Some staff at Fox admit to feeling self-conscious in regards to the scandal—“We’re all embarrassed” was a quote I heard greater than as soon as—even when they don’t really feel personally liable for the mess. In any case, many correspondents, editors, and producers had no direct involvement with the anti-Dominion TV segments that did a lot injury. Nevertheless, staff are buzzing inside 1211 Avenue of the Americas over who did screw up and who’s taking place for it. Fox Corp. reportedly put out phrase that Scott is protected for now, however that did nothing to squelch the hypothesis that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch are setting her as much as take the autumn. Gaming out the chances might be only a time waster in terms of the 91-year-old media magnate. “Rupert works in mysterious methods,” one in every of his staff stated with a touch of admiration.
Inside chatter additionally revolves across the relative probabilities of a settlement earlier than the mid-April trial. Some staffers surprise if Fox tried to strike a deal however was spurned by Dominion. Others are holding out hope for a dramatic settlement mere days or hours earlier than opening arguments. Nobody I spoke to expects Fox will come out of a trial as a stronger model.
“The emails, texts, and deposition testimony communicate for themselves,” Dominion stated in a press release Tuesday. “We welcome all scrutiny of our proof as a result of all of it results in the identical place—Fox knowingly unfold lies inflicting monumental injury to an American firm.”
The authorized filings have reignited questions on a management vacuum at Fox Information and sister channel Fox Enterprise, the place hosts pushed voter fraud conspiracy theories for weeks on finish. Fox stalwarts typically convey up founding CEO Roger Ailes on this context. “If Roger had been nonetheless right here, this by no means would have occurred,” one stated.
Ailes cofounded the community with Murdoch in 1996 and tightly managed its programming till a sexual harassment scandal took him down 20 years later. The idea goes like this: Ailes, who died in 2017, would have pulled his individuals again from the conspiracy principle abyss, or no less than coached them to do it extra rigorously. Greta Van Susteren, a prime-time Fox anchor through the Ailes years, lately superior the same view about Ailes. Whereas tweeting about Dominion’s revelation that Hannity and Carlson had been livid when a Fox reporter tweeted a fact-check of Trump, Van Susteren wrote, “I labored at Fox for 14 1/2 years and I can’t think about Roger Ailes, together with his now recognized deep flaws, would have permitted this.” Once I raised this with a Scott ally, they shot again: “Roger was too busy harassing ladies to steer something.”
The “what ifs” are tantalizing however moreover the purpose. Scott has a vastly worthwhile enterprise to run and hosts like Carlson should preserve viewers from altering the channel. So whereas Fox is dissected all throughout the media universe, the community is doing what it does finest: telling a counternarrative.
On February 16, simply hours after the primary devastating Dominion filings had been launched, Carlson winked to 2020 election deniers proper on the outset of his present. To borrow a phrase from the submitting, a phrase utilized by Fox execs when the MAGA base didn’t wish to imagine Trump misplaced, Carlson was exhibiting the way to “respect” the viewers. He didn’t point out Dominion; he didn’t should with the intention to proceed casting doubt on what was clearly a free and truthful election. “How,” Carlson requested, “did senile hermit Joe Biden get 15 million extra votes than his former boss, rock star crowd-surfer Barack Obama? Outcomes like that would appear to defy the legal guidelines of recognized physics and qualify as an alternative as a miracle. Was the 2020 election a miracle? Truthfully, we don’t know and don’t count on to get a solution to it tonight.”
Carlson continued with the counternarrative this week by whitewashing the lethal January 6 assault, suggesting that pro-Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol to cease the certification of Biden’s victory had been “sightseers,” moderately than “insurrectionists.” Such a radical reframing of occasions drew scorn even from some Republican senators. To place January 6 “in the identical class as a permitted peaceable protest is only a lie,” stated North Dakota’s Kevin Cramer. Or, as North Carolina’s Thom Tillis summed up Carlson’s narrative: “I believe it is bullshit.” Fox’s night information anchor Bret Baier evidently felt compelled to say on air Tuesday night time, “To be clear, nobody right here at Fox Information condones any of the violence that occurred on January 6.” In gentle of all of the 2020 texts, exhibiting Carlson ranting in regards to the information facet, one can’t assist however surprise what he might need texted about Baier.