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The US 2020 Presidential Election & Attempts To Overturn It

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  • Just how low can these criminals go?

    I am no longer capable of feeling shocked.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
      Just how low can these criminals go?

      I am no longer capable of feeling shocked.
      There there. Just console yourself with the soothing reassurance that "Antifa and BLM" have done much much worse.

      “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

      Comment


      • 4th resident of The Villages admits to voting twice in the 2020 election
        John Rider avoids jail time under pre-trial intervention program

        THE VILLAGES, Fla. – All four residents of The Villages charged with voting twice in the 2020 election have now admitted to the crime, court records show.

        John Rider, 62, recently entered into a pre-trial intervention program that will allow him to avoid potential prison time if he successfully completes court-ordered requirements and refrains from violating the law.

        Rider acknowledged his guilt as part of the agreement with prosecutors.

        “The Parties agree that the first step in rehabilitation is to the admission of his wrongdoing,” the contract states.

        Rider indicated in court papers that he plans to “buy out” his requirement of completing 50 hours of community service at a cost of $10 per hour.

        Three other residents of The Villages accused of voting twice signed similar pretrial intervention contracts last year.

        All four were facing a maximum of five years in prison if a jury convicted them of a third-degree felony.

        As part of their agreements with the state, Joan Halstead, Charles Barnes and Jay Ketcik were required to complete a 12-week adult civics class based on the textbook “We the People; the Citizen and the Constitution.”

        Under the pretrial intervention contracts, prosecution of the defendants will be deferred for a period of 18 months, with the possibility that it will be permanently deferred if they successfully complete the court-ordered requirements.

        Florida’s secretary of state first learned about three of the alleged double voting cases after receiving anonymous emails from a self-described “citizen election integrity analyst.”

        That anonymous tipster, who uses the pseudonym “Totes Legit Votes”, provided Florida elections officials with 282 examples of potential double voting, a News 6 investigation uncovered.
        __________

        And the winning just keeps on winning in the most winning way...
        “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

        Comment


        • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
          4th resident of The Villages admits to voting twice in the 2020 election
          John Rider avoids jail time under pre-trial intervention program

          THE VILLAGES, Fla. – All four residents of The Villages charged with voting twice in the 2020 election have now admitted to the crime, court records show.

          John Rider, 62, recently entered into a pre-trial intervention program that will allow him to avoid potential prison time if he successfully completes court-ordered requirements and refrains from violating the law.

          Rider acknowledged his guilt as part of the agreement with prosecutors.

          “The Parties agree that the first step in rehabilitation is to the admission of his wrongdoing,” the contract states.

          Rider indicated in court papers that he plans to “buy out” his requirement of completing 50 hours of community service at a cost of $10 per hour.

          Three other residents of The Villages accused of voting twice signed similar pretrial intervention contracts last year.

          All four were facing a maximum of five years in prison if a jury convicted them of a third-degree felony.

          As part of their agreements with the state, Joan Halstead, Charles Barnes and Jay Ketcik were required to complete a 12-week adult civics class based on the textbook “We the People; the Citizen and the Constitution.”

          Under the pretrial intervention contracts, prosecution of the defendants will be deferred for a period of 18 months, with the possibility that it will be permanently deferred if they successfully complete the court-ordered requirements.

          Florida’s secretary of state first learned about three of the alleged double voting cases after receiving anonymous emails from a self-described “citizen election integrity analyst.”

          That anonymous tipster, who uses the pseudonym “Totes Legit Votes”, provided Florida elections officials with 282 examples of potential double voting, a News 6 investigation uncovered.
          __________

          And the winning just keeps on winning in the most winning way...


          "Under the pretrial intervention contracts, prosecution of the defendants will be deferred for a period of 18 months"

          Voting rights to be restored just in time for the November 2024 election ...
          Trust me?
          I'm an economist!

          Comment


          • Wisconsin GOP Knew They Lost In 2020, Quickly Pivoted To Lie, Recording Reveals

            MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A newly released audio recording offers a behind-the-scenes look at how former President Donald Trump’s campaign team in a pivotal battleground state knew they had been outflanked by Democrats in the 2020 presidential election. But even as they acknowledged defeat, they pivoted to allegations of widespread fraud that were ultimately debunked — repeatedly — by elections officials and the courts.

            The audio from Nov. 5, 2020, two days after the election, is surfacing as Trump again seeks the White House while continuing to lie about the legitimacy of the outcome and Democrat Joe Biden’s win.

            The Wisconsin political operatives in the strategy session even praised Democratic turnout efforts in the state’s largest counties and appeared to joke about their efforts to engage Black voters, according to the recording obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. The audio centers on Andrew Iverson, who was the head of Trump’s campaign in the state.

            “Here’s the deal: Comms is going to continue to fan the flame and get the word out about Democrats trying to steal this election. We’ll do whatever they need. Just be on standby if there’s any stunts we need to pull,” Iverson said.


            Iverson is now the Midwest regional director for the Republican National Committee. He deferred questions about the meeting to the RNC, whose spokesperson, Keith Schipper, declined comment because he had not heard the recording.

            The former campaign official and Republican operative who provided a copy of the recording to the AP was in the meeting and recorded it. The operative is not authorized to speak publicly about what was discussed and did not want to be identified out of concern for personal and professional retaliation, but said they came forward because Trump is mounting a third attempt for the White House.

            In response to questions about the audio, Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said: “The 2024 campaign is focused on competing in every state and winning in a dominating fashion. That is why President Trump is leading by wide margins in poll after poll.”

            Wisconsin was a big part of Trump’s victory in 2016, when he smashed through the Democrats’ so-called “Blue Wall” in the upper Midwest, and his campaign fought hard to keep the swing state in his column four years later before his loss to Biden

            Biden defeated Trump by nearly 21,000 votes in Wisconsin in 2020, a result that has withstood independent and partisan audits and reviews, as well as lawsuits and recounts in the state’s two largest and Democratic-leaning counties.

            Yet, two days after the election, there was no discussion of Trump having won the state during the meeting of Republican campaign operatives.

            Instead, parts of the meeting focus on discussions about packing up campaign offices and writing final reports about how the campaign unfolded. At one point on the recording, Iverson is heard praising the GOP’s efforts while admitting the margin of Trump’s defeat in the state.

