Headline RoundupApril 20th, 2023

Fox News $787.5 Million Defamation Settlement Avoids Trial, Polarizes Media

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Following the $787.5 million settlement announcement in Dominion Voting Systems’s defamation lawsuit against Fox News, writers across the spectrum are reflecting on what was gained and what was lost by averting a high-profile trial regarding misinformation, news media, and the first amendment. 

From The Left: Left-rated voices broadly expressed disappointment that the trial didn’t move forward, with many eager for court testimony from prominent right-rated media figures like Tucker Carlson (Right Bias) and former Fox News CEO and current chairman Rupert Murdoch. Michelle Goldberg (Left Bias) wrote that Fox had to settle because the network “had no viable defense,” determining that “Fox has just shown the world what it’s willing to pay to avoid the unmasking.” A Daily Beast writer determined the settlement proved that “bad-faith right-wing actors with money can still trump accountability.”

From The Right: Right-rated voices gave less attention to the settlement announcement, but those reflecting on the news generally voiced relief that a settlement was reached and a precedent-setting verdict was avoided. A writer in Reason (Lean Right Bias) argued that “letting the government directly punish Fox News hosts for their statements—even if those statements end up being defamatory—would start us down way too slippery a slope.” A writer in the Washington Examiner determined a verdict in either direction would have proved detrimental to news media. A verdict in Fox’s favor, they wrote, would give the “green light for pernicious behavior,” and a verdict in Dominion’s favor would result in “narrowing First Amendment protections in ways antithetical to freedom.”

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