SITE UPDATED: 2/21/24
Watch for frequent updates!



Yale 62

Fox Hole Even Deeper Than It Looks? Yale Professor Weighs In
Fox in the hole

By Lee Bolman

If you’ve been following the news even casually, you’re aware that Dominion Systems is suing Fox News for $1.6 billion, alleging that Fox repeatedly and knowingly defamed Dominion by airing false claims that Dominion’s voting machines were hacked to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump.

Fox asserts that its reporting is protected by the first amendment, bolstered by Supreme Court precedent (specifically in New York Times v. Sullivan) that erects a high protective bar for political speech in the media. The problem for Fox is that discovery has unearthed a plethora of texts and emails in which Fox anchors indicated privately that they didn’t believe much of what they were airing about election fraud, but they felt pressure to give their viewers what they wanted.

Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean at the Yale School of Management, has been visible in the media on a variety of issues, including the impact of sanctions on Russia’s economy (worse than Russia admits) and how many western companies have left Russia (more than a recent report claimed). On March 4, he appeared on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell to opine on the risks that Dominion’s suit entails for Fox and its biggest shareholder, Rupert Murdoch.

Sonnenfeld pulled no punches, describing four Fox anchors as “evil and reckless,” and asserting that the attorneys he’s talked to thinks Dominion’s case is very strong and could produce punitive damages well beyond the $1.6 billion Dominion is seeking. Even worse, Fox shareholders are mobilizing to mount a derivative suit that could cost Murdoch control of his company and might entail personal liability for board members, including Murdoch and former House Speaker Paul Ryan.

If you have thoughts about who should or will win this case, and or about Sonnenfeld’s weighing in on it, add your comments below.

6 comments to Fox Hole Even Deeper Than It Looks? Yale Professor Weighs In

  • Tucker is getting paid by Putin. It’s simple.

  • Ken Merkey

    Let’s see now, there are 3 major networks, plus CNN, MSNBC, and a few others, all of whom are left leaning, pro-Democratic. FOX is the sole major TV network that covers the right.

    On ABC, Stephanopoulos interviews cackling Kamy and does not ask her one question about the border. When was Biden’s last press conference? What happened to unity and transparency?

    Does anyone wonder why there are so few liberal talk shows and so many conservative talk shows on radio? Possibly, because liberal ideas cannot stand the light of day.

  • GEORGE SNIDER

    I believe that the Dominion lawsuit is being handled by Susman-Godfrey, our late classmate’s high-stakes litigation firm.

  • Larry Price

    This is one of those cases where we had better be careful what we wish for. Fox is hardly the first media outlet to pander to its viewers, and the Fox journalists are hardly the first members of the Fourth Estate to relate news items that they did not personally believe. That probably happens every day in DC. The purpose of the First Amendment is not to protect the best in journalism (which probably needs no protection) but rather, to protect the worst. If this suit succeeds, it will be used as a wedge by every aggrieved party who thinks his news coverage unfair, including by parties on the right.(Maybe especially by parties on the right.) We shall be diminished as a society.

  • Charles Merlis

    With apologies to coed Yale, but the US has been traditionally touted as a nation of laws and not men, which makes it great. If the Dominion law suit fails we are a rotten banana republic. Discovery has revealed a gargantuan hypocrisy in the broadcasters of FOX. Just as a lawyers who conspires with clients to break the law loses their privileges so do Newscasters lose their privileges by prevarication. Freedom of speech is not the freedom to lie for monetary or political gain. How can intelligent, worldly Yalies, continue to make excuses for atrocious behavior, especially those who fall back on the well worn two wrongs make it right thesis. My feeling is that more important than lies are, who is going to take away more of my money through taxes.

  • Charles Merlis

    With apologies to coed Yale, but the US has been traditionally touted as a nation of laws and not men, which makes it great. If the Dominion law suit fails we are a rotten banana republic. Discovery has revealed a gargantuan hypocrisy in the broadcasters of FOX. Just as lawyers who conspire with clients to break the law lose their privileges so do Newscasters lose their privileges by prevarication. Freedom of speech is not the freedom to lie for monetary or political gain. How can intelligent, worldly Yalies, continue to make excuses for atrocious behavior, especially those who fall back on the well worn two wrongs make it right thesis. My feeling is that more important than lies are, who is going to take away more of my money through taxes.

Comment