The Dominion defamation lawsuit is producing additional information concerning a former Fox News anchor named Leland Vittert, whom the filing alleges got hammered by executives for “smug” coverage that was too consistently “anti-Trump.”
Comments made by Fox News hosts and executives following the presidential election were ostensibly revealed in a recent filing by Dominion Voting Systems, which is suing the network for defamation and seeking $1.6 billion in damages.
A new filing on Monday details how Vittert was allegedly excoriated by Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott over his “anti-Trump” coverage that was deemed “smug and condescending.”
“Meanwhile, Lachlan continued to advise on how Fox should cover the news related to the 2020 Presidential Election. For instance, he told Scott on November 14 during Fox’s coverage of a rally in support of Donald Trump that ‘News guys have to be careful how they cover this rally. So far some of the side comments are slightly anti, and they shouldn’t be. The narrative should be this is a huge celebration of the 25 president.’ Ex.627; see Ex.130, L.Murdoch 116:4-119:11,” the filing asserted.
“Scott responded: ‘Yes thanks’; and when Lachlan then criticized Leland Vittert’s coverage as ‘[s]mug and obnoxious,’ Scott said she was ‘calling now’ to direct Vittert’s producer to fix the issue. Ex.627; Ex.130, L.Murdoch, 122:1-15,” it continued. “And indeed she did. Executive David Clark reported: ‘Also got called by Jay who heard from SS that Leland was being smug and condescending. I texted him and told him to cut it out and DC EP spoke to him.’ Ex.628.”
Lachlan Murdoch said @LelandVittert‘s reporting on a Trump rally was “smug and obnoxious” and CEO Suzanne Scott + President Jay Wallace told Vittert to “cut it out.”
Murdoch wanted narrative to be “celebration of the president.” pic.twitter.com/xP6t2EXwZs
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) February 27, 2023
“Lachlan even gave his input on the chyron that appeared at the bottom of broadcasts, telling Scott that ‘the ticker at bottom of screen is all wrong. Way too wordy and long. And anti trump whenever possible.’ Ex.629,” the filing charged.
Another section took aim at Rupert Murdoch concerning a reprimand of Shep Smith, “(W)hen Shepard Smith attacked the ‘Trump administration’s ‘lies’ on air, Rupert emailed Scott and Jay Wallace calling it ‘Over the top!’ and telling them, ‘Need to chat to him.'”
Fox News issued a statement in response to the new filing:
“Dominion’s lawsuit has always been more about what will generate headlines than what can withstand legal and factual scrutiny, as illustrated by them now being forced to slash their fanciful damages demand by more than half a billion dollars after their own expert debunked its implausible claims. Their summary judgment motion took an extreme, unsupported view of defamation law that would prevent journalists from basic reporting and their efforts to publicly smear FOX for covering and commenting on allegations by a sitting President of the United States should be recognized for what it is: a blatant violation of the First Amendment.”
During an interview with ABC News anchor David Muir, President Biden also took a swipe at Fox News in an effort to blame the conservative network for his tanking poll numbers over inflation and the economy, possibly alluding to the Dominion defamation case.
(Video Credit: ABC News)
The interview was taped on Friday but aired on Sunday’s edition of “This week.” Dominion is suing Fox News for defamation and seeking $1.6 billion in damages. In the exchange, it appears that Biden references the defamation case, accusing Fox News of putting false information out to increase their ratings. That is a dubious accusation at best and possibly outright slander.
“I want to ask about the economy. You talk often about how the inflation – the rate of inflation has begun to slow. Unemployment now at its lowest level in 50 years. But you’ve also seen the polls. Our latest ABC News poll shows four in 10 Americans say they’re worse off than when you were elected. Only 16 percent said they were better off,” Muir informed the president.
“So, why is that? Why aren’t Americans feeling this?” he asked Buden.
“Well, look, I think it goes well beyond the economy. Think about it. You make the – I mean you interview for the news. Can you think of anything you turn on the television and go, God, that makes me feel good? Almost anything? Everything is in the negative,” the president asserted, not taking any responsibility for the state of the nation despite his policies being at the heart of the matter.
77% of Americans say inflation is causing financial hardship.
All thanks to Joe Biden.
— GOP (@GOP) February 26, 2023
“We’re also finding out now that one of the outlets has decided that they even put things on they know to be false in order to increase their ratings. So, I think things are a little out of whack,” Biden remarked, appearing to refer to the Dominion case.
“And I don’t blame people for being down. You know, when you had a year, two years of the pandemic, kids out of school, the mental health problems in the country are seriously increased, especially among young people. Some things are, for example, even feeling down about unemployment. They’ve got better jobs, are making more money. Inflation is still higher than it should be, and, you know, everything from gasoline prices, to a war going on in Ukraine,” he stated with a straight face even though the majority of Americans feel they don’t have better jobs, are making far less money, and are getting hammered by inflation.
According to a Fox News poll from Sunday, 57% of Americans say they have less money in their pockets than they did a year ago.
According to a new poll, 60% of voters have less money in their pocket than they did a year ago.
This is as the Biden Administration continues to tout their great economy.
Those who are living in the White House are not living in reality.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) February 27, 2023
“I mean, so I can’t think of a time when there’s been a greater uncertainty, notwithstanding the fact we’re created 800,000 manufacturing jobs,” Biden commented while either being totally ignorant of how things really are for Americans or making it clear that he’s incompetent.
“We’re better off than virtually any other major nation in the world, economically. But it’s understandable why people are just down,” he contended.
Claiming that the US is better off than any other major nation in the world currently is not saying much. That’s not comforting to the American people either, according to the polls.
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