Fox News’ Howard Kurtz calls Dominion lawsuit a ‘major test of the First Amendment’
Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz said Sunday that the defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems against the network is a “major test of the First Amendment,” just weeks after announcing that Fox would not let him cover the case.
“Legally, Dominion must prove Fox acted with malice or reckless disregard for the truth. There was, to be sure, straight reporting by the news division, which also caused some friction,” Kurtz said on his “MediaBuzz” show Sunday.
“But the fact that some people in the chain of command privately dismissed the fraid claims as nuts or outlandish or insane doesn’t necessarily mean Fox couldn’t cover and comment on the extremely newsworthy spectacle of a president saying an election was stolen. That’s why this case is a major test of the First Amendment,” he said.
Dominion Voting Systems is pursuing a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox, arguing that the network defamed the company by airing claims from former President Trump and is allies that the machines were used for election fraud in now-President Biden’s favor.
Court filings have shown top Fox figures privately dismissed the claims even as the network amplified them.
Kurtz told his viewers two weeks ago that Fox was not allowing him to cover the case.
“Some of you have been asking why I’m not covering the Dominion voting machines case against Fox involving the unproven claims of election fraud in 2020,” Kurtz said at the time “It’s absolutely a fair question. I believe I should be covering it, it’s a major media story, given my role here at Fox.”
Kurtz on Sunday said on Twitter that Fox is “taking a hit from Dominion’s filings showing a gap between public & private comments,” but argued the network has a “vigorous” defense with the First Amendment, which protects the right to free speech.
“Now that all the legal filings are in and a judge in Delaware will give consideration this month to whether the case goes to trial, it’s time for me to weigh in,” Kurtz said in his segment.
“I’m not sugarcoating the allegations in this $1.6 billion suit, or the fact that Fox has taken a hit in the court of public opinion. But there was a crucial First Amendment argument here involving the coverage of unsubstantiated claims of 2020 election fraud by Donald Trump and his allies.”
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