The media defamation trial of the century is set to begin in Wilmington, Delaware, in just a few days.
Jury selection in Dominion Voting Systems’ monstrous $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit played out throughout the day Thursday, with 300 potential jurors summoned to court. Good progress was made and the presiding judge noted that there were “more than enough jurors” to begin the trial as scheduled on Monday.
It is there, in courtroom 7E, that Murdoch Media’s biggest personalities, accompanied by a host of high-profile lawyers, will attempt to mount their defense after repeatedly failing to convince a judge to reject this now historic case.
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It’s honestly extraordinary to write these words. When I watched the election broadcast on Fox News in the aftermath of the 2020 election, I never expected the network to be held accountable in any meaningful way.
I’ve been covering Fox News for a while now. I have watched thousands and thousands of hours of programs on the right channel. I’ve watched his hosts, over the years, undermine public health, make crude anti-immigration remarks, peddle lies and propaganda, and promote deranged conspiracy theories that were once reserved for the most right-wing fringes of the right.
The network has always seemed to find a way to weather controversy, even the most hellish storms it has faced. Sometimes he comes out even stronger and more courageous than before.
But this time it’s different. This time, the usual tricks that the network resorts to in times of crisis will not free it from trouble. This time, in court, the network will have to present an honest, fact-based argument.
Fox News is about to enter the true No Spin Zone, where deception is strictly prohibited. Where he is not responsible. And where its top executives like Rupert Murdoch and Suzanne Scott and its hosts like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity cannot simply ignore a request for comment and resort, instead, to attacking the “media” on air.
In this context, where lies cannot be told casually and the truth cannot be twisted beyond reality to fit a dishonest narrative, it will be fascinating to see how the network behaves. If the preliminary hearings are any indicator, it won’t be pretty. The case hasn’t even started and the presiding judge has already lost patience with Fox’s legal team and put them on notice.
Perhaps the tide will turn for Fox News when the judge delivers his gavel in Monday’s trial. But if they play out as the last few weeks of hearings have, Fox News is in for a brutal ride.