Trump tried to call in to Fox News as the Capitol riot unfolded but the network refused to put him on air, new filing claims
- Donald Trump tried to call into Fox News as the Capitol riot unfolded, a court filing claims.
- Network executives refused to put him on air as they thought it would be “irresponsible.”
- The claims were part of Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against the network.
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Donald Trump tried to call into Fox News on January 6, 2021, as his supporters stormed the Capitol building, but the network refused to put him on air, according to a new court filing.
Network executives believed “it would be irresponsible to put him on the air” and that it “could impact a lot of people in a negative way,” the filings notes, citing testimony from Fox Business Network President Lauren Petterson.
The revelation was made in a 200-page Thursday filing by Dominion Voting Systems lawyers as part of their defamation lawsuit against the network.
The House select committee that investigated the January 6 attack did not know that Trump had made the call to Lou Dobbs’ Fox Business Network show, a source told CNN.
Dobbs’ show, which he frequently used to peddle election fraud conspiracy theories, was canceled weeks after the insurrection.
Dominion lawyers wrote in the filing: “The afternoon of January 6, after the Capitol came under attack, then-President Trump dialed into Lou Dobbs’ show attempting to get on air. But Fox executives vetoed that decision. Why? Not because of a lack of newsworthiness. January 6 was an important event by any measure. President Trump not only was the sitting president, he was the key figure that day.”
The lawyers argue that while the network chose not to put Trump on air because it was irresponsible and could negatively impact people, this did not stop them from airing a conspiracy theory that the election-technology company helped rig the 2020 presidential election.
“Not only did the charges severely impact Dominion and its employees, they were based on verifiable falsehoods that any accurate and disinterested reporting would have mentioned,” the filing said.
Dominion’s lawsuit, which is seeking $1.6 billion in damages, alleges the network chose to air election fraud claims to serve its commercial interests and that this led to Dominion being vilified and its employees facing harassment and death threats.
Fox News has defended itself, arguing that it fairly reported on the massive news story that the sitting president of the United States was making claims of widespread voter fraud.
“Dominion’s motion for summary judgment takes an extreme and unsupported view of defamation law and rests on an accounting of the facts that has no basis in the record,” a Fox News spokesperson told Insider about Thursday’s court filing.
“Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context, and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-letter principles of defamation law.”
The lengthy court filing also cites text messages between Fox News hosts and executives in which they privately mocked pro-Trump election fraud conspiracy theories, despite continuing to air them.