Who Got Outfoxed?

Like many recent weeks picking the biggest political story of the week just passed is no easy task. Today I’m choosing the settlement in the Fox News case. The title asks the question: Who got outfoxed, (no apology for the bad pun), and I’ll give you my answer in the last paragraph.

A not that surprising eleventh hour $787.5 million settlement was reached. Fox News spent a ton of money just to make sure that Rupert Murdoch and several top Fox News personalities never had to take the stand as well as prevent other evidence from becoming public. Remember it was basically a bombshell a day in the run-up to the trial date. As soon as the jury was chosen and the Fox lawyers saw that they had been unable to stack it and they folded. The original $1.6 billion that had been asked was always window dressing. The plaintiff, Dominion, had revenue of approximately $120 million from 2017 – 2019. $787.5 million doesn’t sound all that bad now and I can see why their attorneys settled. Their first obligation was to their client (Dominion) not democracy. This is another issue where capitalism (which I’m basically in favor of) is less than perfect.

Financially Fox will suffer greatly before this is over. Keep in mind that Smartmatic has a lawsuit in process that will probably also settle somewhere in the same range. That brings Fox’s total cost of doing business (and that’s how they view it) to around the $1.6 billion mark. The word is -and its nearly impossible to get good data – that they have about $ 4 billion in accessible funds. (The portion insurance will cover is even more difficult to ascertain!) This will hurt the bottom line but it will not put Fox out of business. (The real financial drama may stem from shareholder lawsuits.) How bad is what you are hiding when you are willing to pay this much to keep it under wraps?

Fox has put themselves into a unique position in that their viewers (and it all comes down to ratings, which in this case translates to greed) are pretty much in a news silo. Fox did extremely little coverage of the case and therefore most of their viewers are either unaware or only marginally aware of it. Fox’s own statement basically just acknowledged that the case happened and the judge made some rulings. It’s early but I haven’t seen the stock price plummet nor have I seen a mass exodus of viewers. Fox knowingly and repeatedly lied but that has proven to be a good business model for them considering the low information and IQ audience they are after.

The political consultant Rick Wilson originated the statement, “Everything Trump touches dies.” While I don’t think this will be fatal for Fox it is a serious affliction. Isn’t it interesting, to date, that tons of people and organizations that Trump has exploited have suffered but so far (and I don’t think that is a forever situation) Trump has skated?

Assuming Fox ever had any credibility it is now gone; alas I don’t think credibility was ever part of their business model. They operate on the mushroom theory and exploit an incredibly loyal consumer base. As a result of this legal action, we know beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt that Fox lied, knowingly lied, the 2020 election wasn’t fixed and that Joe Biden won it. Fox may spin it another way if it has to but you don’t pay out $787.5 million dollars to get rid of a nuisance lawsuit

Let’s look at who their defenders and “witnesses” are. A bunch of lawyers facing (in many cases multiple) disbarment and disciplinary proceedings. The only twice impeached president in American history. A guy who is attempting to welch on a $5 million bet.

As to who got outfoxed? For the lowest common denominator (the MAGA and Fox News base) it was the viewers/voters. For the rest of us (including my readers) it is still an open question.

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One thought on “Who Got Outfoxed?”

  1. I am disappointed (but not surprised, I guess) that Dominion agreed to settle. And without even a public on-air apology! Perhaps Smartmatic will have more guts.

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