Sky News commentator Andrew Bolt has berated his colleagues in a fiery diatribe after Fox News became embroiled in a polling station ‘disaster’ lawsuit.
Fox Corp and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News have settled a libel lawsuit brought against them by Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million ($1.2 billion).
The voting company, which produces and sells electronic voting software, had sued Fox over its false claims of vote fraud in the 2020 US election.
In response to this week’s drama, Mr. Bolt launched an extraordinary critique of his Fox colleagues: “This is a disaster. I mean, we’re better than this. We should be. The truth must always come first. Even if the audience doesn’t like it.’
Mr Bolt (pictured) suggested some of his colleagues at Fox were too preoccupied with ratings and pushing the vote-rigging claims had ‘exploded’ in their faces
The lawsuit centered on whether Fox was liable for broadcasting the false claims that Denver-based Dominion voting machines were being used to rig the presidential election in favor of President Biden.
Tuesday’s settlement spared Fox the danger of some of its best-known figures being called to the witness stand and subjected to potentially damning interrogations.
Individuals who initially faced whims include Fox Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch, 92, and hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro.
Mr Bolt suggested that some of his colleagues at Fox were too preoccupied with ratings and that pushing the vote-rigging claims through had ‘exploded’ in their faces.
‘IIt’s been a tough day being a member of the News Corp family, as part of the Murdoch empire, which I’ve proudly been for over 30 years,” he said.
“We made Fox News admit to broadcasting lies about the election that Donald Trump lost. Lies that voting machines were rigged to steal votes from Trump and gave them to Joe Biden. As people at Fox News privately admitted in emails that there was no evidence, I said the same thing out loud that this conspiracy theory was crazy.
“But I lost viewers who didn’t want to hear that at the time. They called me a chosen one to the point that I had to defend myself.
Some folks at Fox News watched their ratings plummet and gave in to the great temptation of some of the more reckless or desperate or misguided hosts to keep pushing this fake news over the voting machines to keep their viewers.
“And now it’s exploded in their faces.”
Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corp and Fox News settled a libel lawsuit brought against them by Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million (pictured is Mr. Murdoch in 2017)
Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson (pictured), Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro and other on-air stars were impeached in the Dominion case last year
Dominion CEO John Poulos called the settlement “historic.”
“Fox has admitted to lying about Dominion that has caused tremendous damage to my company, our employees and our customers,” Poulos said in a statement.
‘Truthful reporting in the media is essential for our democracy.’
Fox anchor Neil Cavuto broke into his news show Your World to report the settlement with a statement from Fox read live on air.
“We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems,” the statement said.
“We acknowledge the court’s rulings that certain allegations about Dominion are false. This settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards.
“We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, rather than the bitterness of a divisive process, will allow the country to move forward with these issues.”
Fox News is the most watched cable news network in the United States.
Jeanine Pirro interviews Trump attorney Sidney Powell, who is also being sued by Dominion in a separate lawsuit. They were photographed on November 14, 2020
The $787.5 million ($1.2 billion) settlement is the largest amount paid to settle a U.S. media libel case.
The previous highest payment was in 2017 when the American ABC network, owned by Walt Disney Co., paid $177 million ($A263 million), in addition to insurance money, to settle the ‘pink slime’ defamation case with Beef Products Inc.
The company sued in 2012, saying the network’s coverage of its lean, fine-textured beef product misled customers into thinking it was “unsafe” and “not beef.”
Dominion sued Fox Corp and Fox News, saying their business was ruined by the false vote-rigging claims broadcast by the news outlet known for its roster of conservative commentators.
The trial was designed to test whether Fox’s reporting crossed the line between ethical journalism and the pursuit of ratings, as Dominion claimed and Fox denied.
Fox had portrayed himself as a defender of press freedom during the pre-trial skirmishes.
Adding to the legal risks for Fox, another US voice technology company, Smartmatic, is pursuing its own libel lawsuit, seeking $2.7 billion ($4.0 billion) in damages in a New York court.