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Why Fox News Lied to Its Viewers

The Atlantic – “Fox News lies to its viewers. Its most prominent personalities, among the most influential in the industry, tell their viewers things they know not to be true. This is not accusation, allegation, or supposition. Today, we know it to be fact…Sometimes, though, you have proof that someone knew one thing and said another. With Fox News, examples of the network’s commitment to knowingly misleading its viewers abound. There was the irresponsible hyping of anti-vaccine propaganda even as it imposed a vaccine mandate on its employees. There were the text messages from Fox hosts released by the January 6 committee showing that they saw Trump as responsible for inspiring the mob that sacked the Capitol, even as they defended him on air and downplayed the significance of the event. Sometimes, defending itself in court, the network will argue that a reasonable person would not assume that everything its on-air personalities say are true. In 2020, the network successfully beat a defamation lawsuit by arguing that Tucker Carlson is “not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary.’”

The most compelling example of Fox News consciously lying to its viewers, however, arrived yesterday with the evidence in the defamation lawsuits filed by the voting-machine company Dominion, over claims aired on Fox News echoing Trump’s lie that the 2020 election had been fixed by compromised voting machines. Dominion’s latest filing argues that privately, Fox News hosts admitted that the allegations of election fraud being floated by Trump allies were baseless, but they kept airing them, in part because they feared that another right-wing network, Newsmax, was stealing their audience. The filing shows that when Fox News reporters shot down the allegations publicly, the network’s big personalities were livid, complaining internally that telling their viewers the truth was hurting the network’s brand…”

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