            “At the end of the day, this operation received more votes than any other Republican in Wisconsin history,” Iverson said. “Say what you want, our operation turned out Republican or DJT supporters. Democrats have got 20,000 more than us, out of Dane County and other shenanigans in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Dane. There’s a lot that people can learn from this campaign.”

            The meeting showcases another juxtaposition of what Republican officials knew about the election results and what Trump and his closest allies were saying publicly as they pushed the lie of a stolen election. Trump was told by his own attorney general there was no sign of widespread fraud, and many within his own administration told the former president there was no substance to various claims of fraud or manipulation — advice Trump repeatedly ignored.

            In the weeks after the election, Trump and his allies would file dozens of lawsuits, convene fake electors and pressure election officials in an attempt to overturn the will of the voters and keep Trump in office.

            It’s unclear whether the staff in Wisconsin coordinated their message directly with campaign officials in Washington.

            Parts of the Nov. 5 meeting also center on Republican outreach efforts to the state’s Black community.

            At one point, the operatives laugh over needing “more Black voices for Trump.” Iverson also references their efforts to engage with Black voters.

            “We ever talk to Black people before? I don’t think so,” he said, eliciting laughter from others in the room.


            Another speaker on the recording with Iverson is identified by the source as GOP operative Clayton Henson. At the time, Henson was a regional director for the RNC in charge of Wisconsin and other Midwestern states. They give a postmortem of sorts on the election, praising Republican turnout and campaign efforts while acknowledging the Democrats’ robust turn-out-the-vote campaign.

            Henson specifically references Democratic turnout in Dane County, which includes Madison, the state capital, and is a liberal stronghold in the state. A record-high 80% of the voting-age population cast ballots in 2020 in the county, which Biden won with 76% of the vote.

            “Hats off to them for what they did in Dane County. You have to respect that,” Henson said. “There’s going to be another election in a couple years. So remember the lessons you learned and be ready to punch back.”

            Henson, reached by phone Thursday, said, “No thank you” when asked to comment about the meeting.
            __________
            “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

            Comment


            • Research Firm Hired By Trump To Prove 2020 Election Fraud Came Up Empty
              A research firm investigated Donald Trump’s assertion that the presidential election was fraudulent, but its findings were suppressed because they found nothing to support his claims, The Washington Post reported citing four sources familiar with the matter.

              The Berkeley Research Group, hired by the former president’s 2020 campaign, gathered a team of around a dozen people to look into alleged voter fraud and irregularities in six states, according to the Post.

              The team reportedly briefed Trump, his former chief of staff Mark Meadows and others on a conference call held in the last days of 2020 — before Trump held a rally urging his supporters to march on the Capitol preceding the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. The call reportedly became contentious.

              But the researchers had looked at “everything,” one source told the Post.

              “Literally anything you could think of. Voter turnout anomalies, date of birth anomalies, whether dead people voted. If there was anything under the sun that could be thought of, they looked at it,” the source said.

              As recently as Saturday morning, Trump has claimed that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” or “stolen” from him, pushing various conspiracy theories about voting machines and election workers.

              He has made these claims even as dozens of lawsuits filed by Trump’s campaign or his allies were tossed out for lack of evidence in the weeks after President Joe Biden’s victory.

              Trump continued to make his claims throughout the House select committee’s monthslong investigation, which revealed that people close to Trump repeatedly tried to tell him there was no evidence of fraud.

              And apparently, he made them despite knowing that a team of professional researchers he paid to try and find evidence of fraud came up empty-handed.


              The Post’s source added: “Just like any election, there are always errors, omissions and irregularities.” But the person stressed that they were not nearly enough to sway the election.

              “It was nowhere close enough to what they wanted to prove,” the source said, “and it actually went in both directions.”
              ________

              I wonder if this Berkeley Research Group actually got paid for their work...
              “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

              Comment


              • Tucker Carlson told his producer Trump is 'the undisputed world champion' of destroying things and could ruin Fox News if it didn't back his election lies
                • Tucker Carlson called Trump the "undisputed world champion" of destroying things, per a new court filing.
                • Carlson texted his producer after the 2020 election that Trump could "easily destroy" Fox News if "we play it wrong."
                • Carlson's text came after Fox News ignited Trump's fury by being the first to call Arizona for Biden.
                Two days after Election Day 2020, Fox News host Tucker Carlson texted his producer warning that Fox New's decision to call the state of Arizona for Joe Biden on election night could spell doom for the network.

                That's according to a newly released court filing Thursday. The document, a 200-page motion for summary judgment in Dominion Voting Systems' defamation lawsuit against Fox News, featured multiple deposition excerpts and texts from top Fox News figures including Carlson, Sean Hannity, Rupert Murdoch, and others.

                Fox was the first cable news network to project Biden's victory in Arizona, prompting a slew of angry phone calls and texts from people in Trump's camp.

                "We worked really hard to build what we have," Carlson texted his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, on November 5, 2020, according to the filing. "Those fuckers are destroying our credibility. It enrages me."


                Carlson added that he had spoken with fellow primetime commentators Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity minutes earlier and that they were "highly upset."

                "At this point we're getting hurt no matter what," he wrote, according to the filing.

                Pfeiffer replied that "many on 'our side' are being reckless demagogues right now."

                "Of course they are," Carlson wrote. "We're not going to follow them." He went on to say that Trump was good at "destroying things. He's the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong."


                At another point the same day, Carlson texted that "we've got to be incredibly careful right now. We could get hurt." It's unclear who the recipient of the message was.

                Dominion became a focal point for Trumpworld's election-related conspiracy theories shortly after Election Day 2020. "By November 11, Sean Hannity recognized the critical role the Dominion fraud narrative would play in winning back viewers," Thursday's filing said.

                "In one week and one debate they destroyed a brand that took 25 years to build and the damage is incalculable," Hannity told Carlson and Ingraham on November 12, a week after the Arizona call.

                "It's vandalism," Carlson replied, according to the filing.


                The host also grew angry when a Fox News reporter fact-checked a Trump tweet accusing Dominion of election fraud.

                The reporter, Jacqui Heinrich, wrote in response to Trump's tweet that top election officials had determined "there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."

