Rupert Murdoch and his companies Fox Corp and News Corp are on the ropes after agreeing to pay Dominion Voting Systems $1.17 billion ($US 787.5 million) for defamation after Fox promoted lies that Dominion helped rig the 2020 US Presidential election.
A lot of people are disappointed the matter did not go to hearing but there are many positives in the case settling for such a large amount and not just for Dominion.
Instead of the case dragging on for years with appeals the settlement sets a powerful benchmark, financially and with admissions by Fox, which will be utilised in the numerous other claims against Fox News which is all bad news for Fox Corp’s shareholders and Fox’s insurers. The settlement now also means that the other cases can move forward against the Murdoch’s faster and armed with the benchmark.
One example is Smartmatic, another voting systems company, who are also suing Fox for almost identical defamation and are seeking $4 billion ($US 2.7 billion) in damages. Smartmatic now know that Fox is prepared to pay huge dollars to make sure Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch and their TV Stars don’t have to give evidence in the witnesses stand in court under oath.
So, if Smartmatic follow Dominion’s strategy that the $1.17 billion ($US 787.5 million) is the minimum they should expect. And Fox’s shareholders will be up next. One individual Fox shareholder has already initiated preceding against the Fox Corp directors, which includes the Murdochs, for breaching their fiduciary duties by broadcasting the lies about Dominion and there are reports that numerous law firms are advertising for shareholders for class actions against Fox Corp.
So, the $1.17 billion is nothing more than the tip of the iceberg that is heading the way of the Murdoch’s and their companies. It would not be a surprise if Fox Corp agreed to pay Smartmatic at least $1.17 billion and maybe $2 billion or more by the end of the year and maybe a similar amount to Fox’s shareholders.
Dominion are also suing other such as Newsmax and AON and they will be able to do that from a position of strength now, with the cash and admissions by Fox, instead of trying to fight numerous battles against major companies at the same time.
Why did Rupert Murdoch’s Fox settle now?
Rupert Murdoch allowed very damaging material to be subpoenaed and hit the media during the last few months when he could have settled before it did. I have no doubt Murdoch was planning on fighting the case up to the US Supreme Court which is controlled by Republican Party appointees.
The fact that Rupert Murdoch allowed so much dirt to be made public before settling suggests to me Murdoch was spooked only in the last few days or weeks into settling.
There are 2 key reasons why I think Murdoch decided to settle this late. Firstly, Murdoch’s lawyers failed a couple of weeks ago in attempting to have Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch exempt from giving evidence in court. Secondly, Fox where exposed for withholding evidence so the judge appointed a Special Master to investigate Fox News withholding evidence that they should have given to Dominion during the discovery phase of the case. And I suspect Murdoch didn’t want a Special Master to go digging inside the company and finding other incriminating evidence.
And there could be other reasons for settling which I discuss in the below video:
Fox News issued the blow statement after the settlement:
“We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems. We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects FOX’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues,”
What does it mean for Lachlan Murdoch v Crikey?
Crikey have filed some of the Dominion evidence as part of their defence against Lachlan Murdoch’s defamation case against them. Lachlan’s lawyers tried to have that evidence struck out and failed but they have flagged having a second attempt.
Unless Lachlan Murdoch can have it struck out then it is almost certain that Lachlan Murdoch will discontinue his case against Crikey. Because Lachlan is not going to hop on the witness stand and answer questions in Australia which he didn’t want to answer on the witness stand in the US.
Some people are trying to position Murdoch’s settlement with Dominion as a minor issue for them, but the Murdoch’s are in a lot more trouble than even they probably realise and I think by the end of the year that will be obvious. The Murdoch’s are fighting to many battles with too many people and their power is getting weaker, not stronger.
Nothing undermines democracy more than when a large media organisation lies about an election being stolen which Murdoch’s Fox News has admitted doing in the US. On that basis the Australian government should being moving swiftly to set up the long called for Murdoch Royal Commission to make sure it never happens in Australia.
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Categories: Business People and Companies