June 23, 2024

With all of the recent bombshell Fox News revelations in the Dominion Voting Systems defamation litigation, there’s a subtle but important point that’s worth emphasizing: rebroadcasting.

That is, as alleged by Dominion, the network re-aired segments pushing false 2020 election claims while knowing those claims were false.

Media law expert Lee Levine told Nicolle on the show Wednesday:

One of the most important things that stuck out to me about the new filing, which I had not realized before, was that some of these programs were rebroadcast in their entirety so that between the time of the original broadcast and the time of the rebroadcast, Dominion provided information to Fox that what [Rudy] Giuliani or [Sidney] Powell had just said was false. And yet, Fox went ahead and rebroadcast it.

As Levine explained, that’s “very rare and very powerful evidence of actual malice.”

Actual malice, as I’ve noted, is a high standard for plaintiffs to meet in defamation cases. It requires showing that the defense knew the truth or recklessly disregarded it.

And though it’s a tough standard to meet, the unusually powerful evidence that Dominion has amassed, as laid out in its court papers, suggests that the voting company may ultimately prevail. Indeed, as Levine said, it’s rare to see a case with so much evidence of the defense’s state of mind. (Fox News has denied any wrongdoing and is vigorously contesting the lawsuit.)

Of course, we still don’t know how this case will end. The Delaware state judge overseeing the litigation still needs to rule on the parties’ summary judgment motions, where each side is claiming that their respective cases are strong enough for them to win even before a trial. The likely scenario, however, may be that the judge lets the case go to trial, set for April, at which point Fox News may regret, among many other things, it is possible that rebroadcasting election lies despite knowing better.