The latest public filing in Dominion’s $1.6B defamation case against Fox News reveals that Fox News opinion hosts plotted against their own “news” side colleagues.
Yes, there’s more on how much Fox News' top personnel didn’t believe the election lies they were promoting, including Tucker Carlson’s vehement hatred of Donald Trump (which I have long suspected). But I did not expect an out-and-out civil war.
From NPR’s David Folkenflik:
In private notes to one another, Fox's top stars spat fire at their reporting colleagues who debunked Trump's claims of election fraud, even as they gave those allegations no credence. "We are officially working for an organization that hates us," said prime-time host Laura Ingraham.
Reporters said they were being punished simply for doing their jobs. One producer told colleagues he was quitting because he could not justify working for Fox anymore.
And the network's chief executive, Suzanne Scott, said pressure from conservatives online meant that she couldn't defend "these reporters who don't understand our viewers and how to handle stories."
Folkenflik goes on to note emails between reporter Gillian Turner and then-reporter Kristin Fisher:
“I have had zero live shots from the [White House] except for [Special Report]," Fisher texted to reporter Gillian Turner. (Special Report, anchored by Fox's Bret Baier, is the network's prime political newscast.)
"F---. Really?" Turner replied. "You think they pulled you from anchoring over that sh--?"
"100%," Fisher wrote. "I'm being punished for doing my job. Literally. That's it."
In its multipart, deep dive into Tucker Carlson last year, The New York Times reported on how Carlson pushed out Fisher from Fox News because of her truth telling about the 2020 election:
When a Fox White House correspondent and occasional Carlson guest, Kristin Fisher, told viewers that much of one rambling Giuliani presentation “was simply not true or has already been thrown out in court,” Mr. Carlson went on the air to attack “credentialed reporters, some of whom we know and like,” who were refusing “even to acknowledge” the already discredited claims. He had not mentioned Ms. Fisher by name, but she was warned by superiors to keep her head down, according to two former employees. She did not reappear on air for several days, and her appearances declined significantly in subsequent weeks. (Ms. Fisher later left for CNN.) Around the network, supervisors repeated an Orwellian mantra: “Respect the audience.”
Nothing says "respect the audience" like insisting that reporters in a "news" network promote lies!
Carlson also famously pushed out anchor Shepard Smith in 2019 because Smith had the audacity to side with a colleague over a MAGA guest who called the colleague a “fool.” From my September, 2019 post, in the run-up to the first Trump impeachment:
As I explained in a previous post, Carlson sided with pro-Trump lawyer Joseph diGenova, who has a history of unprofessional behavior, when he called Fox’s own senior judicial analyst [Andrew Napolitano] “a fool” for opining that Trump had committed a crime in trying to strong arm Ukraine into digging up dirt for his personal political benefit. The next day, after Smith called the smear “repugnant” and went on to cite numerous respected attorneys who agree with Napolitano, Carlson, of all people, accused Smith of being a dishonest opinion host.
Smith's title is “Chief news anchor and managing editor, breaking news division.” But rather than stand up for two people it presumably pays because of their trustworthiness, the network threw them under the pro-Trump propaganda bus.
A few weeks later, Smith was gone from Fox. “A former Fox News staffer who has recently been in touch with Smith said that the spat with Carlson was the last straw and that Smith had grown frustrated in recent months by the repeated attacks on the news division by other opinion hosts,” The Washington Post reported. I had thought that incident was a one-off at the time. I was wrong.
Also in this latest tranche of Dominion exhibits? Carlson’s total contempt for Donald Trump. “I hate him passionately,” Carlson said. He also called Trump “a demonic force, a destroyer” and Trump’s refusal to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration “disgusting.”
Ari Melber has a good breakdown of Carlson’s lies below, from MSNBC’s March 8, 2023 The Beat.