Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott sounded the alarm inside the company about the financial fallout that the right-wing network would suffer if it continued fact-checking then-President Donald Trump’s lies after the 2020 election, according to messages that became public Wednesday.
In one instance, Scott emailed Meade Cooper, executive vice president of prime time programming, and laced into correspondent Eric Shawn for fact-checking Trump.
“This has to stop now,” Scott said in a December 2, 2020, message.
“This is bad for business and there is a lack of understanding what is happening in these shows,” Scott added. “The audience is furious and we are just feeding them material. Bad for business.”
The email to Cooper was revealed as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News. Like several documents made public Wednesday, the email had previously been redacted in earlier court filings. The new emails were included in a presentation that Dominion showed at a hearing last week in Wilmington, Delaware. The voting technology company publicly released the full slideshow Wednesday, per a court order.Fox News, which denies any wrongdoing, has accused Dominion of cherry-picking emails to present a self-serving narrative about what the right-wing network did after the 2020 election.
“These documents once again demonstrate Dominion’s continued reliance on cherry-picked quotes without context to generate headlines in order to distract from the facts of this case,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement. “The foundational right to a free press is at stake and we will continue to fiercely advocate for the First Amendment in protecting the role of news organizations to cover the news.”
In another email written by Scott, zinging host Dana Perino for her “dismissive tone” in November 2020 after the presidential contest, the Fox News chief disclosed that the company had “lost 25k subs from FOX NATION,” its streaming service.
In earlier court filings, the data about the Fox Nation subscriptions had been redacted.
The messages underscore the panic that gripped Fox News in the wake of the 2020 election when its viewers rebelled against the channel for accurately calling the election for President Joe Biden.
Other newly released emails showed network producers discussing how putting Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell on the air inflated ratings. At the time, Powell, Giuliani and host Lou Dobbs were promoting debunked conspiracy theories that Dominion had rigged the 2020 election by flipping millions of votes.
“Any day with Rudy and Sidney is guaranteed gold!” the Dobbs producer wrote. In another email, another Dobbs producer wrote, “to keep this alive, we really need Rudy or Sidney.”
The full email chains are not publicly available.