Ahead of what could be a high-profile trial on allegations of defamation that pit the election technology company Dominion Voting Systems against the conservative media giant Fox, both sides have revealed their desired lists of prospective witnesses. The group includes high-profile names at the network like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Maria Bartiromo, who apparently appeared on the lists submitted from both Dominion and Fox.
Dominion, whose technology was falsely accused of use, including on air at Fox, in an imaginary scheme to rig the 2020 presidential election for Biden and against Trump, is also seeking testimony at trial from Rupert Murdoch, who helms Fox Corporation, a parent company behind Fox. Also among Dominion’s proposed witnesses are Lachlan Murdoch and Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the U.S. House who is now on a board of directors at Fox Corporation. Privately after the 2020 presidential election, Ryan expressed opposition to the spread of lies about what had happened in the race and pushed for the content to be excluded from Fox’s programming, facts highlighted by Dominion following the acquisition in the process of what’s known as discovery of vast troves of internal communications at Fox.
Ryan has already been put under oath for a deposition, as has Rupert Murdoch, whose potential presence at the upcoming trial Fox questioned. “That doesn’t sound like someone who can’t go from New York to Wilmington,” Delaware Judge Eric Davis said of the longtime figurehead in conservative media, discussing Murdoch’s own talk of his travel around the U.S. The list of who could later appear at trial goes on, also including Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and Laura Ingraham, another popular host on the right-wing network, along with others who appear or have appeared on air.
Fox complained about Dominion’s picks for witnesses in a statement evidently distributed to various media outlets. “Dominion’s needlessly expansive live witness list is yet another attempt to generate headlines and distract from the many shortcomings of its case,” a Fox spokesperson said. “Ultimately, this case is about the First Amendment protections of the media’s absolute right to cover the news.” Yet, that’s not what they did, is it? Entertaining the totally debunked possibility of some kind of widespread election fraud involving Dominion, not to mention more actively pushing it like in examples from Lou Dobbs, isn’t just reporting the news. The network could’ve easily reported on Trump’s false allegations about the 2020 election and clarified they weren’t true.
Instead, assuming there’s no conclusive ruling from the judge or a sudden settlement, Dominion could be on its way to proving at trial there was either actual malice or a reckless disregard for the truth at Fox News.