Shortly after the agreement was reached, Fox said it was “hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”
The settlement carries an implicit plea of “no contest” to several pretrial findings from the presiding judge in the case, Eric M. Davis, that cast Fox’s programming in exceptionally harsh light.
In one of those findings, the judge sided with Dominion in its assertion that Fox could not claim that its airing of the conspiracy theory — generally relating to the false claim that its machines “switched” Trump votes into Biden votes — fell under a legally protected status of “news gathering” that can shield news organizations when facts are disputed. The judge wrote, “the evidence does not support that FNN conducted good-faith, disinterested reporting.”
In another finding, the judge wrote that the “evidence developed in this civil proceeding demonstrates that is CRYSTAL clear that none of the statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.”
Through those findings, the judge seriously limited Fox’s ability to argue that it was acting as a news network pursuing the claims of a newsmaker, in this case, the president of the United States, who was the lead clarion for the false Dominion narrative.