                Carlson dropped Heinrich's tweet into a group chat with Ingraham and Hannity, per the filing, and told Hannity: "Please get her fired. Seriously....What the fuck? I'm actually shocked...It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It's measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke."

                One of Ingraham's producers, Tommy Firth, struck a more blunt tone.

                "This dominion shit is going to give me a fucking aneurysm — as many times as I've told Laura it's bs, she sees shit posters and trump tweeting about it," Firth wrote to a Ron Mitchell, a Fox executive overseeing Ingraham's show, according to a partially redacted text featured in the filing.

                "This is the Bill Gates/microchip angle to voter fraud," Mitchell replied. Later that day, he circled back with Firth, writing, "How's it going [with] the kooks?"


                In a statement, a Fox News spokesperson said Dominion's case is a threat to free speech, and that the company misrepresented the evidence it collected.

                "Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context, and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-letter principles of defamation law," the spokesperson said.

                Dominion sued Fox News for defamation in March 2021, alleging that the network pushed conspiracy theories about the company in an effort to win back dissatisfied viewers following Trump's loss in the election.

                "As a result of the false accusations broadcast by Fox into millions of American homes, Dominion has suffered unprecedented harm and its employees' lives have been put in danger," Dominion's attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.

                "Fox took a small flame and turned it into a forest fire," Dominion's lawsuit said.
                _________

                Shit like this makes me laugh uproariously when one of Cult45 throws out the "TDS" accusation
                “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                Comment


                • Reading this stuff really cracks me up except what was touted to be a major news organization was disingenuous, deceitful and morally corrupt.

                  How many Capitol Hill cops would be uninjured if they had done their responsibility and report what their true editorial bent was.

                  No wonder Hannity frantically texted the White House for Trump to do something on 6 January...he knew he was complicit and was staring down into a chasm he helped dig.


                  Behind scenes, Fox News stars derided Trump camp's claims of election fraud : NPR


                  Off the air, Fox News stars blasted the election fraud claims they peddled






                  Dominion Voting System's legal filings reveal behind-the-scenes machinations involving Fox News hosts Jeanine Pirro, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo and Laura Ingraham and former host Lou Dobbs. They are shown clockwise from the upper left.

                  Jason Koerner/Getty Images; Jason Koerner/Getty Images; Carolyn Kaster/AP; Alex Brandon/AP; Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images; Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

                  In the days and weeks after the 2020 elections, the Fox News Channel repeatedly broadcast false claims that then-President Donald Trump had been cheated of victory.

                  Off the air, the network's stars, producers and executives expressed contempt for those same conspiracies, calling them "mind-blowingly nuts," "totally off the rails" and "completely bs" - often in far earthier terms.

                  The network's top primetime stars - Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity - texted contemptuously of the claims in group chats, but also denounced colleagues pointing that out publicly or on television.

                  Ingraham called Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell "a bit nuts." Carlson, who famously demanded evidence from Powell on the air, privately used a vulgar epithet for women to describe her. A top network programming executive wrote privately that he did not believe the shows of Carlson, Hannity and Jeanine Pirro were credible sources of news.

                  Even so, top executives strategized about how to make it up to their viewers - among Trump's strongest supporters - after Fox News' election-night team correctly called the pivotal state of Arizona for Democratic nominee Joe Biden before other networks. A sense of desperation pervades the private notes from Fox's top stars, reflecting an obsession with collapsing ratings.


                  "It's remarkable how weak ratings make... good journalists do bad things," Bill Sammon, at the time the network's Washington Managing Editor, privately wrote on Dec. 2, 2020. Network executives above him stewed over the hit to Fox News' brand among its viewers. Yet there was little apparent concern, other than some inquiries from Fox Corp founder Rupert Murdoch, over the journalistic values of fairness and accuracy.

                  The audience started to erode severely that fall, starting on Election Night itself. Fox executives and stars equally obsessed over the threat posed by the smaller right-wing network Newsmax. Hannity texted Carlson and Ingraham that Fox's Arizona call "destroyed a brand that took 25 years to build and the damage is incalculable." Carlson shot back that it was "vandalism." Others hosts, including Dana Perino, were equally shocked.

                  Fox News host Neil Cavuto was attacked by colleagues for pulling his show away from a presentation by then White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany in which she made unfounded claims of fraud once more. (McEnany is now a host on Fox News.)

                  Those revelations and far more surfaced in legal filings made public late Thursday afternoon as part of Dominion Voting System's blockbuster $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox and its parent company. Dominion sued after Fox hosts and guests repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that the company had switched Trump votes to Biden.

                  Sponsor Message
                  The material presented in the remarkable 178-page brief reflects there were no illusions that there was heft to the allegations of election fraud even among those Fox figures who gave the most intense embrace to Trump allies peddling those lies.

                  Instead, Dominion's attorneys paint a portrait of inner turmoil, anger and angst at the news network.

                  "Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context, and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-letter principles of defamation law," a Fox News spokesperson said.


                  Fox leaders worried turning away from false allegations of voter fraud would hurt their brand


                  After Fox's correct projection of Arizona for Joe Biden, network leaders schemed to woo back Trump supporters. Fox News chief executive Suzanne Scott texted Lachlan Murdoch, the Fox Corp co-chairman, that "the AZ [call] was damaging but we will highlight our stars and plant flags letting the viewers know we hear them and respect them."

                  A team led by then-Fox Corp senior vice president Raj Shah, formerly a White House aide to Trump, warned other top corporate leaders of a "Brand Threat" after Cavuto's refusal to air McEnany's White House press briefing on baseless claims of voter fraud.



                  The claims against the election tech company recurred on Fox News despite Dominion sending thousands of communications dissecting and disproving the false claims - even taking to the opinion pages of Fox News' corporate cousin, the Wall Street Journal, to do so. (Both Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are part of the Murdoch family's media empire.) Dominion says it sent more than 3,600 communications to Fox staffers taking issue with the false claims of election fraud.

                  Fox News host Maria Bartiromo was first to interview Powell, the Trump attorney, on Nov. 8, 2020, a few days after the election. Powell would become one of Trump's most fervent legal advocates. In her deposition, Bartiromo conceded Powell's claims lacked any substantiation.


                  For its part, Fox's attorneys call Dominion's suit an attempt to punish the news network for reporting on "one of the biggest stories of the day." The network says it could dissuade journalists in the future from reporting allegations "inconvenient to Dominion—and other companies."

