There was an interesting development last week in the voting machines company’s lawsuit against Fox News. In order to win a case against a broadcaster like Fox for defamation, you have to prove both falsity of what was said and knowledge that the statements were false. Malice aforethought I think is the fancy terms. You have to know that what you were spouting was nonsense and you broadcast it anyway or you were deliberately indifferent to its falsity.
The Court found that “The evidence developed in this civil proceeding demonstrates that is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true,” the judge wrote. “Therefore, the Court will grant summary judgment in favor of Dominion on the element of falsity.”
So, the Court found that no reasonable person could find that the statements Fox was broadcasting about the voting machine companies were true. There is no exception here for MAGA or QAnon folks. Amusingly, the Court inadvertently finds that the MAGA and QAnon folks are not reasonable people.
Now, the case moves to trial where malice or knowledge that the statements were false will be an issue. But, the recent dump of text messages will likely push the parties towards settlement discussions. I don’t know much about Delaware juries or how they would view Fox news and whether punitive damages would be awarded. We shall see what happens.
Nevertheless, having summary judgment awarded in favor of the voting machines companies is a major step forward for them in their pursuit of some sort of compensation for being on the receiving end of the Trump addled Fox broadcast engine. Dominion is now in the driver’s seat and will likely be able to dictate the terms of the settlement.