Fox’s Costs From Defamation Suit Lead to a Quarterly Net Loss

Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox Corporation, acknowledged on Tuesday that a Delaware judge’s pretrial ruling against the company “severely limited its defense in court,” citing a groundbreaking move brought by Dominion Voting Systems. contributed to his decision to settle the defamation lawsuit.

In a call with investors and analysts, Murdoch said the $787.5 million settlement, considered the largest in the history of defamation law, was “clearly in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. It’s a priority decision,” he said.

In remarks that echoed his father, Rupert Murdoch’s trademark defiance, he also defended the actions of Fox News officials, saying that the settlement “represents Fox to the highest standards of journalism across our network.” It will never change our commitment to, or our passion for unashamedly reporting the news of the day.”

His remarks came after Fox revealed the real-world implications of the landmark settlement. The company went to a net loss in his first three months of the year, with quarterly earnings eliminated, then partially eliminated by payments related to the settlement of a lawsuit with Dominion. , an election technology company.

Fox posted a net loss of $50 million in the quarter, compared with a profit of $290 million in the same period last year. Even though revenue increased by 18% to his $4.08 billion, the loss occurred.

Lachlan Murdoch did not directly address why he pulled Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ prime-time premier anchor, off the air shortly after the settlement was announced. Being on the sidelines of Mr. Carlson negotiating his exit from a company that allows him to work has put Fox News at the crossroads of some conservatives who accuse him of appeasing liberal critics.

“There is no change to Fox News’ programming strategy,” Murdoch said. “It’s clearly been a successful strategy and, as always, we’re adjusting our programming and lineups and that’s what we’re continuing to do.”

Fox agreed to settle on the eve of a sensational public trial that would subject Rupert Murdoch and several Star Fox anchors to harsh interrogation on the stands. It amplified unsubstantiated claims by former President Donald J. Trump that the Dominion rigged the 2020 presidential election and endorsed Democratic rival Joseph R. Biden Jr. A journalist who tried to fact-check Trump’s false claims.

Murdoch said he was happy with primetime advertiser demand, a Fox executive said. variety On Monday, it was revealed that more than 40 new advertisers have started paying for airtime at 8 p.m. since Carlson left his time slot.

However, the network’s rating has dropped significantly. For example, at 8:00 pm on Friday, Fox News finished last among cable news networks.

Regarding the Dominion lawsuit, Murdoch said he was confident in Fox’s legal position that broadcasting false allegations against Dominion is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. “As a news agency, we were always reporting on the newsworthy events of the day, including allegations made by the sitting president,” Murdoch said.

The claim was dismissed by Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis days before Dominion’s trial began. Judge Davis said the allegations made by Trump and his lawyers against Dominion were plainly false.

Fox is facing another major defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic, another election technology company. Mr. Murdoch called the case a “fundamentally different case” from Dominion’s, arguing that it “remains a full complement of First Amendment defenses.”

Fox said its advertising revenue in the first quarter of this year was up 43% from the same period last year. This is due to the growth of Super Bowl LVII, additional his NFL games, and his Tubi, an ad-supported streaming service.

“Our journalists deliver compelling news to our audience every day,” Murdoch said in his opening remarks. “Looking ahead, we are confident in the strength of the Fox brand.” added.

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