My two greatest American heroes are Arnold Rothstein and Richard Nixon. Rothstein fixed the 1919 World Series, and Nixon fixed the 1972 Presidential election.
Donald Trump tried to fix the 2020 Presidential election, but his mistake was waiting until after the election occurred. Had he put a plan into action to dump the votes before the election took place, he might still be sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office right now.
Think I’m overstating the case? Try reading the 130-page Summary Judgement of Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against FOX, which was issued by the Delaware Superior Court last month. Or better yet, save yourself the trouble and read a summary right here, or follow what I say below.
Last week, directly after the Dominion-FOX[i] settlement was announced, I published a column in which I could not believe that anyone at FOX could be so dumb as to go along with Rudy Giuliani’s claim about a national election ‘fraud.’ My reasoning was very simple, namely, you don’t engage in a national conspiracy to rig election returns in multiple states without sooner or later someone admitting to what they did.
I then went on to argue that perhaps Trump had promised Murdoch some kind of special favor if the election results were overturned. What I didn’t realize, but it all comes out in the Summary Judgement allowing Dominion to pursue its case, is that FOX had its own reasons for promoting the election ‘fraud’ narrative, independent of anything that might have been said between Murdoch and Trump.
To understand the context of that previous sentence, we need to forget the 2020 election for a few paragraphs and go backwards in time.
Trump got into the New York real estate spotlight big time when he broke ground on Trump Tower in 1983. Murdoch got into the New York media market big-time when he bought The New York Post tabloid in 1976.
The picture above was a New York Post cover before Trump and Marla Maples got married in 1993. By that time, FOX was beginning to plan its entrance into the cable news network, which happened in 1996. Even though of late, FOX has talked about Trump in the most negative terms, the bottom line is that the media company and the real estate developer turned national politician have been joined at the hip for more than forty years.
Now back to the Summary Judgement in the case of Dominion Voting Systems versus FOX.
It took FOX exactly one week to realize that their brief effort to behave like a bone-fide news gathering organization by calling the 2020 election for Biden over Trump was a big mistake. On November 9, Suzanne Scott, the CEO of FOX NEWS, sent an email to Murdoch noting the importance of “keep[ing] the audience who loves and trusts us…we need to make sure they know we aren’t abandoning them and still champions for them.” Murdoch responded, “Thanks. All very true. Lots of sane Fox viewers still believe in Trump.” [p. 15]
How did FOX keep its viewers happy, particularly because many of them were switching to other alt-right media platforms like Newsmax and One America News? Fox not only gave beaucoup airtime to election deniers like Rudy and Sydney Powell, but often guided and embellished the election ‘fraud’ claims made by them and others, even though the broadcast executives knew the charges weren’t true.
The most devastating document reproduced in the Summary is an eight-point memo of statements being made and sometimes fed by FOX newscasters to election deniers about the alleged culpability of Dominion, none of which were even remotely close to the truth. [p. 18]
Who prepared this memo which was circulated to the producers of all the FOX cable news shows? The research division at FOX! That’s who told the producers of shows hosted by Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, and other FOX personalities that what they were promoting about election ‘fraud’ and Dominion simply wasn’t true.
Meanwhile, Trump was telling his MAGA gang to stop watching FOX and instead move to Newsmax and OAN. Which is exactly what they did, with the FOX primetime audience dropping by 37%, while the Newsmax audience was growing by almost 40%. FOX still had over 2 million primetime viewers every night while the Newsmax number was somewhere around 400,000. But the shift in viewership still resulted in a 6% decline in the value of FOX stock, which was ‘concerning’ according to Lachlan Murdoch. [p. 16]
Guess what? Dominion has also filed defamation suits against Newsmax and OAN, neither of which have the slightest stash of resources compared to FOX. For all we know, the legal actions taken by Dominion could completely withdraw the alt-right media map.
What the Summary Judgement really shows is that FOX’s big mistake was ever calling itself a ‘news organization’ at all. The bigger mistake was made by Trump, who should have sat down with FOX management months before the election and come up with a narrative to define his campaign rather than relying on Roger Stone.
Then again, Stone got his start in the 1972 Nixon campaign. Remember what I said above about Nixon and Arnold Rothstein?