                  In a separate filing, also released to the public on Thursday, the cable network's attorneys say Dominion's ten-figure request for damages is designed to "generate headlines" and to enrich the company's controlling owner, the private equity fund Staple Street Capital Partners.

                  "According to Dominion, [Fox News] had a duty not to truthfully report the President's allegations but to suppress them or denounce them as false," the Fox attorneys argue. Fox further asserts that Dominion did not suffer harm as a result of the broadcasts, and that the company's value as a business is nowhere near the $1.6 billion in damages it is seeking.

                  "There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners," Fox News said in a statement today. "The core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan."

                  Dominion Voting Systems: 'Every person acted with actual malice'

                  Under the high legal bar of actual malice, defined in that 1964 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving The New York Times, Dominion has to show Fox acted either with knowledge that what it was broadcasting to the public was false, or that it acted with reckless disregard of the truth.

                  "Here," Dominion's legal team wrote in its filings, "every person acted with actual malice." It offered one example after another that key Fox figures knew what the network was putting on the air was false.

                  Sponsor Message
                  On Nov. 5, 2020, just days after the election, Bret Baier, the network's chief political anchor texted a friend: "[T]here is NO evidence of fraud. None. Allegations - stories. Twitter. Bulls---."

                  The following week, a producer for Ingraham sent a note conveying similar disgust. "This dominion s--- is going to give me a f---ing aneurysm."

                  In answering questions from Dominion's attorneys under oath, former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs said he had never "seen any verifiable, tangible support" that Dominion was owned by a second voting-tech company Smartmatic. Yet that claim was repeatedly said on air by Fox hosts and guests. Dobbs also said he was aware of no evidence that Dominion rigged the election, according to Dominion's legal filings.

                  On the air, Dobbs was among the most muscular proponents of Trump's baseless claims of election fraud. He was forced out of Fox the day after Smartmatic filed its own $2.7 billion defamation case against the network.

                  A purge of journalists behind accurate Election Night call


                  Meanwhile, fixated on the erosion of viewers to smaller right-wing rivals, Fox News executives purged senior journalists who were fixated on reflecting the facts. In a note to the network's top publicity executive, Fox News CEO Scott denounced Sammon, the former Washington managing editor. Scott wrote Sammon did not understand "the impact to the brand and the arrogance" in projecting Arizona for Biden, saying it was Sammon's job "to protect the brand."

                  His departure two months later was termed a retirement by Fox News; through an intermediary, Sammon has declined to comment on that, citing the terms of his departure.

                  Despite their contempt for Powell and Giuliani, the two Trump campaign attorneys appeared repeatedly on Fox shows. On several occasions, so did Trump.

                  On Jan. 5, 2021, the day before Congress was to ceremonially affirm Biden's win, and an angry pro-Trump mob sacked the U.S. Capitol to prevent it, Rupert Murdoch forwarded a suggestion to Fox News CEO Scott. He recommended that the Fox prime time stars - Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham - acknowledge Trump's loss. "Would go a long way to stop the Trump myth that the election was stolen," he wrote. They did not do so. "We need to be careful about using the shows and pissing off the viewers," Scott said to a colleague.

                  As the election tech firm's attorneys wrote in their filing, Fox never retracted the claims made about Dominion on its airwaves.
                  “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                  Mark Twain

                  Comment


                  • Doesn't the FCC have a responsibility to revoke the license of traitors?
                    Trust me?
                    I'm an economist!

                    Comment


                    • Lawsuit is latest evidence of bogus ‘stolen election’ claims

                      Two years after former President Donald Trump’s false claims about widespread election fraud sparked an attack on the U.S. Capitol, more evidence is piling up that those who spread the misinformation knew it was false.

                      On Thursday, the voting machine company Dominion filed court papers documenting that numerous Fox News personalities knew there was no evidence to support the claims peddled by Trump’s allies, but aired them anyway on the nation’s most-watched cable network. The same day, a special grand jury in Atlanta concluded there was no evidence of the fraud that Trump alleged cost him Georgia during the 2020 election.

                      In December, the congressional Jan. 6 committee disclosed that Trump’s top advisers and even family members repeatedly warned him that the allegations he was making about fraud costing him reelection were false — only to have the president continue making those claims, anyway.

                      The latest revelations are not just historical curiosities. They add to the wealth of evidence that there was no widespread fraud during the 2020 presidential election and that even some of Trump’s most prominent supporters were aware of that fact at the time.

                      Trump has announced he’s running for president again in 2024 and continues to repeat the lie that he lost in 2020 only because of fraud and irregularities.

                      “It demonstrates a profound cynicism about the political process and the gullibility of Trump’s supporters,” said Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has followed the election falsehoods closely since 2020.

                      “It’s really playing with fire,” Hasen said. “It’s one thing to make extravagant and unsupported statements about someone’s position on taxes or immigration.” But doing the same about the actual process of voting and counting ballots is different, he said: “Lies about elections are much more dangerous than lies about actual policy.”

                      From the beginning, it was clear that Trump’s assertions of widespread fraud were false.

                      Trump’s own attorney general told him there was no evidence of significant wrongdoing related to the election. He and his supporters filed dozens of lawsuits and lost all but one of them — a bid to reduce the time voters had to correct errors on Pennsylvania mail ballots.

                      Trump claimed that fraud cost him wins in key swing states that determined the White House — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. But, repeatedly, reviews of the vote tallies or Republican-controlled investigations in those states turned up no evidence that had happened.

                      In Michigan, an investigation by the GOP-controlled state Senate found no widespread fraud and debunked several false claims of irregularities from Trump allies. In Nevada, the Republican secretary of state said there was no evidence of significant errors in the election. In Wisconsin, an audit from the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau — which reports to the Republican-controlled Legislature — found the election there was “safe and secure.”

                      In Georgia, where Trump’s efforts to overturn the results is being investigated, the 2020 ballots were counted three times — each tally confirming Biden’s win. That included a hand recount of the 5 million ballots cast in the presidential race.

                      In Arizona, a months-long, error-riddled review of ballots in the state’s largest county, Maricopa, that was run by election conspiracy theorists ended by finding that Biden had won by a slightly larger margin than official results showed. The review was not more reliable than the official tally by Republican-run Maricopa County, which has repeatedly said there were no irregularities in the 2020 election there.

