Fox News Agrees to $787.5 Million Settlement with Dominion Voting Systems to Avert Defamation Trial

Fox News agreed to pay $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems on Tuesday to avert a defamation trial in what legal experts have deemed the largest settlement ever agreed to by an American media company in a defamation legal action.


Fox News agreed to pay $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems on Tuesday to avert a defamation trial in what legal experts have deemed the largest settlement ever agreed to by an American media company in a defamation legal action.

  • Dominion claimed that Fox News “repeatedly aired allegations that the company’s voting machines were rigged against Trump in 2020 while knowing the accusations were untrue.” Had the case gone to trial, it could have revealed further internal information about Fox’s workings and dealings with former President Donald Trump or even redefined American libel law.
  • Dominion alleged in its lawsuit that Fox leadership began to knowingly spread lies and conspiracy theories about 2020 election fraud in a panicked ploy to stop losing viewers to rival right-wing networks like Newsmax. “The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” said Dominion attorney Justin Nelson after the settlement was made public.
  • The $787.5 million settlement is about half of the $1.6 billion in damages Dominion sought in the lawsuit. Dominion was valued at about $226 million in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election.
  • “Fox has admitted to telling lies about Dominion that caused enormous damage to my Company, our employees, and our customers. Nothing can ever make up for that,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said after the settlement was announced.
  • Fox News said in a statement that it “acknowledges the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false” without elaborating further. Before the trial began, Judge Eric Davis has already ruled that claims against Dominion aired on Fox “had already been proven false.”
  • While Fox has defused the Dominion lawsuit, it has another legal threat waiting in the wings. Smartmatic, another voting technology company, has filed a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against the network over its coverage of baseless claims of election rigging in the 2020 presidential race.
  • Smartmatic “alleges in its lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court that the defendants knowingly spread false claims that its software was used to flip votes. Conspiracy theorists erroneously claimed Smartmatic owned Dominion, and the companies mounted similar allegations in their lawsuits.”


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The Washington Post reported Fox News’ $787.5 million payment to Dominion Voting Systems is “the largest publicly disclosed monetary settlement ever in an American defamation action.”
  • CNN compiled the 20 tweets and statements from Fox News personalities that Dominion alleged were defamatory lies knowingly promoted to destroy its reputation. The comments all took place between November 8, 2020, and January 26, 2021. The statements were made by Fox hosts Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs, and Maria Bartiromo and by guests Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Lindell.
  • The New York Times noted the Fox-Dominion settlement was the top story on every network except one: Fox News. The network covered the settlement for six minutes on Monday on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” but otherwise it went unmentioned that the network has to cough up three-quarters of a billion dollars for airing what Fox media analyst Howard Kurtz called “obviously false…conspiracy theories” about the 2020 election.



  • Fox News published one news article about the settlement and the lawsuit, which the article derided as “media fodder.” Fox News was the only site sourced in this piece that did not feature the story prominently on its homepage.
  • The Wall Street Journal noted the presiding judge “had already concluded that Fox News and Fox Business did in fact broadcast false claims about Dominion, voiced by both network hosts and Trump associates. Fox in a statement acknowledged the judge’s findings.” Fox characterized the settlement as a piece of their “continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards.”
  • National Review characterized the settlement as a decision where Fox “finally bows to the inevitable” and “cuts losses” for a case that has been “something of a black hole in conservative media discussion — “Look away, for pity’s sake!” — a disgraceful situation everyone is quietly mortified by.” A settlement allows Fox News to avoid additional “humiliating revelations churned up during the discovery process, where multiple FNC hosts were revealed to be cynical hypocrites knowingly soft-selling preposterous and ultimately civically destructive lies to their audience for no better reason than that they were afraid of losing said audience to rivals.”


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© Dominic Moore, 2023