A rare instance of truth and integrity from Tucker Carlson could cost his employer at least one of the billion-dollar defamation cases brought by Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems over Fox News’ promotion of the Big Lie about the 2020 election. UPDATED
Yesterday, a New York state judge rejected Fox News’ motion to dismiss the $2.7 billion Smartmatic case against the network, though it did throw out some claims against some of the individual defendants.
From Law and Crime:
The judge ordered that the cases against Fox’s corporate entities, against [host Maria] Bartiromo, and against [former host Lou] Dobbs should proceed. However, the judge threw out the cases against [host Jeanine] Pirro and [attorney/guest Sidney] Powell. The judge dismissed some of the claims against [attorney/guest Rudy] Giuliani but kept others intact.
In his order, New York Justice David B. Cohen wrote (all emphases mine):
Even assuming that Fox News did not intentionally allow this false narrative to be broadcasted, there is a substantial basis for plaintiffs’ claim that, at a minimum, Fox News turned a blind eye to a litany of outrageous claims about plaintiffs, unprecedented in the history of American elections, so inherently improbable that it evinced a reckless disregard for the truth.
With delicious irony, the judge cited Tucker Carlson as providing the strongest evidence of that reckless disregard. (The order refers to Smartmatic as “SUSA.”):
Ironically, the statements of Tucker Carlson, perhaps the most popular Fox News host, militate most strongly in favor of a possible finding that there is a substantial basis that Fox News acted with actual malice. As noted above, on November 19, 2020, Dobbs posted a video of he and Powell on Twitter with a caption stating, inter alia, that Powell “has no doubt that Dominion voting machines run [SUSA]’s software which allows [it] to manipulate the votes.” The same day, Carlson wrote an article stating that, for over a week, Powell had been claiming that the election had been stolen and that, if Powell were correct, it would be the greatest crime in American history, and he thus asked her to substantiate her comments. However, Powell never provided the evidence requested by Carlson, and President Trump’s campaign advised Carlson that it knew of no such evidence. Therefore, there are sufficient allegations that Fox News knew, or should have known, that Powell’s claim was false, and purposefully ignored the efforts of its most prominent anchor to obtain substantiation of claims of wrongdoing by SUSA.
The Dominion voting systems referenced by the judge is the other company suing Fox News for defamation. In December, a Delaware court denied Fox’s motion to dismiss that case, for $1.6 billion.
Whatever life the two companies have left after being made scapegoats of Fox's election lies, it appears the network is now determined to bankrupt them with delays and legal fees.
From The New York Times:
“While we are gratified that Judge Cohen dismissed Smartmatic’s claims against Jeanine Pirro at this early stage, we still plan to appeal the ruling immediately,” the network said in a statement. The network added that it would “continue to litigate these baseless claims by filing a counterclaim for fees and costs” under New York’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute, which is meant to quickly set aside lawsuits that may be intended to chill free speech.
Will Fox trot out its old “Nobody should believe Tucker Carlson” chestnut that helped the network win a previous defamation suit? Stay tuned.
3/12/22 update: Crooks and Liars has the video of Carlson uttering the words that could be Fox's undoing.
(Carlson image via screen grab)