                      The latest revelation that people spreading Trump’s false claims knew there was no evidence to support them comes from a court filing in a defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News. Dominion’s machines were the targets of Trump and other conspiracy theorists’ allegations in late 2020 and last year, including the contention that they had been rigged by an international cabal seeking to defeat Trump.

                      In its latest filing, Dominion cites texts and emails between prominent Fox personalities who did not believe the allegations or the people closest to Trump who spread them most aggressively, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and attorney Sidney Powell.

                      The Dominion filing alleges that the network was initially cautious about fraud claims, with its top anchor, Bret Baier, privately stating two days after the 2020 election “there is NO evidence of election fraud.”

                      But after Powell and Giuliani began making allegations about fraud that were picked up by conservative competitors, executives and top hosts started worrying about losing viewers to the conservative network Newsmax, which repeatedly aired unrebutted allegations from Trump’s side. Fox started inviting the two Trump allies on their shows and top executives pushed back on news reporters who tried to fact-check the allegations.

                      “Sidney Powell is lying” about having evidence of election fraud, Tucker Carlson told a producer about the attorney on Nov. 16, 2020, according to an excerpt from an exhibit that remains under seal. Two days later, according to the filing, Carlson told fellow Fox News host Laura Ingraham, “Our viewers are good people and they believe it.”

                      The next day, the lawsuit notes, Carlson addressed the issue on his show less bluntly: “Maybe Sidney Powell will come forward soon with details on exactly how this happened, and precisely who did it. ... We are certainly hopeful that she will.”

                      Fox, in response, filed a counterclaim against Dominion alleging it was trying to chill coverage of a political controversy and that it aired denials of the allegations from Dominion and its representatives.
                      _______
                      “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                      Comment


                      • Two reporters, NYT and WaPo, on Fox lies

                        Comment


                        • Ex-Arizona attorney general buried report disproving Trump election fraud claims
                          Former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich purposefully buried a staff report that refuted the myriad false claims of election fraud propagated by former president Donald Trump and his allies while he was running in a Republican Senate primary last year, according to a new report.

                          According to The Washington Post, Mr Brnovich had commissioned an investigation of 2020 fraud claims that was conducted by staff in his office over the course of 10,000 hours last year.

                          The staff report found that “virtually all” the claims of “error and malfeasance” floated by Trump-backed groups claiming his loss to Joe Biden in 2020 was tainted to be completely unfounded.

                          But Mr Brnovich didn’t release that report. Instead, he put out an April 2022 “interim report” declaring that “serious vulnerabilities” had been found in the election system, ignoring edits made by his own staff that debunked such assertions.


                          The Post also reported that the ex-Arizona top prosecutor’s office compiled what they described as an “election review summary” in September of last year, which “systematically refuted accusations of widespread fraud and made clear that none of the complaining parties — from state lawmakers to self-styled “election integrity” groups — had presented any evidence to support their claims”.

                          Yet Mr Brnovich, who failed to win the GOP senate nomination and left office at the end of last month, kept that summary buried as well. It was only made public this week by his successor, Attorney General Kris Bayes.

                          The records the ex-prosecutor suppressed comprise 41 pages, including two “investigative summaries” and a “draft letter,” the Post said.

                          Although he did not assist Mr Trump in his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, Mr Brnovich engaged with the false fraud claims posited by the disgraced ex-president while he was seeking higher office in last year’s election.

                          Ms Mayes told the Post she was releasing the records because she wants to redirect her office towards protecting voting rights and protecting election workers, rather than pushing conspiracy theories.

                          “The people of Arizona had a right to know this information before the 2022 election,” she said. “Maricopa County election officials had a right to know that they were cleared of wrongdoing. And every American had a right to know that the 2020 election in Arizona, which in part decided the presidency, was conducted accurately and fairly.”
                          ____________

                          I suspect this underscores the intent of claims of election fraud by many elected officials. No that they actually believed there was any fraud, but that the claims of fraud could serve as a useful tool to enact legislation that would keep Trump and themselves in power and limit the ability of voters to mount successful campaigns to replace them.
                          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                          Comment


                          • Another Bombshell-filled Dominion Filing

                            Dominion Voting Systems made another filing in their case against Fox, this one based primarily on testimony from depositions with Fox Corporation chair Rupert Murdoch. And... it's another rip-snorter. Here are the main takeaways:
                            • Murdoch knew full well that the 2020 election results were legitimate, and described Donald Trump's lies therein as "bulls**t and damaging."
                            • Murdoch also knew that it was a very bad idea to give Mike Lindell a platform. But the concern guiding the channel's election coverage was not the truth. As Murdoch himself put it, when describing the underlying motivation: "It is not red or blue, it is green."
                            • Similarly, everyone at Fox knew that Sidney Powell is bat**it crazy, but they kept having her on.
                            • Murdoch warned on-air reporters Shepard Smith and Leland Vittert, both of whom no longer work for Fox, to stop being so critical of Donald Trump.
                            • Murdoch wanted to fire Bill Sammon, who also no longer works for Fox, for calling Arizona for Biden. That call, of course, was correct.
                            • Murdoch wanted to fire Lou Dobbs, who is yet another ex-Fox employee, for being too loony. However, the termination was forestalled until 2021 because Trump likes Dobbs.
                            • Murdoch also ordered Fox anchors to promote Republican senators' election bids, particularly that of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). His concern was that the GOP retain the Senate at all costs.
                            • Murdoch gave Jared Kushner inside information about Joe Biden's advertising and about debates that Fox was involved in producing.
                            • Sean Hannity tired of Trump long ago, but continues to tote water for the former president, for fear of losing viewers.
                            • The person who worked hardest to try to get Fox and its personalities to accept the truth? Hold on to your hats, because there's no way you could see this coming. It's former speaker and current Fox contributor Paul Ryan. That's right, Paul Ryan—Defender of Democracy.

                            The first conclusion here is that Fox is in deep, deep trouble. If this does not clear the bar for defamation—the outlet knew it was spreading falsehoods and kept repeating them anyhow because there was money in it—then we might as well just get rid of that portion of the law books.

