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Rupert Murdoch Could Be Forced To Testify In Dominion Defamation Suit

“Erin Murphy, the representative for Fox News and its parent company, has argued that the Murdochs were not involved in the broadcasts where Dominion was potentially defamed.”

Ryan Hedrick

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On Wednesday, the judge overseeing Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation case against Fox News expressed interest in the responsibilities of executives like Rupert Murdoch to prevent known deceivers from appearing on their network.

According to CNN,  the judge, Eric Davis of Delaware Superior Court, indicated he might compel Murdoch to testify. Dominion alleges that Murdoch knowingly allowed Fox News hosts to invite guests who would spread falsehoods about the 2020 election. Judge Davis repeatedly questioned a Fox News lawyer about the role of top executives in the editorial process, explicitly asking if Murdoch and others had the authority to prevent TV hosts from inviting guests who had a history of spreading election-related lies and were deemed “problematic.”

Erin Murphy, the representative for Fox News and its parent company, has argued that the Murdochs were not involved in the broadcasts where Dominion was potentially defamed. She maintained that the voting machine company had not provided sufficient evidence to prove that the Murdochs had a direct role in the matter. Therefore they cannot be held responsible.

Murphy emphasized to the judge that merely demonstrating the executives’ ability to intervene is insufficient. Instead, it is necessary to prove that the person who made the final decision acted maliciously.

The voting systems company is seeking a court order to compel Murdoch and his son, Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch, to testify in the trial scheduled for next month. Fox is opposed to this request.

Although Judge Davis has not yet decided on witnesses, he acknowledged that Rupert Murdoch’s unique position at Fox Corporation could make him a required presence. He also stated that he might allow certain out-of-state witnesses to give live video-conferencing testimony, although he prefers live in-person testimony if possible.

After two days of pretrial hearings, the next stage is for Davis to rule on “summary judgment,” where both sides have argued that they should be declared the winner without a trial. Davis may issue his decision at any time, and jury selection is set to begin on April 13.

Dominion has filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News and its parent company, Fox Corporation, seeking $1.6 billion in damages, alleging that they damaged its reputation by promoting the falsehood that it rigged the 2020 election to prevent Donald Trump from winning a second term. The Fox entities have denied any wrongdoing, expressed pride in their 2020 election coverage, and dismissed the $1.6 billion figure as grossly exaggerated.

Fox News has asserted that it is proud of its 2020 coverage and has suggested that Dominion’s lawsuit could undermine the First Amendment. Fox Corporation maintains that Dominion overstated its influence on Fox News’ editorial coverage and has sought to be removed from the case, but Davis rejected this motion.

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News Media Reacts to Chuck Todd Announcing Meet The Press Exit

Todd has been the subject of much criticism from both sides of the political aisle.

Barrett News Media

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To end Sunday’s show, NBC News Meet The Press moderator Chuck Todd announced he would exit the show in September after a nine-year run leading the program.

Todd has been the subject of much criticism from both sides of the political aisle. Many have claimed he is too soft on misinformation spread by Republicans, while conservatives have charged that he has shown a liberal bias during his tenure.

Many in the news media world shared their surprise that he was stepping aside, and lauded the decision to replace him with Kristen Welker, who has most recently served as a White House correspondent for NBC.

Welker herself called Todd a “mentor and friend”, and shared she was “humbled and grateful to take the baton and continue to build on the legacy” of the show that debuted in 1947.

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Chuck Todd Leaving Meet The Press in September

“I’ve loved so much of this job, helping to explain America to Washington and explain Washington to America.” 

Barrett News Media

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Chuck Todd announced he would depart Meet The Press Sunday, ending a nine-year run anchoring the Sunday political affairs program.

To close Sunday’s program, Todd announced that he would leave the show in September, and will be replaced by Kristen Welker.

“It’s been an amazing nearly decadelong run. I am really proud of what this team and I have built over the last decade,” Todd said. “I’ve loved so much of this job, helping to explain America to Washington and explain Washington to America.” 

Todd has been the subject of criticism from both sides of the political aisle during his tenure but added he believes the show still holds an essential place in the media landscape.

“When I took over Meet the Press, it was a Sunday show that had a lot of people questioning whether it still could have a place in the modern media space,” Todd added. “Well, I think we’ve answered that question and then some.”

Welker will step into the role held by Todd since 2014. She becomes just the second woman to anchor the program after Martha Rountree was the show’s inaugural host more than 75 years ago.

Meet the Press has sustained its historic role as the indispensable news program on Sunday mornings,” NBC News’ President of Editorial Rebecca Blumenstein and NBC News’ Senior Vice President of Politics Carrie Budoff Brown wrote in a memo to NBC News staffers.

“Through his penetrating interviews with many of the most important newsmakers, the show has played an essential role in politics and policy, routinely made front-page news, and framed the thinking in Washington and beyond.”

The announcement that Todd will step aside from hosting the program comes after scuttlebutt had mostly ceased about his future as the show’s moderator. Late last summer, The Daily Beast’s Confider reported Welker was in line to replace Todd should the ratings continue to decline.

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Fox News Average Viewers Dropped 32% in May

“ Newsmax saw an increase in viewership, gaining 70% to reach 298,000 prime-time viewers.”

Maddy Troy

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Fox News Channel experienced a significant decline in prime-time viewership in May, following Tucker Carlson’s departure. The channel’s average viewers dropped by 32% to 1.42 million, compared to April’s results of 2.07 million, according to Nielsen ratings.

Despite the decrease, Fox News Channel maintained its position as the cable news network with the highest ratings. MSNBC’s ratings came closer to Fox’s, trailing by just 260,000 viewers, with an average of 1.16 million total viewers. MSNBC lost 12% of its prime-time viewership compared to the previous month.

According to Media Post, CNN also experienced a decline in viewership, losing 16% in May compared to April, with an average of 416,000 viewers. It is worth noting that these results included a highly-rated Town Hall event featuring former President Trump.

On the other hand, Newsmax, a conservative news network, saw an increase in viewership, gaining 70% to reach 298,000 prime-time viewers.

Analysts suggest that Newsmax benefited from Tucker Carlson’s departure from Fox News at the end of April. Carlson had the highest viewership among all cable TV news programs in April, averaging 3.1 million viewers. Following Newsmax was Nexstar Media’s “NewsNation” with 94,000 prime-time viewers, which had an average of 101,000 viewers in April.

In terms of total day viewership, Fox News Channel remained the leader. However, all three major networks experienced a decline compared to the previous year, with Fox at 1.09 million, MSNBC at 736,000, and CNN at 416,000 viewers.

“The Five,” Fox’s roundtable program, was the highest-rated prime-time cable news show in May, attracting 2.63 million viewers.

In the overall rankings among all cable TV networks for the month, Fox News Channel secured the third position, trailing behind TNT and ESPN. TNT and ESPN claimed the top two spots in prime-time for cable TV networks, with 3.1 million and 2.5 million average viewers, respectively. This success was largely due to their coverage of high-profile NBA Playoff games.

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