What The Fox News Defamation Suit Could Mean for Misinformation on the Internet

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Fox News has become the center of conservative leaning sociopolitical coverage since the Trump administration. Today, new details emerge surrounding texts and emails shared between Fox‘s top anchors and producers regarding former President Donald Trump’s voter fraud claims. Dominion Voting Systems is suing the station for defamation, due to their extensive coverage of conspiracy theories that the Biden administration rigged the 2020 election in favor of the Democratic party.

The claims made on Fox rapidly spread misinformation about elections and voting in America across social media. The conspiracy theories continue to be promoted by several GOP members of congress, notably by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. For their lead anchors and corporate leads to have expressed disagreement with the claims in private is evidence that the station purposefully spread misinformation.

Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and even Rupert Murdoch corresponded via text about Sidney Powell, a 2020 election conspiracy theorist who led the charge to attempt to overturn the election. Powell claimed that she had the ability to time travel, and that she had clear information that the election was stolen.

While Ingraham’s law and media background lies entirely in conservative leaning media, Carlson began his career reporting on multiple perspectives, and even had a brief tenure on CNN before joining Fox News. While Carlson has become infamous for many of the outlandish statements he has made on Tucker Carlson Tonight, it is plausible that he may not be as personally radicalized as meets the eye.


This background in mind, many critics are now placing heavier blame on the hosts involved in the defamation suit for their role in inciting the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection.

Others accuse Ingraham, Carlson and others of prioritizing their hefty salaries over ethical, truthful reporting, especially in the last three years.

In the messages, Carlson and Ingraham expressed surprise at the vast audiences that believed and ran with the misinformation. By the time they realized what they had done, they felt they created a monster that could not be tamed.


Social media platforms have become home to a host of misinformation surrounding COVID-19, the 2020 election, and more. Facebook employed third party fact checkers to flag potential misinformation, but the rapid spread has proven difficult for other platforms. The Fox revelations today could be another major push for social media companies to reconfigure their algorithms to benefit fact over fiction.

While Fox has repeatedly attempted to label themselves as entertainment to avoid defamation lawsuits claiming that they were journalists spreading false information, the new Dominion suit slams them with evidence that the hosts and producers do consider themselves journalists.

Ingraham has posted several new segments from her show on Fox to her social media today, but has not addressed the Dominion suit. Neither has Tucker Carlson or the other hosts, producers, or corporate leads mentioned in the defamation suit. Viewers wonder whether Fox News will mention the lawsuit at all on their airwaves today. One thing remains clear–this case proves a landmark for the handling of misinformation and far-right media conspiracy theories, and will likely have a massive impact on the news media and social media.

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