On Thursday night, Laura Ingraham cut off Donald Trump as he began repeating his Big Lie that he won the presidential election. But after Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation suit against Fox on Friday, her desire not to “relitigate the past” had a lot to with what was about to be litigated in the future.
During their lengthy chat, Ingraham asked for Trump’s reaction to Biden’s “offensive comparison” of Republican efforts to suppress votes to “Jim Crow.”
She should have known better than to try to get Fat Elvis Trump to sing a new tune.
TRUMP: You’ll never have another fair election in this country, just like if you look at the last election, it was disgraceful. It was a Third World election. It was a disgrace. …
If you look at the numbers, the numbers were vastly in favor of us in the presidential election. It was disgraceful that they were able to get away with it. The Supreme Court didn’t have the courage to do what they had to do.
I suspect a producer told Ingraham to interrupt Trump because even as she did so, she made it very clear she was on his side.
INGRAHAM: Yeah, well – speaking as a lawyer, we’re not gonna relitigate the past tonight but speaking as a lawyer, I mean, I think going forward I think any candidate running for office has to have an impeccable legal strategy in place before – like long before the election takes place because a lot of people saw problems coming, verification problems coming but I don’t think the legal situation was in place and I think that that hurt everybody along the way.
She then changed the subject to “the embarrassing meeting between Biden officials and the Chinese.”
That was Thursday night. Friday morning, Dominion filed its complaint seeking at least $1.6 billion in damages. As I wrote in my post about the suit, Fox almost surely knew it was coming.
Another tell is how Fox cut this discussion from both its first and second parts of the interview on YouTube. (The entire discussion was included in FoxNews.com’s online video.) Fox also omitted from the YouTube videos Trump’s claim that the January 6th insurrectionists were “zero threat” and had been “hugging and kissing” the Capitol police and guards.
The omissions were obviously deliberate because the first YouTube video ended right before Trump talked about the armed insurrectionists being a “zero threat” and the second video began with the “embarrassing” Chinese meeting.
On March 16, I wrote about Alexander Vindman’s editorial suggesting that defamation suits are a way to hold the right-wing media accountable and stop them from spreading radicalizing disinformation.
It already seems to be working. You can see it below, from the March 25, 2021 The Ingraham Angle.
After Trump begins to go deep on the Big Lie, Laura Ingraham desperately tries to steer him away:— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 26, 2021
"Speaking as a lawyer, we are not going to relitigate the past tonight..." pic.twitter.com/FU7k5TcPrh
-that somehow Joe Biden didn’t really campaign
-that somehow Bernie Sanders won the Dem nomination
-that somehow Donald Trump really won but the bad people won’t let anyone know that
-that COVID was a “hoax” that was just intended to hurt Trump in the campaign
All of these statements have been repeatedly debunked but angry Right Wingers just keep making them. One would think they’d learn their lesson at some point. But on the other hand, they may be playing a long con like they did with Hillary Clinton – that if they just keep repeating the lies for the next 20 years, maybe they can get people in the future to believe them. Kind of like how we continue to hear nonsense about what a “great president” they want us to think Ronald Reagan was, despite the reality of what happened during his disastrous 8 years in the White House.
I’ll also note in this point that angry Right Wingers made a huge deal out of the nuisance suits filed by Lin Wood on behalf of Nicholas Sandmann and his classmates after footage of them behaving badly went viral and was discussed both on cable news and in print. Wood repeatedly tried to file suits in the hundreds of millions of dollars and Fox News played this up for all it was worth. In the end, the classmates’ nuisance suits were tossed out of court last December. CNN and the Washington Post settled for a tiny pittance each to make Wood go away. (The actual amount hasn’t been disclosed but is calculated to be as low as about 20K each – which would have been completely taken by Wood for his costs and fees. Had the Sandmanns received a huge windfall, it would have leaked just as the Richard Jewell settlements did.)
But when it comes to an actual company like Dominion, which depends on the reliability of its work to stay in business, wild defamatory charges on Right Wing outlets could significantly damage them. And there is an important lesson to be taught to angry Right Wingers like Laura Ingraham – that they will generate a massive cost when they defame companies with no proof.