Fox News lost. Dominion Voting Systems won.
But did Fox viewers win? Louisiana uses Dominion voting machines. So, did Louisiana win?
It depends on who you think has been telling the truth.
We didn't get to see opening statements in Dominion's highly anticipated defamation lawsuit against Fox News, because the conservative, pro-Trump network threw in the towel at the last minute and settled — agreeing to pay Dominion $787.5 million.
Even now, without any opening statements, it's clear that Fox News knowingly promoted former President Donald Trump's Big Lie — the unfounded accusation, repeated over and over by guests on Fox's premier talk and opinion shows, that Trump actually won the 2020 election, but his victory was "stolen" by a vast conspiracy, and Dominion's voting machines played a major role in The Steal.
It was all a lie — and Fox News producers, major hosts, and even Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch knew it was a lie.
They ran with it anyway, to maintain the network's audience ratings.
No major network promoted The Big Lie — and gave it credence among Trump's' followers nationally and here in Louisiana — more than Fox.
In a very real sense, the network's viewers in Louisiana also lost when Fox agreed to pay Dominion $787.5 million to avoid having to continue with the trial.
By settling, Fox admitted no wrongdoing. Nor did the network apologize. Fox did not even allow its own media critic, Howard Kurtz, to report on the case — until the day of the settlement. Even then, Kurtz had not long to say not much. There was a settlement, and it was a big deal, he told viewers.
But by now, anyone who's paid even scant attention to the lawsuit knows that everything Fox News said about Dominion after the 2020 presidential election was part of The Big Lie.
And, by agreeing to pay Dominion so much money, Fox was held publicly accountable for knowingly allowing legal and political charlatans to repeat The Big Lie.
Donald Trump did not win. The election was not stolen from him. And Dominion played no role in any effort to sway the election to Joe Biden.
Many leading Republicans knew all of that, but they nevertheless picked up The Big Lie and repeated it. Fox aired those lies, too.
And Fox is not yet off the hook, legally. It faces a handful of other lawsuits by individuals and entities that the network, its hosts and guest vilified in service of Trump and The Big Lie.
And they all have seen the reams of documents Fox was forced to turn over to Dominion during the "discovery phase" of that lawsuit. The discovery evidence will likely lead to more damning news about how Fox ignored the truth.
You don't need to be a lawyer to know that Fox settled with Dominion to avoid a weekslong bloodbath at trial.
According to Reuters, a news agency that specializes in financial coverage, Fox's $787.5 million payment to Staple Street Capital Group LLC "is equivalent to 20 times the $38.3 million the New York-based private equity firm paid in 2018 to acquire a 76.2% stake in Dominion."
And even though Louisiana wasn't at the center of Trump's false claims about the election, The Big Lie had a major impact here.
Louisiana Republican legislators tanked Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin's effort in 2021 to modernize the state's voting systems. The lawmakers expressed "concerns" about "potential fraud" if Dominion machines would be used.
Truth is Louisiana has been using Dominion machines for years, with no significant hiccups — and no fraud. The GOP lawmakers didn't care. They wanted headlines, and they got them. They also passed a law putting the Legislature in the mix of choosing Louisiana's voting system vendors.
Now THAT'S something to be "concerned" about. Choosing the best election system vendor is the province of the state's chief elections officer. It's a basic procurement matter.
Ardoin shelved the update. He said in a statement, "I am withdrawing the (request for proposals) to spend the next few months seeking to undo the damage to voter confidence done by those who willfully spread misinformation and disinformation.”
So you see, Fox wasn't the only loser as a result of The Big Lie. The network's many loyal viewers in Louisiana, along with all Louisiana voters, also lost.
I just hope Fox viewers now realize that everything the network told them about the election and Dominion was a lie. Like Dominion, they deserve better.