The lies of Fox News and the Fight for Journalistic Integrity
February 28, 2023
Journalistic integrity and the value of truth in news is under attack in this country. One of its greatest assailants is Fox News and their weapons of choice are Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingram. After being sued by Dominion voting systems in 2021, it has been revealed that the three-headed primetime monster was very aware of their false 2020 election coverage. Here is where Fox News can go from here.
Fox News has been a divisive cornerstone in American media and politics since its inception in 1996. Its inflammatory rhetoric, warped and at times conspiratorial conservative views, and frat boy culture, have made it a target for other major media outlets. During the rise of Donald Trump in 2016, Fox became something of a hype-man for the controversial presidential candidate. When Trump won, Fox became the mouthpiece for Donald Trump’s administration. Everything Trump said, Fox defended it, including the baseless claims that the election was stolen in 2020. Ironically, in recent court filings, Fox’s greatest media personalities, Laura Ingram, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson were very much aware that the “news” they reported on each night was false.
So what gives? Why is this such a big deal? Well, Fox News has been under a lot of pressure from lawsuits about the validity of their reporting. In March 2021, Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox for 1.6 billion dollars in libel and slander. Fox hosts have alleged that Dominion was rigging the election in Joe Biden’s favor by illegally switching ballots. For months on end, every major Fox host from Lou Dobbs to Jesse Waters to Tucker Carlson were on the Dominion voting conspiracy. Keep in mind all this election fraud stuff was being said after Suzanne Scott, the CEO at Fox, warned colleagues not to “give the crazies an inch”. Instead of an inch, Fox News gave the crazies a whole football field. Night after night, Fox brought on election workers who allegedly saw voter fraud, some of whom didn’t even show their faces. Eventually, both the lies spread by Fox and Donald Trump led to the insurrection at the capitol on January 6th.
So it must have been a shock when somebody like Tucker Carlson called Donald Trump, the president who he had defended for years, a “demonic force”. It would seem odd that a Fox News executive as important as Rupert Murdoch would call the election claims “dangerous” and “really crazy”. According to NPR, “Off the air, the network’s stars, producers and executives expressed contempt for those same conspiracies, calling them “mind-blowingly nuts,” “totally off the rails” and “completely bs” – often in far earthier terms.” The talking heads knew what they were doing, but felt no need to stop until both lawsuits and an insurrection shut them up.
Even though Fox News could lose upwards of two billion dollars to Dominion Voting Systems in their lawsuit, it probably won’t matter. This isn’t the first time Fox has been sued under dubious circumstances. In 2017, Fox was sued by the family of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee member who was murdered in Washington DC in 2017. Fox reported that Rich was the man behind the leaked email scandal from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Fox completely fabricated a story where the Clinton family and/or the Democrats had Rich murdered. Rich’s family sued and while they did win in court, Fox never really acknowledged their wrongdoing. A spokesman at the time said, “We are pleased with the resolution of the claims and hope this enables Mr. and Mrs. Rich to find a small degree of peace and solace moving forward”. This repeated habit of flat-out lying or promoting conspiracy theories has become a staple of the Fox brand. How can they change it? Simple. Fox NEWS actually becomes NEWS.
Instead of focusing on real-world issues affecting the American people, Fox would much rather focus on fringe culture war narratives like M&M’s and Dr Suess books. It is fine to report on hot-button issues in America from a conservative angle. For example, the Washington Examiner recently published an article against Donald Trump and how he is unfit for power. Why can’t Fox? Fox News is more focused on making a quick buck than promoting real news. They are entertaining panderers first and journalists second. This has been the culture of Fox for as long as the company has been around. The way to change the narrative at Fox, especially if Dominion gets a win in their lawsuit, is by changing the culture.
To change the culture, Fox News must seriously consider cleaning out the dirty laundry. If Fox wants to avoid legal trouble that they seem to always find themselves in, they need to get rid of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingram, and any other compromised primetime hosts. Is this plausible? Absolutely not. Fox News cares more about money over everything. But to save the fleeting reputation of the brand, Fox needs to change for the better. Then again, what do I know? I’m a jobless 16 year old who writes way too much for his high school’s news site. I don’t get paid 25 million dollars a year like Sean Hannity. That’s right, Sean Hannity gets paid 25 million dollars a year to lie to his viewers. God Bless America.