The Fox News-Dominion settlement is a lesson for Democrats too
Like the GOP, the party has cast doubt on elections in the past
Dominion Voting Systems, the maker of voting machines and tabulation software used in 28 states in the 2020 election cycle, has settled its defamation lawsuit against Fox News for close to $800 million. Fox, along with other conservative news outlets, had aired allegations that Dominion had participated in a broad conspiracy to steal the presidency from Donald Trump by switching Republican votes to the Democrat column.
Faced with evidence that Fox’s own key on-air commentators — including Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity — had scoffed at the idea that such a grand scheme to subvert the election had taken place, the network chose on the eve of the trial to avert a lengthy and embarrassing court process, and probably got off cheap. Reporters looking forward to a six-week stint of breathless reportage about Fox News and anticipated testimony from Rupert Murdoch expressed disappointment with the settlement — the New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg reported that “a sense of shock prevails”— but most informed observers knew that a deal would likely be struck, with only the record-breaking price tag remaining uncertain.
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The Dominion saga is far from over, as the company still has pending cases against other media companies as well as Trump’s lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who are being sued for defamation. But what remains of key interest is the readiness with which major media outlets embrace the diction of Democrat consultants when it comes to labelling unfounded allegations as “lies”.
This goes not just for the 2020 election, but for virtually anything that Trump or his surrogates say. Indeed, critics of the new role of “fact-checker” have pointed out that these supposed truth-seekers are laughably partisan in their checking, as when the Washington Post accused Trump of “lying” for having said that he received 75 million votes, when the number was actually 74 million, or referring to him as a liar for calling his voting base “the greatest political movement in the history of our country.”
But regarding the 2020 election, affirming the sanctity of the process has become creedal and a sign of loyalty to the democratic process. That election is alone in American history as unassailable.
Who remembers the 2004 presidential election, when John Kerry was “supposed” to cruise to an easy victory over George W. Bush? Bush’s victory in Ohio was, we were told, corrupted and stolen by Diebold Election Systems, a manufacturer of voting machines which had alleged ties to Republican political figures. To this day there are dead-enders on the Left who believe that Kerry had the election stolen from him.
Or consider 2016, when Hillary Clinton’s loss so baffled her devotees that they launched a four year “Resistance” to the Trump presidency that was festooned with conspiratorial musings so lavish that they included a front-page New York Magazine assertion that Donald Trump had been recruited as a KGB mole in the 1980s, with the long-term aim of installing him as a Kremlin puppet.
Fox News tried to play both sides in the wake of the 2020 election, and got its fingers burned by airing clumsy suppositions about election fraud that stupidly named names. It will no doubt have learnt its lesson, but do not expect this to be the last time we hear complaints about America’s hallowed election process — from either side.
Seth Barron is managing editor of The American Mind.
Continuing to point out this double standard is pointless. progressives control ever institution in America. Of course they let their own off the hook. Of course they use those institutions to hurt Republicans.
We need to stop whining about it and start using the electoral power to change it.
Changing it to more like the Australian model would be a good start. We (who pioneered the secret ballot) have Electoral Commissions which redraw the boundaries of electorates impartially – they are never questioned. We have state and federal elections on Saturdays which makes it easier for people to go out and vote, we use pencils and paper and have party scrutineers checking the process & count to make sure it’s all kosher, and we have compulsory voting, which produces a result much more reflective of the community, and thus a more legitimate result.
The Secret Ballot , alone in a booth with pencil at a public voting station, so taken for granted by Australians (it was innovative once, see below , and known abroad as The Australian Ballot) is under threat by growing tendency toward postal and other remote systems which cannot be secret since it’s impossible to know if the voter is alone.
The Australian ballot (from Encyclopaedia Brittanica):
Victoria and South Australia were the first states to introduce secrecy of the ballot (1856), and for that reason the secret ballot is referred to as the Australian ballot. The system spread to Europe and the United States to meet the growing public and parliamentary demand for protection of voters. The means for securing secrecy vary considerably.
Gore v Bush and the hanging chads was another fun time for electoral fraud allegations from the left.
Both sides smear. Only one side pays the price. Such is democracy in today’s America. Sad.
Oh do stop blubbing. “Smear” my foot. You can always spot someone who’s lost the argument when he starts resorting to false balance. Fox, knowingly and repeatedly, ran with stories it knew / believed to be utter cobblers. Stories which were hugely damaging to US social cohesion and to US democracy. And no Dem has ever pushed an untruth to the extent that the GOP has – those nutters took circa 60 court cases based on this pile of right wing self-pitying conspiracy balderdash, and lost every one. And the reason they lost? Their story was a lake of pish. Fox News, much loved by people like you, doesn’t even have stumps to stand on these days.
The Fox settlement will encourage others, but aside from a judge who clearly was somewhat biased, cases will be harder to win. Most who voted know that irregularities happened but don’t know the details. Whether the machines were rigged remains unknowable but the vulnerabilities have been reported. Dominion’s settlement was amazingly huge given the companies size.
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