Fox News likely to fork over 'huge payment' to settle Dominion suit: media consultant
CEO and founder of News Corporation Rupert Murdoch (AFP)

Fox News is likely to pay out a massive settlement to make the $1.6 billion lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems go away, media consultant Richard Tofel wrote Wednesday on his Substack.

Such an deal, he argued, would be beneficial for Dominion too — even though he said their case is rock-solid.

"Dominion should settle primarily because, while they are very likely to win the case, upholding the verdict after trial would take years, and would entail some risk, especially in the reduction of any award," wrote Tofel.

"Beyond that, Dominion has proved its points: there were no significant flaws in their voting machines in 2020, those machines tallied the votes accurately in the states where they were employed — about half of all states. (Those states, by the way, included the crucial swing states won by Biden by smaller margins than polls had suggested, but also Florida, Iowa and Ohio, where Trump also overperformed against the polls, winning by wider-than-expected margins)."

Dominion also proved the hardest aspect of their case, too, Tofel argued, which is that Fox anchors and executives knew what they were putting on air was false, that Trump really did lose the election and there was no evidence voting machines were rigged, as demonstrated by communications behind the scenes.

Meanwhile, Tofel wrote, Fox would do well to settle, because there is a real risk the trial could result in even larger damages. "Dominion, as I noted two years ago, is the nightmare plaintiff: a company that sustained real damage to its business, and can probably prove that to a jury’s satisfaction," he said. "Nor would the courts be likely to come to Fox’s rescue after a trial. The judges most sympathetic to Fox are generally also those who want to make it easier for libel plaintiffs."

Above all, he argued, a settlement in this case would be in the public interest as well, because in order to settle such a clear-cut case, Fox would have to agree to a "huge payment" of at least "hundreds of millions of dollars" — enough to be a blemish on their reputation, and a real deterrent from telling lies this brazen to their viewers in the future.

"Most significantly for our democracy, such a settlement by Murdoch and Fox would help mute claims, at least through their often-poisonous channels, and especially over the remaining 19 months of the 2024 presidential campaign, about who received the most votes in the previous contest," concluded Tofel. "Fox won’t want to make the same mistake again."