Remember when Fox News won its Karen McDougal libel case by arguing that no reasonable viewer would expect facts from Tucker Carlson? Fox told Dominion, under oath, a completely different story.
You may recall that in September, 2020, Fox News successfully argued to a Trump-appointed judge that Tucker Carlson did not defame Karen McDougal because a reasonable viewer does not expect facts from Carlson. In that case, Carlson had said, on the air, that “the facts” are “undisputed” that McDougal committed extortion when she was paid $150,000 by the publisher of the National Enquirer which subsequently killed her story.
But more recently, in pre-trial testimony in Dominion's $1.6 billion defamation case against the network, Tucker Carlson, the Tucker Carlson Tonight show’s senior executive producer, Justin Wells, and Meade Cooper, EVP of primetime programming, all testified that the show strives to provide news, information and facts:
- Tucker Carlson Tonight: Carlson testified that his show has “viewers and they expect us to bring as much information as we can, to be as honest as we can.” Ex.105, Carlson 33:16-19; Ex.148, Wells 72:20-23 (senior producer testifying that “we’re making the appropriate decisions for our audience, and what we believe to be true, and providing our assessment of the news events”); Ex.108, Cooper 197:5-7, 198:4-11 (Carlson’s show is “a credible news source” and she believes “viewers who hear the information presented on the Tucker Carlson show rely on Tucker Carlson to provide credible news”). (P. 81)
Cooper also testified, “even on opinion shows, factual accuracy matters.” (P. 80)
As far as I can tell, the “nobody should believe Carlson” argument was made by Fox’s lawyers, and was not testified to by anyone on staff. So I’ll leave it to legal experts as to whether any perjury or other legal wrong was committed.
It’s ironic that Fox (presumably) admitted the truth in a case where they were caught in far more hideous lies than the McDougal case.
But the bottom line is, nobody can be confident that the network is telling the truth on the air about anything.
Carlson image via screen grab)
The one undeniable positive that comes out of this case is that Dominion has caught so many Fox pundits and personalities knowingly and blatantly lying to their viewers. The problem is that the memory of this behavior tends to be ephemeral. Which is why this site and Ellen’s work is so important. It is necessary to continue to document what these ideologues have been doing for when they attempt to rewrite the history in the days to come.
Without this knowledge, Bill O’Reilly would get away with telling everyone he’s a “victim” of the “Far Left” rather than a serial predator who ended his propaganda career in disgrace. And the current talking heads on Fox would get away with telling everyone what a “beloved” president Richard Nixon was rather than the disgraced crook he actually is known to have been.