Fox-Dominion settled — and the media is despondent

APRIL 18: Members of the Fox News legal team, including lawyer Dan Webb (C), leave the Leonard Williams Justice Center after settling a lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Now that Dominion Voting Systems has settled for less than half of what they were asking for in damages from Fox News, the circus must pack up and move elsewhere. 

There’s nothing more the mainstream media likes to cover more than itself, and there is no media target juicier than Fox News. Fox was suckered into the vacuum left by Trump that of course Joe Biden’s presidency wasn’t going to fill. The media needed a villain and Fox, led by Tucker Carlson, scratches that itch for them.  

Fox News did itself no favor by slingshotting back and forth from being the first network to accurately call Arizona for Joe Biden in the 2020 election, sending Team Trump off the deep end. In attempting to make it up to them, and their aggrieved viewers, the network entertained election fictions surrounding Dominion voting machines. This was chum in the water for competitors at the Washington Post, the New York Times, MSNBC and CNN, where obsessing over Fox is a favorite pastime, alongside covering missing airplanes.  

Alas. Fired CNN media reporter Brian Stelter was brought on by Vanity Fair to cover what was expected to be an explosive trial in which Fox’s deepest and darkest secrets would be revealed, something Stelter has made a living off of for years. But it was not meant to be. No newsletter, no podcast, no appearances on NBC or the Aspen Institute.

The rest of the media is going to have to go back to binge watching Succession, a show they think is about Fox News, but is actually about them, to get their tabloid fix that they were counting on over the next few weeks.  

Fox itself now has a real test ahead. How does the network go about covering the former president and his claims of a stolen and rigged election, which by all intentions he appears to be making a central focus of his next campaign? Ahead of the 2024 election, Trump remains the front-runner to snatch the GOP nomination, much to their delight of most of the media. 

Fox’s competitors have no doubt relished in Dominion story, and Fox handed them a very big bat to hit them with, but for every Dominion lawsuit at Fox, there’s a lawsuit at CNN by Chris Cuomo over his dismissal, or a possible future one over Don Lemon who appears to be on the outs.  

Doubtless Fox certainly should not have misled their audience on Trump’s claims at Dominion, but they are far from the only network with an integrity problem. 

Take the “last honest news man” Jake Tapper, who fell oddly silent when it was revealed his former boss at CNN was working side by side with former New York governor Andrew Cuomo during his much heralded Covid press conferences.  

At MSNBC, they are still at a loss trying to find Joy Reid’s bigoted time-traveling hackers, and Rachel Maddow still hasn’t come up with the Trump tax returns she promised. Nicolle Wallace hasn’t answered for promoting bogus Russia narratives fed to her from the Hamilton 68, Chris Hayes is still searching for his bicycle, and now there are fresh allegations of plagiarism against Mehdi Hasan. Maybe former Biden press secretary and new MSNBC star host Jen Psaki can restore some gravitas. 

So while other networks will no doubt take a victory lap over Fox’s sloppiness, perhaps they can start by cleaning their own houses out. It would be a good start, and a benefit to everyone in the audience. Alas, the circus never folds its tents. It just packs up and moves to the next destination.

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