No one was expecting an apology and in fact Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch applauded “the highest journalistic standards” displayed at Fox News, saying the near $800 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems was a business decision made to resolve the dispute and “avoid the acrimony of multi-year litigation.”
But, “It in no way alters the news channel’s commitment to highest journalist standards and our passion for unabashedly reporting the news of the day,” the CEO told Wall Streeters on the company’s quarterly earnings call.
Murdoch also said there is “no change to programming strategy at Fox News, after the settlement — that was followed shortly by the exit of top-rated host Tucker Carlson. “It’s obviously a successful strategy,” the CEO said.
Asked about upcoming litigation with Smartmatic, another manufacturer of electronic voting systems that says if was defamed by Fox News, Murdoch called the two cases very different – implying Fox would have a better chance the second time around. He anticipated a trial wouldn’t start until 2025.
“I am obviously limited about what I can say about any ongoing litigation, but I can make the following comment, in regard to Dominion,” he said. “We always acted as news organization reporting on the newsworthy events of the day, which certainly included allegations being made by the president of the United States and his laywers.”
The judge in the Dominion case did not allow Fox to use “newsworthiness” as a defense against defamation. Murdoch said that Smartmatic is a “fundamentally different” case than Dominion,
in that all of our full complement of First Amendment defenses remain.”
More to come…