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Fox News recently reached a hefty settlement of almost $800 million with Dominion Voting Systems, signifying a pivotal legal victory in the pursuit to combat untruths and unfounded theories about elections which have haunted American society for years. This resolution is just one of countless lawsuits filed against those who perpetuated election lies, such as other voting tech companies and Georgia ballot clerks slandered by false claims of vote-rigging. Lawyers engaged in this initiative view it as an attempt to fight back against liars whose deceptions on fraudulent ballots may have triggered the Capitol riots on January 6th 2021 – and still reverberate amongst right-wing extremists today.
The massive $787.5 million settlement between Dominion Voting Systems and Fox News and its parent company, Fox Corp., is a major win for the former after years of false accusations by Donald Trump and his allies that the 2020 election had been stolen. While the agreement does not require an admission of guilt from Fox, it speaks to their ongoing commitment to upholding journalistic integrity – something critics are disappointed wasn’t included in the deal.
While this monetary victory may be seen as a sign of progress for those seeking justice against disinformation campaigns, experts worry that libel suits won’t be enough to address these issues effectively or protect democratic institutions long-term. The staggering sum paid out by one media giant serves as an example of what could come with more legal challenges; however, whether this will lead to true behavioral change remains uncertain.
Fox News has kept up a steady stream of misleading segments about the 2020 election, despite the Dominion case’s eventual resolution – and now they’re facing potential legal repercussions. Smartmatic, another voting company that was incorrectly linked with Dominion during Trump’s post-election lies, is taking its defamation claim to court. Meanwhile, Georgia election workers have filed suit against Gateway Pundit for spreading numerous conspiracy theories regarding last year’s vote.
The magnitude of any settlements resulting from these cases may not be enough to persuade those heavily influenced by Trump’s deceptions that Fox News isn’t a reliable news source, according to Jane Kirtley of the University of Minnesota. Nonetheless, this settlement marks an important victory in terms of combating disinformation and false narratives out there in public discourse today.