Murdoch In The Dock

My old friend artistic license and I converge in the post title. In the dock usually refers to a defendant in a criminal, not civil trial. I can dream, can’t I?

The Fox-Dominion defamation trial was scheduled to  today but was bumped to tomorrow.. Rupert Murdoch is second on Dominion’s witness list. He was surprisingly candid in his deposition. That’s one advantage of a civil case: defendants can be obliged to testify.

Rupe shunned the Fifth Amendment in his deposition because he expects to be protected by the First Amendment. In 1964, the New York Times v. Sullivan case moved American defamation and libel law away from their British origins. Sullivan requires proof of actual malice, which is a high bar but it’s doable in this case. Why? Thanks to federal discovery rules, the clear contrast between the public and private views of Murdoch and his Fox flunkies. The texts drip with actual malice towards the truth and our electoral system.

Dominion has already cleared the first hurdle presented by Sullivan; in essence, the judge has ruled that truth is on their side. I think that they pass the Superman test as well:

I’m usually a Batman guy but Superman has a catchier tagline. Batman, however, has a better sidekick. Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen is a putz compared to the Boy Wonder. The Batman I have in mind is Adam West with George Reeves as Superman. Neither looked as good in their super suits as the actors who played them later. That concludes this dated super hero passage.

Back to the Fox-Dominion case. The best thing I’ve read about the case comes from Jim Rutenberg in the NYT Magazine. I dig the headline too: How Fox Chased Its Audience Down The Rabbit Hole. Fox was so eager to pander to its feral Trumper viewers that its on air talent knowingly lied and presented liars on their shows. Sounds like actual malice to me.

There’s another reason for the post title. Rupert Murdoch deserves to be in the dock for what he’s done to the political systems of three countries: Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They’re listed in that order because Murdoch started his assault on democracy and decency Down Under.

There have always been partisan media outlets.

There have always been media outlets that have willfully spread lies.

Few media outlets have combined partisanship with mendacity with the scope and reach of Fox thanks to Rupert Murdoch and the Paunchy Pervert DBA Roger Ailes. If anything, Fox has become worse since Ailes’ departure. He at least tried to paint a patina of journalistic integrity over the bombastic evening opinion hosts. They’ve gotten much worse since Bill O’Reilly was replaced by Tucker Carlson. I can’t believe I just said something nice about Bill-O but he was a piker compared to the Mothertucker.

What Ailes brough to Fox was plausible deniability by hiring journalists like Mike Wallace and Shepard Smith. They’d occasionally show signs of decency that Tucker, Laura, and Sean are incapable of in public, but their texts tell a different tale. One reason there’s an excellent chance that Fox may lose the Dominion case.

What Rupert Murdoch brought to Fox was money and long experience in the gutter press of three countries. He deserves to be excoriated for plunging a knife into the backs of Australian, British, and American democracy.

Here’s hoping that Dominion wins its case and brings Fox down a few pegs. It’s the closest we’ll get to seeing Rupert Murdoch in the dock. I, for one, eagerly await the day that Murdoch meets the fate of his fictional counterpart, Logan Roy. A little grave dancing will be in order.

The last word goes to The Jam:

3 thoughts on “Murdoch In The Dock

  1. I’m pretty sure Malice towards democracy doesn’t enter into it but these shorts seem to have a slam dunk case a reckless disregard.

    They’re better not be any settlement but doesn’t include an unsealed admission of wrongdoing.

    1. There is no such thing as a slam dunk case. This is strong case. Dominion’s lawyers have made it clear that they expect an apology and retractions up the wazoo. I don’t think there will be a settlement.

  2. One more thing. The damage to Fox has already been done regardless of any settlement terms.

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