Rupert Murdoch, the longtime conservative media figurehead, was set for another deposition this week that this time was coming amid a Smartmatic lawsuit against Fox over conspiracy theories peddled about the 2020 presidential election. Smartmatic is an election technology company that was named in debunked conspiracy theories alleging the perpetration of widespread fraud amid the 2020 race.
Smartmatic was often grouped with Dominion Voting Systems in these false claims of misconduct, disproved allegations that gave rise to another lawsuit against Fox from Dominion that resulted in a massive financial settlement passing three-quarters of a billion dollars. Smartmatic’s lawsuit specifically targets Fox’s parent company (meaning the so-called Fox Corp), Fox News, Rudy Giuliani, and others. Murdoch, who recently shifted titles, becoming so-called chairman emeritus at the Fox parent company, was also questioned in the Dominion lawsuit before that eventual, massive settlement.
The Dominion case, in general terms, charted evident awareness from some inside Fox of problems inherent in what the election liars were peddling, but the coverage went forward anyway, with allies to now former President Donald Trump appearing on the air to make extreme and false claims. “Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It’s insane,” then-host Tucker Carlson allegedly stated in private communications in late 2020, referring to another attorney who’s long been allied with Trump and his escapades.
As for Murdoch himself, he stated in a deposition for Dominion he believed the 2020 election was conducted fairly — contradicting, of course, the tone of so much Fox coverage from the following months and rebuffing the ex-president’s own continuing false claims. “Murdoch is not a named defendant in the case,” Reuters explained in new coverage. “But by establishing that he was involved in making decisions about Fox’s coverage, Smartmatic would have a better chance of proving that Fox Corp is liable.” That was the looming threat if trial in Dominion’s challenge had moved ahead — that the company would connect knowledge of the election’s legitimacy on decision-makers’ parts to allegedly deceptive coverage.