Tucker Carlson’s texts to colleagues reveal that the conservative primetime host knew the on-air 2020 “election fraud” lies were, in fact, lies, Dominion Voting Systems argues in a public filing published on Thursday in US Dominion Inc. v. Fox News. The $1.6 billion defamation case against the network has made a slew of damning texts public, and even if you already knew Fox News was chock full of liars and bad actors—the texts really are something to behold.
Carlson was the main Fox News personality whose internal communications were hung out to dry in the filing, as he hosts the most-watched show on cable news and wields a disturbing amount of influence over American minds. Did Carlson have opinions about former President Donald Trump after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6? You bet! Trump is “a demonic force, a destroyer. but he’s not going to destroy us,” Carlson texted his producer.
Mid-November was a rough time to be in Carlson’s crosshairs; he was dishing out complaints left and right. On Nov. 12, 2020, Carlson wanted a Fox reporter fired because they fact-checked a tweet Trump tweet mentioning Dominion. “Please get her fired. Seriously....What the fuck? I’m actually shocked...It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke,” he texted Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. (The reporter would later delete the tweet.)
Sidney Powell, one of Trump’s attorneys at the time, was also on Carlson’s radar. “Sidney Powell is lying. Fucking bitch,” Carlson texted his producer Alex Pfeiffer on Nov. 16, 2020.
By Nov. 18, 2020, Carlson texted Ingraham that, too. “Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It’s insane.” Ingraham responded: “Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy [Giuliani].”
But don’t worry, Carlson is simply worried about the real people hurting: Fox News fans. “It’s unbelievably offensive to me. Our viewers are good people and they believe it,” he wrote.
In the court filing, Dominion alleges that Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham’s communications are just one piece of the evidence demonstrating that the network committed actual malice against the company. “Fox knew. From the top down, Fox new ‘the dominion stuff’ was ‘total bs.’ Yet despite knowing the truth—or at minimum recklessly disregarding that truth—Fox spread and endorsed these ‘outlandish voter fraud claims’ about Dominion even as it internally recognized the lies as ‘crazy,’ ‘absurd,’ and shockingly reckless,” Dominion’s lawyers wrote in the filing, citing sealed exhibits. This filing asked for a summary judgment, seeking a ruling from the judge without proceeding with a trial.
In a statement to Reuters, a Fox News spokesperson defended the network. “There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters. “But the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan.”
Fox News’ own motion for summary judgement was also unsealed on Thursday, saying the electronic voting company is suing for a “staggering” amount of damages to bolster the company name. “Dominion brought this lawsuit to punish [Fox News Network] for reporting on one of the biggest stories of the day—allegations by the sitting President of the United States and his surrogates that the 2020 election was affected by fraud,” the filing said. “The very fact of those allegations was newsworthy.”
The trial is scheduled to start on April 17. We’ll be waiting with popcorn to see what else is unearthed.