Fox News Defamation Trial Approaches: Network Stands Firm on Freedom of Speech
Fox News is facing a defamation trial next month as a result of a lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems, and though the network has been publicly humiliated by numerous revelations, their defense team is standing their ground. Fox's attorney, Erin Murphy, told NPR that their position is to err on the side of speech and not suppress it, even if it is not necessarily true.
This view is supported by Rupert Murdoch, who accepted that four of Fox’s stars had endorsed unfounded claims of election fraud. Murdoch referred to them as commentators, meaning their speech is protected to a higher degree according to case law.
However, Rutgers University professor Jane Kirtley disagrees with Fox's stance, arguing that to simply call Fox a “bunch of liars” is a slippery slope. She believes that their wild speculations should not be reported or protected.
Fox is also being sued by Smartmatic for $2.7 billion dollars in a separate defamation case, and Dobbs, one of Fox’s stars, left his post at the network a day after the lawsuit was filed. It remains to be seen how Fox will handle this case and the trial next month, but for now, they are standing firm in their belief that freedom of speech should be protected at all costs.
0. “Fox News stands in legal peril. It says defamation loss would harm all media” KALW, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.kalw.org/npr-news/2023-03-06/fox-news-stands-in-legal-peril-it-says-defamation-loss-would-harm-all-media
1. “Fox News stands in legal peril. It says defamation loss would harm all media” NPR, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/03/06/1161221798/if-fox-news-loses-defamation-dominion-media