Many far-right MAGA Republicans have been furious over the outcome of Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, which found the plaintiff and the defendant reaching a settlement on Tuesday, April 18 and Fox News agreeing to pay Dominion $787.5 million. As they see it, Fox News was unfairly taken to the cleaners and shouldn't have to pay such a huge amount.
But Never Trump conservative George Will has a very different viewpoint. In his April 20 column for the Washington Post, the veteran columnist, now 81, argues that the settlement was "good for both parties and for the law."
The lawsuit, Will stresses, showed that Fox News behaved atrociously after the 2020 presidential election — and also showed how little the cable news outlet thinks of its own audience.
Will explains, "Fox News never ventured onto the thin ice of arguing that it ever had even a smidgen of evidence to support what was said by the Dominion detractors…. By settling, thereby avoiding a trial, Fox News was spared further dissemination of embarrassments. These include internal communications that prove two things: First, pecuniary motives led Fox News to pander to (Donald) Trump adorers who, furious that on Election Night, the channel had correctly called Arizona for Joe Biden, were fleeing like lemmings to Newsmax — an unwavering defender of the indefensible…. Second, when not toadying to Trump, some Fox News personnel were saying, in effect, that they wished that he, like the Wicked Witch of the West, would melt away."
Will himself was a Fox News contributor in the past, but that was before the MAGA movement took over the Republican Party. The columnist, who has been writing for the Post since the 1970s, has been a scathing critic of Trump and supported now-President Joe Biden in 2020. Much of the right-wing media, including Fox News and Fox Business, has made a point of excluding Never Trump voices.
Fox News, Will laments, obviously regards its viewers as "snowflakes" who can't handle criticism of Trump.
"In recent months," Will writes, "there has been an avalanche of evidence that Fox News thinks of its audience as akin to campus snowflakes easily triggered into trauma. And that Fox News should be their 'safe space' where viewers will encounter nothing, such as news — e.g., there is no evidence for anything Trump said about 2020 voting irregularities — that might make them sad. Otherwise, they might bolt to Newsmax or some other source of solace. Fox News' robust ratings indicate that its viewers’ appetite for the preposterous exceeds their pride."