In an advertisement, VoteVets claims documents from an ongoing lawsuit prove Fox hosts knew they were spreading lies about the 2020 presidential election that harmed troops.
Citing these documents, a U.S. military veterans group launched an advertising campaign calling for a ban on airing Fox News at military bases.
The lawsuit alleges that Fox News hosts aired lies about Dominion’s voting machines, claiming they switched votes from former President Donald Trump to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
Dominion says it was defamed by Fox News as it repeated the falsehoods from Trump and others that Dominion’s voting equipment fraudently elected Biden.
In particular, Dominion says transcripts from internal communications at Fox News show its hosts and executives knew the claims were false but chose to air them anyway.
This is a key point in the lawsuit because in the 1964 ruling in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution requires proof of “actual malice,” saying damages could be recovered only if it could be proven that a statement was made with “knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”
In the VoteVets advertisement, a narrator can be heard saying, “The most valuable weapon to the enemy is disinformation. That’s why the Pentagon spends hundreds of millions training our troops to resist it.”
“Yet at the same time, the U.S. military uses taxpayer funded facilities to broadcast disinformation on military bases, knowingly letting false propaganda infiltrate the ranks,” it continues.
The advertisement calls out several names at Fox News and features quotations from their communications that Dominion says proves they knew they were broadcasting falsehoods.
“Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity have open access to spread their conspiracy theories to U.S. troops,” it says. “And now we know they know they were lies just to boost their ratings.”
The quotes it uses are these:
Carlson: “Trump is a demonic force. He can easily destroy us if we play it wrong.”
Hannity: “Rudy (Giuliani) is acting like an insane person.”
Ingraham: “Such an idiot.”
Bret Baier: “There is no evidence of fraud.”
Rupert Murdoch, Fox News owner: “(Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham) should independently or together say something like the election is over and Joe Biden won.”
“It’s information warfare that divides the troops, hurts unit cohesion, weakens our readiness and threatens our national security,” the advertisement says.
It goes on to claim that one in seven of the hundreds of people charged with crimes in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol had military backgrounds.
Fox News disagrees with the assertions in the Dominion lawsuit.
“Dominion’s lawsuit has always been more about what will generate headlines than what can withstand legal and factual scrutiny,” the network said, according to The Hill.