According to media reports, Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems have reached an agreement following a lengthy legal battle between both the parties. The US$787.5 million settlement between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems is the largest publicly known defamation settlement in the US history involving a media company. The deal was announced hours after the jury was sworn in at the Delaware Superior Court. Rumors of a settlement swirled in the courthouse when, after a lunch break, the proceedings dramatically ground to a halt for nearly three hours with no explanation, while the parties apparently hammered out an accord.
Meanwhile, critics ask – how could Fox News casually settle with Dominion Voting Systems for US$ 787.5 million and then days later lose US$1 billion on the same day it fired its celebrity anchor Tucker Carlson. It may be mentioned here that the settlement was a huge windfall for New York-based Staple Street Capital Group LLC, the small buyout firm that owns Dominion Voting Systems.
In 2018, Staple Street paid US$38.3 million to acquire a 76.2 percent stake in Dominion. The US$787 million is equivalent to 20 times the buyout amount. Staple Street has US$900 million in assets under management, according to its website.
The settlement, which also comes with an acknowledgement of a court ruling from Fox News that it aired false claims about Dominion Voting Systems regarding its role in the 2020 election, is about half the US$1.6 billion in damages Dominion was seeking in its lawsuit.
The Dominion settlement was announced on April 18, 2023. Six days later, Fox announced it was “parting ways” with Tucker Carlson.
Minutes after the news of Carlson’s departure was announced, Fox Corporation’s stock lost US$1 billion in market capitalization.
Fox reportedly had about US$4 billion of cash on hand as of December 2022.
According to the Associated Press, MoffettNathanson analyst Robert Fishman expects the company to pay the settlement during the current quarter.
Fox will be able to defray some of the expense from the settlement, primarily through insurance and the use of tax deductions.
Fox News can deduct the Dominion Voting Systems settlement from its income taxes as an expense necessary for the cost of doing business. Fox Chief Communications Officer Brian Nick has confirmed the deductibility of the settlement.
Meanwhile, BlackRock in January 2023 had significantly increased its stake in both Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems.
On January 31, BlackRock Inc. filed an SC 13G/A form with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosing ownership of 59,148,081 shares of Dominion Resources, Inc. This represents 7.1 percent ownership of the company. In their previous filing dated Feb. 1, 2022, BlackRock Inc. had reported owning 55,640,019 shares.
Also, on January 31, Fintel reported that BlackRock has filed a 13G form with the SEC disclosing ownership of 5.31MM shares of Fox Factory Holding Corp (FOXF). This represents 12.6 percent of the company.
In their previous filing dated January 27, 2022, BlackRock reported 5.16MM shares and 12.30 percent of the company, an increase in shares of 2.87 percent and an increase in total ownership of 0.30 percent (calculated as current – previous percent ownership).
Speculation on social media has it that Rupert Murdoch’s heirs and Paul Ryan plan to sell Fox News.
One Washington insider suggested on background that the firing by Fox News of Tucker Carlson and its settlement with Dominion Voting Systems was clearly a Deep State action and that money was not an issue.
Tucker Carlson fired from Fox News
Immediately on hearing the news about Fox News firing its celebrity anchor Tucker Carlson, the Left media, including Yahoo News and fans began celebrating it.
As leftists applauded and took credit for the highest profile “deplatforming” ever, and amid all of the rumors and speculation following Tucker Carlson’s departure from Fox News, the Babylon Bee once again nailed it.
“Fox News Fires The Only Reason People Watch Fox News”, the satire Babylon Bee posted on April 24, 2023 as news broke of Fox’s firing the host of the top rated show in cable news.
Donald Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said that the higher ups at Fox wanted Carlson, a leading prime time populist voice, off the airwaves for the 2024 election.
“They pay him out under the terms (of his contract) because they don’t want to set up their competitors”, Bannon said. “They pay him out the $20 million. He doesn’t have the option of going somewhere else. This is to take the voice of Populism and the voice of MAGA off of prime time. As I said … if DeSantis is not the guy to do it, they’ll find Glenn Youngkin or Tim Scott or Brian Kemp. They’ll find anybody to chop-block Trump in the primary. If that doesn’t work, they’ll get in back of Joe Biden. Right? And it’s all about stopping Trump and stopping MAGA”.
Bannon added: “If you look at the punch list of what he (Carlson) covers, it’s amazing. They want that off primetime. They don’t want to give any support to Trump”.
The Washington Post reported that Carlson’s comments about management, revealed in the defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems “played a role in his departure”.
The Los Angeles Times reported that “Carlson’s exit is related to the discrimination lawsuit filed by Abby Grossberg”, a producer fired in March 2023, and that the decision to fire Carlson came from Fox Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch.
“This lady had one purpose and one purpose only when she applied for a job at Fox News”, a post to Telegram noted.
New York Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shined up her socialists credentials by proclaiming: “Deplatforming works and is important”.
A populist Republicans, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, responded:
“It’s pretty funny that AOC celebrates Tucker being de-platformed while also bowing down to her party that won’t host a single presidential primary debate to allow anyone or any minority a chance against the old white man she supports. I laugh at her hypocrisy”.Gabriel Sherman, a special correspondent at Vanity Fair, reported: “On Monday morning, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott called Carlson and informed him he was being taken off the air, and his Fox News email account was shut off. According to a source briefed on the conversation, Carlson was stunned by his sudden ouster from his 8 p.m. show, the most watched program in cable news last month. Carlson was in the midst of negotiating the renewal of his Fox News contract through 2029, the source said. As of last week, Carlson had told people he expected the contract to be renewed”.