                            The second conclusion here is that, in case you didn't already know, Fox is not a news organization. They are not in the same ballpark as a news organization. Or the same ZIP code. Or the same universe. The network once had a reasonable news operation, but the great majority of those folks have been sent packing or have left of their own volition. These days, the opinion/propaganda operation is king, because that is where the money is. In particular, Fox should never again have any part in hosting any candidates' debate. They have forfeited that privilege.

                            Meanwhile—and we have no idea what the answer to this question is—what is Fox going to do about its Trump problem? The outlet clearly wants to quit him, and to move on to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), but they can't afford to do so. Meanwhile, Trump is furious that the network is giving any attention to the Florida Governor, but he can't afford to quit Fox, either, as he needs the promotion. Are we headed for an ugly divorce here? Or another 2 years of parasitic symbiosis? (Z)
                            _______
                            “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                            Comment


                            • ‘Insane, lying, complete nut’: How Fox News stars rejected Trump’s election conspiracies while network pushed them




                              Top personalities, executives and producers at Fox News privately condemned “reckless” claims from election fraud conspiracy theorists they dismissed as “crazy” and “insane”.

                              But they were repeatedly invited on air on some of the most-watched cable news programmes in the country, where they amplified bogus statements about the 2020 presidential election and a voting machine company that has accused the network of defamation in a $1.6bn lawsuit.

                              A 192-page, partially redacted filing in Dominion Voting Systems’s lawsuit against Fox News reveals behind-the-scenes irritation with false claims made by Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, based on text messages, emails and depositions from programme hosts, producers and executives, including owner Rupert Murdoch.

                              Yet the network continued to broadcast claims from the former president and his allies, who led a spurious legal bid to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, fuelled by conspiracy theories and baseless claims that also energised competing right-wing media networks that threatened Fox viewership, according to messages in the filing.

                              One producer for Fox News personality Laura Ingraham at one point wrote to an executive that “this Dominion s*** is going to give me a f***ing aneurysm”.

                              Mr Trump’s false narrative of widespread voter fraud and manipulation of mail-in ballots – which he began before a single ballot was even cast in that year’s elections – created the pretext for his bogus claims that the election was rigged against him.

                              Testimony and messages from Fox News employees show that the newsroom was well aware of his false claims but publicly failed to explain them, while also failing to explain the processes for mail-in ballots and state laws that outlined procedures for sorting and tallying the votes.

                              Fearing ongoing viewer backlash after the network predicted Joe Biden would win the state of Arizona and, later, the 2020 presidential election, network hosts and executives sought to balance evidence-free claims about “irregularities” to keep viewers enthralled with conspiracy theories against their own private admissions that, in their words, was “nonsense” and “bull****.”

                              On 3 November, 2020, Election Day, Fox News host Bret Baier texted a friend that “there is NO evidence of fraud. None. Allegations – stories. Twitter. Bull****.”

                              Two days later, after host Lou Dobbs aired a segment based on a provably false tweet from Mr Trump about votes being switched to Mr Biden, Fox Business News President Lauren Petterson wrote in an email: “Jesus Christ. Does anyone do a f***ing simple Google search or read emails?”

                              On 5 November, as the network predicted that Mr Biden won the state of Arizona, a prediction made before other news networks, top personalities at Fox News “understood the threat to them personally,” according to the lawsuit.

                              “We worked really hard to build what we have. Those f*****s are destroying our credibility. It enrages me,” Tucker Carlson wrote to his producer Alex Pfeiffer on 5 November.

                              “It’s a hard needle to thread, but I really think many on ‘our side’ are being reckless demagogues right now,” Mr Pfeiffer responded.

                              “Of course they are,” Mr Carlson replied. “We’re not going to follow them. … What [Trump’s] good at is destroying things. He’s the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us If we play it wrong.”

                              A statement from a spokesperson for Fox claims that “Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-letter principles of defamation law.”

                              ‘What is this? Oh man’
                              After Fox personality Maria Bartiromo posted unfounded allegations of voter manipulation on social media on 5 November, Mr Baier alerted executives about fact-checking such claims.

                              The following day, Rupert Murdoch told Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott it would be “very hard to credibly cry foul everywhere” with Mr Trump’s losses in several swing states.

                              He also wrote “if Trump becomes a sore loser we should watch Sean [Hannity] especially and others don’t sound the same.”

                              That message was forwarded to Meade Cooper, the executive vice president of the network’s primetime programming, which includes programmes hosted by Mr Hannity, Mr Carlson and Ms Piro, among others

                              Ms Cooper testified that, as of 6 November, 2020, “going on television to say that the election is being stolen … would not be based in fact at that point.”

                              But that same day, Sidney Powell appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight to float a version of a bogus election manipulation conspiracy theory.

                              Her appearance prompted Mr Baier to immediately ask Fox President Jay Wallace: “What is this? Oh man.”

                              The following day, Ms Petterson and others at the network were made aware that 4chan users were calling on users to “spread” baseless election fraud claims and conspiracy theories. That same day, an editorial in Mr Murdoch’s The New York Post called on Mr Trump to “stop the ‘stolen election’ rhetoric” and get “Rudy Giuliani off TV”.

                              The network took some measures to prevent those claims from circulating in the days that followed, including canceling Ms Piro’s broadcast at one point. Producer Justin Wells said that “they took her off cuz she was being crazy”.

                              “Optics are bad. But she is crazy,” he said.

                              Tony Fratto, a former deputy White House press secretary under George W Bush and a communications consultant to Dominion, wrote directly to Fox executives on 16 November.

                              “[Dominion], as you know, has received a great deal of attention on [Fox News] and from the president. An enormous amount of misinformation actually, completely and verifiable wrong information is finding its way on-air,” he wrote. “I think this situation is crossing dangerous lines.”

                              That same night, Mr Fratto forwarded part of a transcript from Mr Dobbs’ broadcast.

                              “More f****ing lies, he wrote. “Honestly. He is a disgrace.”

                              ‘Sidney Powell is lying by the way’
                              On 7 November, Fox News predicted that Mr Biden won the 2020 presidential election. Mr Murdoch and other Fox personalities began to see the writing on the wall.

                              “Do the executives understand how much credibility and trust we’ve lost with our audience? We’re playing with fire, for real,” Mr Carlson texted his producer. “An alternative like Newsmax could be devastating to us.”

