Following former President Trump’s unproven claim that he won the 2020 election, doubts about the integrity of US elections have surged. Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch stated that Trump’s claim is “terrible stuff damaging everybody”, but his words contradict Fox News’ messaging.
Fox News circulated conspiracy theories about the security of the US election. Several prominent Fox hosts reinforced claims of election fraud despite documented emails saying the contrary. Fox host Tucker Carlson emailed host Laura Ingraham, saying that host Sidney Powell ”is lying. It’s insane”.
Fox News staff were concerned that acknowledging the validity of the election results would alienate their Republican audience, resulting in a loss of viewers and revenue. Senior officials at Fox News chose not to disclose what they knew was the truth for this reason. Fox host Sean Hannity feared that exposing Powell’s narrative could jeopardize their jobs and earnings, potentially destroying the company and public perception of Fox News.
A $1.6 billion lawsuit has been filed by Dominion against Fox News, claiming that the news network defamed the company by intentionally spreading baseless conspiracy theories claiming that Dominion played a role in rigging the 2020 election results. Fox News staff singled out Dominion in their election coverage. In November 2020, Sidney Powell alleged that Dominion voting machines are “where the fraud took place, where [election hackers] were flipping votes in the computer system or adding votes that did not exist.