Fox v Dominion Settlement
Dominion had planned to make Rupert Murdoch its second witness
Lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems had planned to put media mogul Rupert Murdoch on the stand to testify this week before it reached a $787.5m settlement with Fox for its broadcasting of false claims about the company’s voting equipment after the 2020 election, according to a person familiar with the matter, reports The Guardian’s Sam Levine.
Dominion was going to call the 92-year-old Murdoch as its second witness, forcing him to appear in person for cross-examination before the end of the week. He would have followed Tony Fratto, a crisis communications consultant who represented Dominion after the 2020 election and contacted Fox many times to inform them they were making false claims.
The settlement reportedly does not include a provision that Fox apologize on air or retract any of its statements. The network acknowledged in a statement that the court had found it broadcast false claims.
Murdoch’s live testimony was one of the most hotly anticipated moments of what was scheduled to be a blockbuster six-week trial. Murdoch, his son Lachlan, as well as the Fox stars Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo, Sean Hannity, and Jeanine Pirro were all expected to appear on the witness stand, where they would be forced to answer uncomfortable questions under oath about their role in spreading false information.
Fox News’s settlement in the Dominion case is big news, except on Fox News.
Fox News’s last-minute settlement with Dominion Voting Systems on Tuesday earned banner coverage on every television news network but one: Fox News, reports The New York Times’ Stuart A. Thompson.
The $787.5 million settlement was covered only three times by Fox News in about four hours after the settlement became public, amounting to about six minutes of coverage. For most of the day, including during the network’s prime-time shows, hosts appeared to be focusing on other issues, like illegal immigration and Covid-19’s possible origins.
The settlement remained the top story on CNN, MSNBC and CBS News well into the evening. Anderson Cooper, host of the prime-time show Anderson Cooper 360, led his program with the case and also interviewed Davida Brook, lead counsel for Dominion.
Neil Cavuto, host of the afternoon news program Your World with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, covered the settlement as news of it broke and again after the dollar figure was announced. Howard Kurtz, Fox News’s media analyst, told Cavuto that the election fraud claims about Dominion were “obviously false” and “conspiracy theories.” In another segment, Kurtz said that “both sides had an incentive to avoid a costly six-week trial.”
Aussie fund gets a piece of Dominion Voting spoils
Dominion Voting Systems versus the Murdochs’ Fox News has been thrilling viewing – even if we never got to the main act, reports Nine Publishing’s Anthony Macdonald.
While the Murdochs and Fox News garner most of the post-settlement attention, there’s a big cheque ($US787.5 million less fees and taxes) headed to Dominion Voting Services.
And purely by luck, some of that settlement should flow down to an ASX-listed tiddler called CD Private Equity Fund II.
CD Private Equity Fund II, with a $56 million market cap, is a listed investment fund that puts money into small- and mid-cap US private equity funds and privately held companies.
It committed $US8 million to then relatively unknown private equity manager, New York-based Staple Street Capital, to invest in one of its funds in December 2014.
Fox has settled one voting machine company’s defamation case. Another looms.
Fox Corp’s decision to pay $787.5 million to settle a defamation dispute with Dominion Voting Systems gave voting-machine company Smartmatic USA Corp. a potential blueprint for its own case against the conservative media empire, legal experts say, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Erin Mulvaney.
Just like Dominion, Smartmatic is accusing Fox’s news networks of airing defamatory comments about its products in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, including that the voting-machine company helped rig the outcome in favor of Joe Biden. The $2.7 billion lawsuit is pending in New York state court.
Evidence gathered in the Dominion lawsuit overlaps in this case, including thousands of pages of internal communications at Fox. Dominion produced documents that showed Fox executives and hosts raising questions about election-fraud allegations and expressing fear of alienating viewership.
“The Smartmatic case is very similar in scope, style and argument, and some of the context that was at issue in Dominion overlaps with the content in that case,” said Roy Gutterman, a journalism professor at Syracuse University, who teaches communications law. “Smartmatic now has a model, a template, and a formula to follow to resolve their defamation dispute.”
A New York judge has allowed Smartmatic’s case to move forward, but there is no trial set. Both sides are gathering evidence to build their cases as the litigation continues. Fox has denied the allegations in the lawsuit.
Business of Media
ABC Ombudsman dismisses Nine newspaper complaint about Media Watch Red Alert segment
ABC ombudsman, Fiona Cameron, has dismissed a complaint from the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age that a Media Watch segment on its China “Red Alert” series was “highly biased and failed to give a right of reply”, reports The Guardian’s Amanda Meade.
Last month, the Nine-owned mastheads published a three-part series with the headline: “Australia faces the threat of war with China within three years – and we’re not ready”.
