The media libel trial of the century is about to begin in Wilmington, Delaware, in just a few days.
Jury selection in Dominion Voting Systems’ monstrous $1.6 billion defamation trial took place throughout Thursday, with 300 potential jurors being summoned to court. Good progress was made and the presiding judge noted that there were “more than enough jurors” to start the trial as scheduled on Monday.
There, in courtroom 7E, Murdoch Media’s biggest personalities, accompanied by a bevy of high-powered lawyers, will try to defend themselves after repeatedly failing to convince a judge to throw out the now historic case.
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Honestly, it’s amazing to write those words. When I watched Fox News broadcast election lies after the 2020 election, I never expected the network to be held accountable in a meaningful way.
I’ve been covering Fox News for a while. I have watched thousands upon thousands of hours of right wing programming. Over the years, we’ve seen its hosts undermine public health, make crude anti-immigrant remarks, peddle lies and propaganda, and promote disturbing conspiracy theories that were once reserved for the furthest fringes of the right.
The network has always seemed to find a way to wade through controversy, even through the most infernal storms it has faced. Sometimes he came out even stronger and more encouraged than before.
But this time it’s different. This time, the normal tricks that the network turns to in times of crisis will not get it out of trouble. This time, in a court of law, the network will have to present an honest, fact-based argument.
Fox News is about to enter the true No Spin Zone, where cheating is strictly prohibited. Where he is not responsible. And where its top executives like Rupert Murdoch and Suzanne Scott and hosts like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity can’t simply ignore a request for comment and instead resort to attacking “the media” live.
In this setting, where lies cannot be told haphazardly and the truth cannot be twisted beyond reality to fit a dishonest narrative, it will be fascinating to see how the network fares. If the preliminary hearings are any indicator, it won’t be pretty. The case hasn’t even started and the president has already lost patience with Fox’s legal team and let them know.
Perhaps the wind will change for Fox News when the judge rules on Monday. But if it plays out the way the last few weeks of court have played out, Fox News is in for a rough ride.