Fox opposes other reporters trying to uncover documents

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News is opposing a renewed effort by three news agencies to unseal documents related to its recently settled libel lawsuit, saying it would do nothing but “gratify private grudge or promote public scandal”.

The Associated Press, New York Times and National Public Radio asked a Delaware judge earlier this week to reveal mostly private text messages and conversations between Fox employees shortly after the 2020 presidential election. he information was uncovered during the Dominion Voting Systems trial.

Fox attorney Katharine L. Mowery, in a letter sent to Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis and accepted by the court on Thursday, said much of the material sought by its competitors was irrelevant for trial issues.

Some of the vast trove of evidence that Dominion has gathered has already been published and found to be newsworthy, showing that Fox hosts and executives did not believe the false claims on Dominion’s voting equipment, but continued to broadcast them. Some messages revealed former Fox host, Tucker Carlson’s contempt for former President Donald Trump, including a text where he declared: “I hate him passionately”.

“They weren’t shy about sharing the communications most likely to make headlines,” Mowery wrote of media outlets challenging the sealed documents.

One of the reasons Fox agreed to settle the case was to “buy peace and end the media spectacle,” she wrote.

David McCraw, senior vice president and assistant general counsel of The New York Times, said the paper was disappointed with Fox’s continued opposition.

“Fox attorneys argue that unsealing court documents will harm journalism and undermine the First Amendment, when in fact the best interests of the public and journalism are served by judicial transparency, not secrecy.” , said McCraw.

While it’s normal for journalists to want as much information as possible made public, it’s also no surprise that Fox wants to keep it secret, said Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism in the University of Maryland.

“I would be shocked if Fox said, ‘Sure, let me give it to you, have fun,'” Dalglish said.

Fox may be concerned that some of the hidden information could serve as fodder for further legal action, she said, and would not want to release it unless ordered by the court. Fox said much of the material was redacted because it contained proprietary information about the company.

The continued relevance of the material was evident this week, when a Times article quoted a racist text message from Carlson saying that a group of Trump supporters beating up a protester was “not the way white men fight.” The newspaper hinted that the message may have played a role in Fox’s decision last week to late carlson.

His text was part of the cache of Dominion documents that had been sealed from the public. The Times said the contents of the text were leaked in interviews with several people familiar with the libel suit. Fox’s attorney cited the story in his letter to Davis.

Mowery pointed out that Dominion’s trial had come to an end, but the news agency’s lawyers said that did not render their request for disclosure moot.

It’s unclear when Davis might reign. He previously cited the settlement as the reason for ending an investigation he ordered into Fox’s unwillingness to produce certain evidence in the case.

Fox agreed last month to pay $787 million to end the deal. Dominion had accused the network of repeatedly spreading false allegations that his voting equipment rigged the 2020 election against Trump, despite knowing these claims were false.

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