with an average nightly audience of 4.33 million viewers.
“We agree with Fox Nation’s own attorneys and executives who have repeatedly stressed in multiple courts of law that Tucker Carlson is not credible when it comes to this issue,” Jean-Pierre added.
Trump, who is currently running for another White House bid, still promotes the stolen election lie. However, federal and state election officials, as well as Trump’s own attorney general, found no evidence of voter fraud. After the former president explored an array of legal avenues, the claim of a stolen election was also rejected by dozens of courts, including by judges appointed by Trump.
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