This sparked criticism from former prime minister Paul Keating, Media Watch and foreign affairs specialists, who described the series variously as “pretentious”, “hyperbolic”, “irresponsible” and implicitly racist in its depictions of China.
Keating said the series was “the most egregious and provocative news presentation of any newspaper I have witnessed in over 50 years of active public life”, and Media Watch host, Paul Barry, criticised the “comic-book sketch of jets flying out of red China to bomb Australia”, saying the series presented “no contrary view and no shading of the possibilities”.
The SMH editor, Bevan Shields, was furious and said he would demand an on-air apology for what he called Media Watch’s “hypocrisy and poor standards” because Barry didn’t give him a right of reply.
In the paper, Shields accused Media Watch of failing to adhere to the “most basic standards of journalism”.
TikTok ads about government programs given the OK despite ban
New advice from the Department of Finance allows for the trialling of government advertising campaigns on TikTok despite the Chinese-owned platform being banned on government-issued devices, report Nine Publishing’s Max Mason and Sam Buckingham-Jones.
But trial campaigns proposed by the government’s media buying agency – Universal McCann (UM) – for Defence Force Recruiting, the Australian Tax Office and the Australian Electoral Commission have not gone ahead.
The Department of Finance is responsible for approving spending on government advertising campaigns.
Documents released under Freedom of Information laws reveal UM provided a brand safety assessment of TikTok in March 2021 and deemed the platform inappropriate for government advertisements, citing concerns about a lack of content controls.
Western government concerns about TikTok and political interference from China were not part of the brand appraisal.
‘I’m ready to reclaim my audience’: Libbi Gorr returns to radio
In the summer of 2009, Libbi Gorr overheard her bosses at 774 ABC talking about her. The comedian and broadcaster was lined up to fill in for drive host Lindy Burns, who had taken long service leave – until the devastating Black Saturday bushfires threw the station’s schedule into disarray, reports Nine Publishing’s Michael Lallo.
“They needed to send someone to Whittlesea,” Gorr says, “but their instinct was to send someone other than me; they were talking about shifting me to mid-dawn or putting me on overnights instead. So, I trotted over and asked, ‘Why don’t you send me?’ and they said, ‘Sorry, this isn’t a time for jokes’.”
Gorr assured them she had no intention of cracking gags. Indeed, management were so impressed by her broadcasts, they asked her to continue reporting from the fire-ravaged town.
“It taught me the importance of advocating for people as opposed to indulging in disaster porn,” says Gorr, who went on to spend almost a decade as weekend host at the station (now known as ABC Radio Melbourne). “I became committed to telling people’s stories in a way that was clear and useful but never opportunistic.”
Her manager at the time was Steve Kyte, a British media executive who has worked with leading broadcasters including CNN, BBC 5 Live and London’s LBC, where he helped double the station’s audience reach within one year. Last year, Kyte asked Gorr to meet him at Melbourne’s famous Tan walking track.
“I’ve been asked to help create a new radio channel in Australia,” he told her. “Would you be interested?”
‘Our behind-the-scenes lives became fodder for television’: Lisa Millar
The green latex gloves are still in the car. Something is stopping me from throwing them out. Whenever I toss in a pair of sunglasses or grab a mint from the glovebox, I see them and baulk. Every single time, writes Lisa Millar for Nine Publishing.
Everyone has a “moment” – when the pandemic moved from being a global health crisis of unknown ramifications to something utterly surreal.
The phone call had come from one of my bosses in Sydney. The request was polite but firm. He wanted me to stop getting a taxi to work at 3.30am and drive myself, to avoid being exposed to the virus during the short trip. He also asked that I wear disposable gloves as I made my way from the bowels of the ABC car park in Melbourne’s Southbank to the first-floor make-up room and through the green room where our interview guests had once waited.
I followed instructions. For a day or two at least. It felt slightly foolish, but who were we to judge? The gloves stay in the car because I want that jolt each time I see them. The further we are from those early days – and then later, the long lockdowns – the more we ask ourselves, did that really happen?
FBoy Island Australia: Molly O’Halloran, Sophie Blackley, Ziara Rae to chose partners
An occupational therapist, a professional DJ and a model will vie for love in Australia’s newest and possibly most controversial ever new reality TV dating show, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.
FBoy Island Australia will premiere on BINGE on May 29 and will follow three women’s search for love among a pool of male hopefuls.
There is however a major catch to the format, which has already been a huge success in the US.
The women must choose a partner from the 24 suitors, half of whom are Fboys, or players, and the other half being genuinely in it for love.
Occupational therapist Molly O’Halloran will stand alongside DJ Sophie Blackley and model Ziara Rae.