Internal Documents Show Fox News CEO Called Fact Checking Trump’s Election Conspiracy ‘Bad for Business’
“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.”
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.”
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.
Ryan Hedrick serves as the Assistant Program Director and Co-Host of the Morning News Express at WFMD. Prior to WFMD, he hosted an afternoon program at News Talk 103.7 FM in Chambersburg, PA. He has worked at Sirius XM in Washington D.C., WBEN in Buffalo, NY, and for stations in Baltimore, MD. He has also worked at WIBW-AM in Topeka KS, earning the Kansas Association of Broadcasters (KAB) award for Major Market enterprise reporting in 2016. To connect with Ryan, find him on Twitter @SureToCover.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Fox News Average Viewers Dropped 32% in May
“ Newsmax saw an increase in viewership, gaining 70% to reach 298,000 prime-time viewers.”
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.
Maddy Troy serves as a writer and editor for Barrett News Media, with a specific focus on media business, advertising, and podcasting. You can find her on Twitter @Troy_Maddy.