Text messages released by a court hearing Thursday show some of Fox News Network’s top hosts slamming former President Donald Trump’s advisers and their claims of election fraud as “insane.”
The correspondence and testimony were made available as part of an ongoing $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News.
“Sydney Powell is lying. I caught him. It’s crazy,” Tucker Carlson said in a text message to Laura Ingraham, just two weeks after the election.
Powell, along with Rudy Giuliani, were two of Trump’s top lawyers who filed election challenges on behalf of the former president and are part of the lawsuit.
“Sydney is a complete nut,” Ingraham replied. “No one will work with him. Same with Rudy.
Carlson commented that their claims put the hosts in a difficult spot because their best intentions led them to believe that some of the accusations were made by Trump’s team.
“Our viewers are good people and they believe it,” he wrote.
Tucker Carlson, to Laura Ingraham: “Sydney Powell is lying. I caught him. It’s crazy.”
Ingraham: “Sydney is a complete nut. No one will work with him. Same with Rudy.
It’s not exactly what they were saying on the air. https://t.co/19VeYLDqhu
— Jeremy W. Peters (@jwpetersNYT) February 16, 2023
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RELATED: Tucker Carlson Blasts Fox News For Staying Away From Trump Press Conference On Alleged Voter Fraud
Fox News hosts, executives dismiss claims of election fraud
Further text messages show that the hosts felt they were in a quandary – they personally believed the claims to be false but wanted their viewers to decide as opposed to openly rebuking the allegations.
Carlson cited a tweet by reporter Jackie Heinrich that verified a Trump tweet criticizing the network’s coverage. Heinrich argued that there was no evidence of voter fraud from Dominion.
“Please fire him,” Carlson told Sean Hannity in a message. “This needs to be stopped immediately, like tonight. This is hurting the company measurably. Share prices fell. No joke.”
“I didn’t believe it for a second.” It’s Sean Hannity, talking about the Big Lie in his deposition in Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News. https://t.co/wK220Uuhla
— Jeremy W. Peters (@jwpetersNYT) December 21, 2022
Hannity’s previous testimony declared him that he “didn’t believe it for a second” about Powell’s statement that the Dominion machines were used to “trash large batches of votes.”
Proving defamation will be a difficult burden for Dominion, as The New York Times reports that they must prove “hosts and executives knew what was being said on the air was false and authorized it anyway.”
It’s an incredibly slippery slope considering opinion hosts on other networks like CNN and MSNBC surely know that many of their guests are lying on certain topics.
If Trump were to sue CNN over the Hunter Biden laptop story, would the network hosts’ phones and devices be seized in discovery? Will they blame someone like James Clapper for suggesting this is ‘Russian meddling’?
Fox News’ most prominent hosts and top executives were personally fired by Donald Trump’s post-election actions, with Tucker Carlson referring to Trump as a “monstrous force,” according to new legal filings in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit. https://t.co/F5D4cTZUR5
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) February 17, 2023
RELATED: Trump campaign slams Fox News director who called Arizona for Biden: ‘A Clinton-voting, Biden-donating Democrat’
Carlson criticized Fox News
Carlson took a swipe at his own network in November 2020 when colleague Neil Cavuto cut out of a press conference hosted by Kyle McEnany and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel about alleged voter fraud.
McEnany claimed that the Trump campaign “wants every legal vote counted, and we want every illegal vote counted…” before Cavuto interrupted.
“Whoah, whoah, whoah – I think we have to be very clear,” he said. “He is accusing the other party of welcoming fraud and illegal voting.”
“Unless he has more details to back it up, I can’t continue to show you this with good looks.”
Neil Cavuto distanced himself from White House Press Secretary Kyle McEnany because he found her words too dangerous to listen to.
Instead of making our decisions, he explains his meaning for us, even using words he never said.
Fox News: We Report and We Decide (Shut Up and Comply). pic.twitter.com/fDPfoNhVvM
— Jerryland (@Jerryland) November 10, 2020
Take Carlson A fine job Cavuto and his own network for deciding to break away from McKenney.
“In a democracy, you can’t ignore honest questions from citizens,” Carlson said.
“You can’t dismiss them out of hand as crazy or immoral for asking,” he continued. “You can’t get away with coverage you don’t like.”
Tucker: “You can’t get away from coverage you don’t like” pic.twitter.com/7wsDLc0evK
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 10, 2020
Carlson also criticized Fox News for what some Trump supporters considered a premature call in Arizona for Joe Biden on 2020 election night.
“I’m not privy to the math, I’m not sure how the decision was made, despite Chris Stirewalt’s explanation,” Carlson criticized. “I think our audience trusts us, but people are concerned.”
And now you have Tucker Carlson openly pushing Arizona to call for Biden on Fox News.
“I’m not privy to the math, I’m not sure how that decision was made, even after Chris Stirewalt’s explanation… I think our audience trusts us, but people are concerned.” pic.twitter.com/7oizkc0ZFV
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) November 4, 2020
If this case is successful, and the new standard for journalists or opinion show hosts is that you can’t broadcast something you personally believe to be false, there will be nothing to report.