                              On a broadcast of Sunday Morning Futures on 8 November, Fox News personality Maria Bartiromo hosted Sidney Powell.

                              “I know there were voting irregularities. Tell me about that,” Ms Bartiromo said on the network.

                              Ms Powell falsely said Dominion used “algorithms” as part of a “massive and coordinated effort to steal” the 2020 presidential election from Mr Trump.

                              Ms Bartiromo did not tell her viewers the source of those claims, which Ms Powell shared with her in an email one day earlier that even she said came from a person she described as a “wackadoodle”.

                              “Who am I? And how do I know all of this? … I’ve had the strangest dreams since I was a little girl … I was internally decapitated, and yet, I live. … The Wind tells me I’m a ghost, but I don’t believe it.”

                              That email, which was also shared with Lou Dobbs, alleged that Dominion was the “one common thread” in specious claims about “voting irregularities”.

                              In her deposition, Ms Bartiromo agreed that the email was “nonsense”.

                              Ms Powell had repeatedly claimed on the network and in other public appearances that votes were “flipped” and “dumped” and that the machines could “shift votes in real time”.

                              “We’ve identified mathematically the exact algorithm they used and planned to use from the beginning to modify the votes in this case to make sure Biden won,” she said.

                              Fox News, meanwhile, had received more than 3,863 emails from Dominion to correct those claims.

                              “In other words, Dominion did not simply deny the charges. It provided public evidence demonstrating those charges were false (and inherently improbable),” according to the lawsuit. “Fox’s hosts, producers, and executives had the facts in their inboxes.”

                              On 16 November, Mr Carlson told his producer Alex Pfeiffer that “Sidney Powell is lying. F****ing b****.”

                              Two days later, Mr Carlson told Ms Ingraham that “Sidney Powell is lying by the way. caught her. It’s insane.”

                              “Sidney is a complete nut,” Ms Ingraham said. “No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy.”

                              “It’s unbelievably offensive to me,” Mr Carlson replied. “Our viewers are good people and they believe it.”

                              But on 19 November, Mr Carlson ended his broadcast by saying that “maybe Sidney Powell will come forward soon with details on exactly how this happened, and precisely who did it. We are certainly hopeful that she will.”

                              On 24 November, Ms Powell appeared on two programmes on the network, hosted by Mr Dobbs and Mr Hannity.

                              “The machine ran an algorithm that shaved votes from Trump and awarded them to Biden,” Ms Powell said in a series of false claims on Mr Hannity’s prime-time broadcast. “They used the machines to trash large batches of votes that should have been awarded to President Trump. And they used a machine to inject and add massive quantities of votes for Mr Biden.”

                              On 6 January, 2021, following a violent revolt at the US Capitol fuelled by the fraudulent election narrative, Mr Carlson wrote in a message to his producer that Mr Trump is “a demonic force, a destroyer. But he’s not going to destroy us.”

                              On January 26, Mr Carlson invited prolific election fraud conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell on his broadcast.

                              ‘Get her fired’
                              While facing calls from within the company to “protect the brand” following outrage with the Arizona results and how to address “grieving” viewers, executives criticised truthful reporting and commentary and appeared to punish reporters for doing their job, according to the lawsuit.

                              While former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany amplified bogus claims of election fraud, Neil Cavuto told viewers that “she’s charging the other side as welcoming fraud and illegal voting” and that “unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue to show you this.”

                              Fox leadership – on “war footing” with competing Newsmax – said that his on-air remarks constituted a brand threat. Mr Carlson also complained separately of brand “vandalism”.

                              On 12 November, as Dominion claims began circulating on other networks and across social media, Laura Ingraham producer Tommy Firth texted an executive that “this dominion shit is going to give me a f****ing aneurysm”.

                              “As many times as I’ve told Laura bs, she sees s***posters and Trump tweeting about it,” he said.

                              That night, Mr Dobbs brought Mr Giuliani on his broadcast.

                              “The endgame to a four-and-a-half year-long effort to overthrow the president of the United States,” Mr Dobbs said on his programme.

                              Also that night, in a group message thread, Mr Carlson shared a tweet from now-former Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich “fact checking” one of Trump’s tweets alleging voter fraud, on which she correctly stated that “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

                              “Please get her fired,” Mr Carlson wrote. “Seriously … What the f****? actually shocked … It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.”

                              Mr Hannity texted his team that he “just dropped a bomb”.

                              Ms Scott told Fox executives that Mr Hannity is “standing down on responding but not happy about this and doesn’t understand how this is allowed to happen from anyone in news.”

                              “[Ms Heinrich] has serious nerve doing this and if this gets picked up, viewers are going to be further disgusted,” she added.

                              Ms Heinrich’s tweet was deleted.

                              On 19 November, a memo to executives said that “the lack of any meaningful editorial guidance” at Newsmax “may be a positive for them at least in the short term,” adding that that kind of “conspiratorial reporting might be exactly what the disgruntled [Fox News] viewer is looking for.”

                              “Do not ever give viewers a reason to turn us off,” Fox executive Ron Mitchell wrote. “Every topic and guest must perform … ‘No unforced errors’ in content – example: Abruptly turning away from aTrump campaign press conference.”

                              The next day, while the network played the entirety of Mr Giuliani’s post-election press conference, then-White House correspondent Kristin Fisher fact checked claims from Ms Powell and Mr Giuliani.

                              She said that her boss Bryan Boughton immediately called her to tell her that “higher-ups at Fox News were also unhappy” and that she “needed to do a better job of – this is a quote – ‘respecting our audience.’”

                              “Punished for doing my job,” she texted after the call.
                              ________

                              No words....just...no words
                              “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                              Comment



                              • Inside the panic at Fox News after the 2020 election

                                WASHINGTON — A little more than a week after television networks called the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden, top executives and anchors at Fox News held an after-action meeting to figure out how they had messed up.

                                Not because they had gotten the key call wrong — but because they had gotten it right. And they had gotten it right before anyone else.

                                Typically, it is a point of pride for a news network to be the first to project election winners. But Fox News is no typical news network, and in the days after the 2020 vote, it was besieged with angry protests not only from former President Donald Trump’s camp but from its own viewers because it had called the battleground state of Arizona for Biden. Never mind that the call was correct; Fox News executives worried that they would lose viewers to hard-right competitors such as Newsmax.

