Fox’s Special Report show portrayed the nearly $83.3 million defamation verdict against Trump as likely to increase his support.
The $83.3 million awarded to E. Jean Carroll, who was previously found to have been sexually abused and defamed by Donald Trump, was reached yesterday at about 4:40 PM ET. NewsHounds' Brian said Fox’s The Five show, which airs from 5-6 PM, “completely ignored it.”
At 6 PM, Special Report, Fox’s evening “news” show, did cover it, albeit in the most Trump-friendly way possible.
The verdict was discussed in mostly political terms. That neatly allowed the panel to avoid talking about Trump’s stream of unhinged social media attacks on Carroll as well as the My Cousin Vinny-level of unprofessionalism by defense attorney Alina Habba.
Anchor Bret Baier whitewashed Trump’s unhinged behavior by merely saying that a jury had previously found him liable for sexually abusing her in the mid-1990s “and for defaming her in posts on his Truth Social website in October 2022."
“The former president has denied all of those allegations all along,” Baier added, for a bit of extra Trump pandering.
Panelist and Fox News Sunday anchor Shannon Bream said that Trump “has been able to take on his enemies at all different levels, in many different business ventures and all things over time,” but that the “$83 million has got to make him think twice about every single time he wants to bring up this case or talk about the plaintiff.”
Next up was conservative contributor Byron York. Baier primed the pump, so to speak, for some heavy-duty spinning before tossing to York.
BAIER: [Trump cases at the Supreme Court] are stacking up like planes coming into the Dulles here, Byron.
On Truth Social, that website, the former president responded, saying this, quote, "Absolutely ridiculous. I fully disagree with both verdicts and will be appealing the whole Biden-directed witch hunt focused on me and the Republican Party. Our legal system is out of control and being used as a political weapon. They have taken away all First Amendment rights. This is not America."
We saw in the exit polls, our Fox News voter analysis polls, that it was a unifying factor for Republicans and even some independents, these legal cases against the former president that a lot of people, voters, thought that were being targeted. Does this help or hurt him politically?
How about how it helps or hurts the country to have the likely Republican presidential nominee ranting and raving attacks on our judicial system and targeting a woman he previously sexually abused? Nobody brought up any of that.
The conservative York took Baier's cue and ran with it:
YORK: Every single Trump supporter that I have spoken to in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina all feel that he has been unfairly pursued and unfairly targeted by the Justice Department, by prosecutors in New York and Georgia, and by others. And this I think they will just fit into that template.
If he has actually convicted in a criminal case, I don't know. But so far, all of these cases against him have really increased his support, and they have increased and hardened the belief of a lot of his supporters that he was unfairly targeted. They start with the Russia affair and just go on from there.
Baier went on to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the cases against Trump.
BAIER: Yes. And obviously we talked about Alvin Bragg and that case. And then you've got the civil fraud case that could be decided as of next week in the hundreds of millions of dollars as well.
But there are questions about all of these cases. That case, the real estate estimate, there were experts down in Palm Beach who say $18 million for Mar-a-Lago, I mean that may be the tennis court. But it wasn't a good estimate for that whole property. Anyway, you look at these case individually, what do you think overall politically this means for the president?
There was no mention of the Mar-a-Lago case, in which it’s pretty clear Trump stole top secret classified documents and stored them, as Rep. Jasmine Crockett put it, “in the shi**er” there. Nor any mention of the two cases involving Trump’s efforts to overturn the legitimate 2020 presidential election. Trump’s own attorney general, Bill Barr all but called Trump guilty in those cases – on Fox News. But it’s no surprise they were “forgotten” here.
Not even the lone liberal panelist, Juan Williams mentioned them. He gave the kind of mild-mannered opinion that Fox producers undoubtedly wanted in order to provide a fig leaf of balance. Williams said that while the MAGA base may be on Trump’s side, the general electorate will likely see it differently, “especially when you're talking about an assault on a woman.” And with Trump’s primary foe Nikki Haley talking about all the chaos around Trump, “I think it strengthens that argument,” Williams added.
Williams is right. But it avoids the larger, far more important issue here: that Trump’s unhinged behavior toward E. Jean Carroll is just the latest example – out of hundreds, probably thousands – that prove Trump is unfit for office. Period. Full Stop.
Even so, Baier quickly changed the subject to “other crazy numbers today, these border numbers.”
You can watch Fox’s premier “news” show cover up Trump’s abhorrent and likely criminal behavior below, from the January 26, 2024 Special Report.