"Industrial-scale defamation is not free speech," our guest on today's BradCast insists, as very real accountability for many liars and scoundrels and fake news con-artists on the Right gets closer with each passing day. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
FIRST: The forewoman of the Special Grand Jury in Georgia which recently completed its work in Fulton County, suggests multiple people have been recommended to District Attorney Fani Willis for indictment. "It is not a short list," teases Emily Kohrs about who her panel suggested to Willis should be charged in the investigation of the attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election in the Peach State by Donald Trump and his top supporters. While Kohrs did not offer specific names, she did say, "you're not going to be shocked. It's not rocket science," before offering other somewhat cryptic --- if tantalizing --- hints.
NEXT: More accountability for right-wing liars. In this case, James O'Keefe, the Republican activist and scam-artist who initially made his name in 2010 by releasing deceptively edited videos which falsely suggested he dressed up as a 70s-era Blaxploitation pimp to walk into ACORN offices for advice on sex trafficking and how to avoid taxes. In fact, he never dressed as a pimp in those office, and never received any such advice. (See our full Special Coverage here.) Years --- and millions of dollars of dark-money later --- O'Keefe is now reportedly out at Project Veritas, his own ironically-named fake news and entrapment organization. Its Board of Directors detailed "financial malfeasance" by O'Keefe, and claims that he bullied staffers. Yes, the scammer who bilked Rightwingers out of millions, using hidden video "stings" to pretend to be a journalist uncovering "waste, fraud and corruption" on the Left, is seemingly undone by his own waste, fraud and corruption. Go figure.
THEN: We're joined by ANGELO CARUSONE, President and CEO of media watchdog Media Matters for America, to discuss Dominion Voting's $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox "News", after the network's executives, hosts and guests repeatedly offered massive lies to their audience about election fraud following the 2020 Presidential election.
Of course, like us, Carusone has been watching Fox lie on air for years now. So, is there something different this time around? Carusone explains why he believes the revelations from hundreds of insider texts, emails and depositions in Dominion's redacted 192-page brief [PDF], released last week in its motion for summary judgement against Fox, is seemingly very different from the lies that Fox has been caught telling in the past.
We discuss how "for so long the commercial media enabled Fox," allowing it to be regarded as an actual news organization, when it is not. Non-Rightwing corporate media outfits "actually enabled Fox News in a way, by treating them as anything other than the partisan political operation that we all know they are." Carusone argues that what is revealed in the Dominion brief "is so incontrovertible that even the enablers can't engage in the type of enabling --- or even just silence --- that they previously had for too long."
We discuss the "hypocrisy" of Fox' First Amendment defense and their claims that Dominion has "cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context," given that cherry-picking out of context quotes is actually the Fox 'News' business model!
We discuss what the hell happened to formerly respectable --- before joining Fox --- financial news reporters like Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs, who seemed to lead the coverage of phony 2020 fraud claims at the network by featuring Trump's loony attorneys like Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani as guests, despite the fact that they had offered less than zero evidence in support of outrageous claims that Dominion's voting systems flipped millions of votes to steal the election for Joe Biden from Trump.
And, perhaps most crucially, we discuss what may happen if Fox loses this one, and how a judgement of $1.6 billion may be the least of the company's problems. "It's not just going to end at the $1.6 billion," says Carusone, "because what ends up happening is that shareholders themselves then begin to sue for breach of fiduciary duty. Because it's very apparent that the Murdochs made misrepresentations about the nature of this litigation for quite some time." While losing the case means losing a lot of money, Carusone argues, "it will set them up for additional litigation that will compound the problem. They won't be able to sustain that from a financial perspective. It puts control of the company in jeopardy."
Additionally, he explains, it will weaken their position with cable companies, from whom Fox currently receive the bulk of its revenue, particularly as advertisers have fled their toxic air to the point where MyPillow guy, Mike Lindell, is now their single largest client. "It's sort of like a Jenga puzzle," Carusone tells me. "Pulling one block is not going to topple it down, but it's certainly going to make it a lot more vulnerable to toppling. And this one is a pretty key part of that piece --- just the tiniest little breeze will probably knock the rest of it over."
FINALLY: We're joined by Desi Doyen for our 14th ANNIVERSARY Green News Report! Yes, we are now officially in our 15th year of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting the global climate crisis dots over your public airwaves! All thanks, by the way, only to the support of listeners like you!...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)