                                And so, on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, Suzanne Scott, CEO of Fox News Media, and Jay Wallace, the network’s president, convened a Zoom meeting for an extraordinary discussion with an unusual goal, according to a recording of the call reviewed by The New York Times: how to keep from angering the network’s conservative audience again by calling an election for a Democrat before the competition.

                                Maybe, the Fox News executives mused, they should abandon the sophisticated new election-projecting system in which Fox News had invested millions of dollars and revert to the slower, less-accurate model. Or maybe they should base calls not solely on numbers but on how viewers might react. Or maybe they should delay calls, even if they were right, to keep the audience in suspense and boost viewership.

                                “Listen, it’s one of the sad realities: If we hadn’t called Arizona, those three or four days following Election Day, our ratings would have been bigger,” Scott said. “The mystery would have been still hanging out there.”

                                Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, the two main anchors, suggested it was not enough to call a state based on numerical calculations, the standard by which networks have made such determinations for generations, but that viewer reaction should be considered. “In a Trump environment,” MacCallum said, “the game is just very, very different.”

                                The conversation captured the sense of crisis enveloping Fox News after the election and underscored its unique role in the conservative political ecosystem. The network’s conduct in this period has come under intense scrutiny in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems.

                                Court filings in recent days revealed that Fox News executives and hosts considered fraud claims by the Trump camp to be “really crazy stuff,” as Rupert Murdoch, head of the Fox media empire, put it, yet pushed them on air anyway. The recording of the Nov. 16 meeting adds further context to the atmosphere inside the network at that time, when executives were on the defensive because of their Arizona call and feared alienating Trump and his supporters.

                                In a statement Saturday, the network said, “Fox News stood by the Arizona call despite intense scrutiny. Given the extremely narrow 0.3% margin and a new projection mechanism that no other network had, of course there would be a wide-ranging post-mortem surrounding the call and how it was executed no matter the candidates.”

                                In the crosshairs now is Scott, who joined the network at its inception in 1996 as a programming assistant and worked her way up to become CEO in 2018. Media analysts have speculated that she may take the fall; Murdoch testified in a deposition that executives who knowingly allowed lies to be broadcast “should be reprimanded, maybe got rid of.” But Fox later put out word that she was not in danger.

                                Scott was among the executives who grew alarmed after the network’s Decision Desk called Arizona for Biden at 11:20 p.m. on election night on Nov. 3, 2020, a projection that infuriated Trump and his aides because it was a swing state that could foreshadow the overall result. No other network called Arizona that night, although The Associated Press did, several hours later, and the Fox News journalists who made the call stood by their judgment.

                                At 8:30 a.m. the next day, Scott suggested Fox not call any more states until certified by authorities, a formal process that could take days or weeks. She was talked out of that. But the next day, with Biden’s lead in Arizona narrowing, Baier noted that Trump’s campaign was angry and suggested reversing the call. “It’s hurting us,” he wrote Wallace and others in a previously reported email. “The sooner we pull it even if it gives us major egg. And put it back in his column. The better we are. In my opinion.”

                                Arizona had never been in Trump’s column, and the Decision Desk, overseen by Bill Sammon, managing editor for Washington, resisted giving it “back” to a candidate who was losing just to satisfy critics.

                                But Friday night, Nov. 6, when Sammon’s team was ready to call Nevada for Biden, sealing his victory, Wallace refused to air it. “I’m not there yet since it’s for all the marbles — just a heavier burden than an individual state call,” Wallace wrote in a text message obtained by the Times.

                                Rather than be the first to call the election winner, Fox News became the last. CNN declared Biden the victor the next day at 11:24 a.m., followed by the other networks. Fox News did not concur until 11:40 a.m., about 14 hours after Sammon’s election team internally concluded the race was over.

                                While Biden held on to Arizona by 10,000 votes, the explosive fallout from Fox News’ call panicked the network. Viewers erupted. Ratings fell.

                                “I’ve never seen a reaction like this, to any media company,” Tucker Carlson told Scott in a Nov. 9 message released in a court filing. Scott complained to a colleague that Sammon did not understand “the impact to the brand and the arrogance in calling AZ” and it was his job “to protect the brand.”


                                On Nov. 16, Scott and Wallace convened the Zoom meeting to discuss the Arizona decision. Sammon and Arnon Mishkin, the director of the Decision Desk, were included. Chris Stirewalt, the political editor who had gone on air to defend the call, was not.

                                Scott invited Baier and MacCallum — “the face” of the network, as she called them — to describe the heat they were taking, according to the recording reviewed by the Times.

                                “We are still getting bombarded,” Baier said. “It became really hurtful.” He said projections were not enough to call a state when it would be so sensitive. “I know the statistics and the numbers, but there has to be, like, this other layer” so they could “think beyond, about the implications.”

                                MacCallum agreed: “There’s just obviously been a tremendous amount of backlash, which is, I think, more than any of us anticipated. And so there’s that layer between statistics and news judgment about timing that I think is a factor.” For “a loud faction of our viewership,” she said, the call was a blow.

                                Neither she nor Baier explained exactly what they meant by another “layer.” A person who was in the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions said Saturday that Baier had been talking about process because he was upset the Decision Desk had made the Arizona call without letting the anchors know first.

                                What no one said at the meeting was that Scott would not let Sammon’s team risk the network’s brand again. She decided to push out Sammon and Stirewalt, but fearing criticism for firing journalists who had gotten the call right, she opted to wait until after Georgia.

                                Murdoch was not keen on waiting. On Nov. 20, four days after the Zoom meeting, according to documents filed by Dominion, he told Scott, “Maybe best to let Bill go right away,” which would “be a big message with Trump people.”

                                Sammon, who had called every election correctly over 12 years at Fox News and had just been offered a new three-year contract, was told that same day that his contract would not be renewed after all. He heard not from Fox News but from his lawyer, Robert Barnett. Stirewalt was out too.

                                Fox News would, in the end, wait until after Georgia to announce the purge, without attributing it to the Arizona call. Sammon, who negotiated a severance package, would call his departure a “retirement,” while Stirewalt’s dismissal was characterized as a “restructuring.”

                                Three weeks later, Fox News announced a new multiyear contract extension for Scott.
                                __________
                                “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                                Comment

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