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Internal Documents Show Fox News CEO Called Fact Checking Trump’s Election Conspiracy ‘Bad for Business’

Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott expressed anger over a reporter fact-checking Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election, saying in a December 2020 email that it was “bad for business.” 

According to The Guardian, in the email, Scott complained that Eric Shawn, one of the network’s anchors, had fact-checked Trump’s election claims on air, stating that “this has to stop now.” She added that there was a “lack of understanding” about what was happening on the network’s shows and that the audience was “furious” and being “fed” material that was “bad for business.”

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Scott also requested that other Fox employees inform her if the network booked Mike Pompeo, the former secretary of state, or Mike Lindell, a serial promoter of election misinformation, as guests, stating that “they would both get ratings.” A spokesperson for Fox News claimed that Scott’s objection was not about fact-checking but rather about one host calling out another.

The email is part of a collection of internal communications obtained by Dominion Voting Systems in its $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News. During a court hearing, Dominion displayed a copy of the message, arguing that Fox knowingly aired false statements about the company because it was concerned about losing viewers to rival conservative networks such as Newsmax and One America News.

Fox News has denied these allegations and claims that it was reporting on newsworthy allegations made by Trump and his lawyers and that its broadcasts about Dominion were not statements of fact.

“These documents once again demonstrate Dominion’s continued reliance on cherry-picked quotes without context to generate headlines in order to distract from the facts of this case,” a Fox News spokesperson tells Barrett News Media. “The foundational right to a free press is at stake and we will continue to fiercely advocate for the First Amendment in protecting the role of news organizations to cover the news.”

The communications also included messages from Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, who appeared to be aware that Sidney Powell, one of Trump’s lawyers, would make deceptive claims about Dominion software switching votes during an appearance on her show. Dominion also revealed an internal fact-check from Fox News’ “brain room” that debunked false claims about Dominion on November 13th, 2020. However, Fox News continued to make false claims about the company after the fact-check.

The documents also showed internal concern about statements made by Jeanine Pirro, another host who aired false Dominion claims. Fact-checkers went over a script for one of Pirro’s shows and highlighted inaccurate statements about Dominion, with one executive writing that it was “rife with conspiracies and BS.”

Jury selection in the trial is due to begin on 13 April in Wilmington, Delaware, with the trial scheduled to start on 17 April and last six weeks.

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