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A court document that was reportedly leaked to The New York Times pertaining to Fox News’ recent bombshell settlement with Dominion Voting Systems indicates that the network sought to “move on” from former President Donald Trump following his election loss.
Reports regarding the leaked document came just days after the two parties reached an agreement in which Fox News agreed to pay a record $787.5 to Dominion for defamation, though the agreement did not include the network having to apologize to the voting election software firm.
“Fox settled with Dominion over charges that Fox News baselessly accused the company of rigging its voting machines against former President Donald Trump in 2020. It was the most-watched media libel case in decades,” The Associated Press reported, adding that through various financial mechanisms such as insurance coverage and tax deductibility, the network isn’t likely to actually pay the full amount.
According to Becker News, former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who joined Fox News’ board of directors after leaving Congress, “has become quite influential with” the network’s leadership. The leaked document shows that “Ryan has been an influential force behind the network’s decision to move on from Donald Trump.”
“As a Board Member, Ryan believed that the period immediately following the 2020 Presidential Election ‘was a pretty important inflection point, not just for the company Fox, but for the country and for the conservative movement itself,’ and shared this ‘view as a fiduciary’ with Rupert and Lachlan,” the document notes, going on to cite an exhibit.
“Ryan told Rupert and Lachlan ‘that Fox News should not be spreading conspiracy theories,’” it stated.
The filing goes on to note how deeply Ryan was involved in talks about how the network could best cover fallout from the 2020 election and the associated claims of widespread vote fraud that ultimately turned out to be unproven.
“On December 6 , 2020, Paul Ryan texted Rupert and Lachlan, telling them, we are entering a truly bizarre phase of this where [Trump] has actually convinced himself of this farce and will do more bizarre things to delegitimize the election,” the document says. “I see this as a key inflection point for Fox, where the right thing and the smart business thing to do line up nicely.”
“Ryan told Dias about his own conversation with Rupert and Lachlan, reporting he told them that ‘this is a huge inflection point to keep Trump down and move on for the future of the conservative movement.’ Ryan added: ‘Both Rupert and Lachlan agree fully. The key is to execute our collective will,'” the document added.
In the wake of the settlement, the network has parted ways with two major personalities — one of them Fox’s top-rated host.
Last week, Dan Bongino announced an amicable decision to leave the network after he said he could not come to terms on a new contract. But on Monday, the network dropped the bombshell news that it was parting ways with Tucker Carlson, who has been a ratings king for the network in his primetime slot.
Monday evening, The Daily Beast reported that the departures came at the behest of Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott.
They “made the call on Friday night to can him and his show, Confider has learned, thanks largely (and surprisingly) in part to vulgar comments he made about Sidney Powell, the right-wing lawyer behind many of the bonkers 2020 election lies pushed on Fox’s airwaves,” the report said.
“Tucker was already pissing off Fox management between his conspiracy-laden coverage of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, including the repeated and baseless targeting of Trump supporter Ray Epps as being an FBI agent who instigated the insurrection; a looming lawsuit from his former producer Abby Grossberg alleging a sexist work environment; and his disparaging remarks about Fox brass in documents made public,” the outlet noted further.
“Carlson’s last program was Friday, April 21st, Fox News said, meaning Carlson did not get a chance to sign off to his viewers. The news comes days after Fox News reached a historic 11th-hour settlement with Dominion Voting Systems for over $787 million,” Axios, which broke the news, reported early Monday.