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What a Fox Corp Settlement With Dominion May Look Like
According to sources, Fox News is currently exploring the possibility of settling the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems against the network. The trial, originally scheduled to commence today, has been postponed to Tuesday by the presiding judge, affording Fox News additional time to negotiate a potential resolution. If a settlement is reached, it could represent a significant victory for Dominion, a company with an annual revenue of merely $17.5 million.
What would a settlement look like?
Should Fox News reach a settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, it is expected that the terms of the agreement will remain undisclosed in order to mitigate any potential adverse publicity for the network. An exorbitant settlement amount could signal an implicit admission of guilt on the part of Fox Corp with regards to the allegations of defamation brought forth by Dominion. The specific amount of any potential settlement remains unknown and is contingent upon the relative confidence of the two parties in their ability to emerge victorious in a trial. Dominion enjoys a distinct advantage in this legal battle, as the prospect of a trial would likely only serve to further exacerbate the already-diminished public perception of Fox News.
Why Fox Corp Would Want to Settle?
The discoveries made during the legal process have proven to be highly detrimental to both the media company and a significant number of its personnel. Private text messages exchanged between high-profile Fox News anchors Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson with other individuals have cast them, as well as the network and its Chairman Rupert Murdoch, in a negative light. These revelations have had a personal impact on the individuals involved, as well as further damaging Fox News' public image.
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Earlier this year, Dominion Voting Systems presented a thorough 178-page brief in its $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News. The brief divulged evidence that Fox executives were well-aware of the frivolous nature of the claims surrounding "the dominion stuff," indicating a consensus throughout the organization that they were without merit. The document featured quotes from private messages and depositions of Fox News personnel, including program hosts, that highlighted a widespread recognition within the company that the accusations of Dominion's involvement in election interference on behalf of Joe Biden lacked any foundation. This revelation has had an immediate and profound effect on public perception of Fox News, further eroding the already tenuous reputation of the organization.
In the event of a trial, these texts and other pertinent information would inevitably come to light, further damaging Fox News' already tarnished reputation. Hence, if the media company is able to resolve the legal dispute with Dominion without revealing any financial terms of the settlement, it would be considered a victory, even if the amount paid runs into hundreds of millions of dollars.
Interestingly, the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit, which has garnered significant attention in recent months, is not the largest defamation case facing Fox News. Smartmatic, a multinational corporation that designs and implements electronic voting systems, is seeking even more compensation - a staggering $2.7 billion - in a separate lawsuit. A settlement with Dominion would shift the focus to Smartmatic's case, opening up the possibility of additional disclosures. If Fox News opts to go to trial and succeeds in refuting Dominion's allegations, the likelihood of Smartmatic prevailing in a similar lawsuit would likely diminish. Conversely, a settlement could potentially embolden Smartmatic in their pursuit of holding Fox News accountable.
Whether or not Fox News reaches a settlement, rebuilding trust with its audience will undoubtedly be a long and difficult process.