Investors of Fox News were told last Tuesday that the corporation was planning no change to their programming strategy despite its decision to take Tucker Carlson off the air.
Explaining the reason for this, Lachlan Murdoch, the executive chairman of the Fox Corporation, conceded on Tuesday that a Delaware judge’s pretrial rulings against the company “severely limited our defense at trial” and contributed to his decision to settle the landmark defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems.
The $787.5 million settlement, which is believed to be the largest in the history of defamation law, is “a decision clearly in the best interest of the company and its shareholders,” he said.
He also defended the conduct of Fox News personnel, saying the settlement “in no way alters Fox’s commitment to the highest journalistic standards across our networks, or our passion for unabashedly reporting the news of the day.”
Fox swung to a net loss of $50 million for the quarter, compared with earnings of $290 million during the same period last year. The loss came despite revenue increase of 18 percent, to $4.08 billion.
Lachlan Murdoch did not explain his reasons for taking Tucker Carlson, Fox News’s top-rated prime time anchor, off the air shortly after the settlement was announced.
“There’s no change to our programming strategy at Fox News,” Mr. Murdoch said. “It’s obviously a successful strategy, and as always, we are adjusting our programming and our lineup, and that’s what we continue to do.”
Fox agreed to settle on the eve of a sensational public trial that would probably have exposed Rupert Murdoch and several star Fox anchors to harsh questioning on the stand.
Fox faces another major defamation suit from another election technology firm, Smartmatic. Mr. Murdoch called that lawsuit “a fundamentally different case” than the Dominion litigation and asserted that “our full complement of First Amendment defenses remain.”