If you thought that with Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit scheduled to begin next week, Fox News might be a bit more circumspect before whining about the 2020 election results, think again.
On yesterday’s Jesse Watters Primetime show, Outkick founder and Fox Sports Radio host Clay Travis called President Joe Biden “an accidental president.” Travis claimed Biden “only won by 20,000 votes after they rigged the entire election, after they hid everything associated with Hunter Biden, with the big tech, with the big media, and with the big Democrat-party collusion that all worked in his favor.”
Travis probably would claim that he was not talking about vote totals being rigged. But he knows darned well what kind of dog whistle he was sending. And so did host Jesse Watters, who said nothing to suggest that Biden was the lawful, valid president nor to challenge Travis’ obvious suggestion otherwise.
Today, the judge in the Dominion trial ruled that Fox is responsible for the defaming lies told by its guests about Dominion Voting Systems. From The New York Times:
The judge admonished Fox’s lawyers, saying they cannot make the argument that the false statements about [alleged vote rigging by] Dominion came from guests like Ms. Powell and not from Fox hosts. That argument is irrelevant, he said, because the fact remains that Fox is responsible as the broadcaster.
“It’s a publication issue, not a who-said-it issue,” he said.
“You can’t absolve yourself of defamation by merely putting somebody on at another time to say something different,” he said.
Apparently, Fox has just switched scapegoats for the same Big Lie.
You can watch it below, from the April 10, 2023 Jesse Watters Primetime, via Media Matters.
Ellen points to Travis’ dog whistle that the “entire election [was] rigged”. Travis knows this meme for Fox viewers evokes Trump’s vivid images of bogus and destroyed ballots, but in line with what Fox lawyers would want, Travis steers clear of those images. Instead, the only specific act of “rigging” Travis cites is the hiding of information about that man-for-all-right-wing-reasons, that walking ‘…because Benghazi’, Hunter Biden.
Travis and Buck Sexton now co-host the replacement angry Right Wing AM radio show for the original flagship of bigotry from Limbaugh, and they regularly make outrageous statements in the same vein as their idol. They can be counted on to fervently support the most angry Right Wing talking points possible and to speak dismissively and viciously about anything not on the Far Right.
Travis has one major media achievement to speak of: In September 2017, he was invited to speak on CNN on Brooke Baldwin’s show on the matter of Jemele Smith’s accurate social media comments about Mike Pence’s childish spokesman. Rather than actually discuss the topic, Travis smugly announced “the only two things I 100% believe in are the First Amendment and boobs” and then smirked in the mode of Limbaugh. Baldwin quickly chastised Travis, who continued repeating the lewd comment and smirking. And then Baldwin tossed Travis off the air and apologized to her viewers. Travis was informed he would not be allowed on CNN’s airwaves again. It is telling that Travis continues to think that this was a good thing for him to do rather than a puerile bit of misogyny.
As for Travis’ fantasies about the 2020 Election, they are unimportant and irrelevant.