Guest: Political strategist Simon Rosenberg; Also: A horrible week in court for Fox 'News' is a very good week for American democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2023, 6:41pm PT  

Today on The BradCast we talk with one of the few folks who got it right in 2022, when arguing that the data in the run-up to the midterms did not suggest a "red wave" would be coming for Republicans. Naturally, he was dismissed by the corporate media at the time. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first up, it's been a really really rough legal week for Fox "News", as jury selection in the $1.6 billion defamation suit they are facing from Dominion Voting Systems is supposed to begin tomorrow. We'll see if that happens. But we begin today with an explanation of why this case is so important and why Fox is now, arguably, the most dangerous institution in America (and, potentially, the world.) It's not due to their Republican politics, but due to the danger their propaganda poses to democracy itself.

Relatedly, over the weekend Fox reportedly settled with a Venezuelan businessman who sued the Republican propaganda outlet for having falsely named him on air as having participated in a scheme to steal the 2020 election from the former President. The terms of the settlement are undisclosed. But, given the evidence revealed so far in the Dominion lawsuit, it's safe to assume Fox likely paid a whole lotta money to make that other guy's suit go away.

On Tuesday in the Dominion case, Judge Eric Davis issued several pre-trial rulings, limiting what Fox could argue in court. Among them was that Fox would not be allowed to argue that the false claims they aired about the 2020 election being rigged against Trump were only made because Fox believed them to be "newsworthy" at the time. (They didn't, as evidence has already shown. They were lying about that on air.) Judge Davis was also furious to learn only this week that Fox lied to both Dominion and the court about Fox Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch's position as an officer at Fox "News", where he apparently serves as "executive chair" but failed multiple times to report as much.

On Wednesday, Judge Davis sanctioned Fox after it became clear they had withheld evidence that should have been turned over during discovery long ago. He stated he was launching a third-party investigation of the circumstances and was concerned about "very serious" "misrepresentations to the court," later adding: "I need people to tell me the truth. And by the way, omission is a lie." All not a very good way for Fox to begin a defamation case regarding their alleged lies.

But also, there was this: A Fox Corp. shareholder has now filed a lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch, his son Lachlan, and several Fox Corp. board members, due to their "decision to chase viewers by promoting the false stolen election claims [which] has exposed the Company to public ridicule and negatively impacted the credibility of Fox News." The shareholder, Robert Schwarz, charges that "FOX knew --- from the Board on down --- that Fox News was reporting false and dangerous misinformation ... [and] ... was more concerned about short-term ratings and market share than the long-term damages of its failure to tell the truth."

For those who may remember my interview in February with Media Matters CEO Angelo Carusone, this is exactly the type of shareholder lawsuit for violation of fiduciary duty that he predicted would come in the wake of Dominion's suit. And here they come. Bloomberg Law reports more are likely on the way. "They won't be able to sustain that from a financial perspective" Carusone predicted on the show in late February, noting that the "cascading effects" from the voting machine company's lawsuit "puts control of the company in jeopardy." Good.

Then, we're joined by SIMON ROSENBERG, longtime political strategist, creator and President of NDN/New Policy Institute, and now creator and publisher of the "Hopium Chronicles" newsletter. We've got a lot too deep dive with Rosenberg about. Along with another favorite guest of ours, Tom Bonier of TargetSmart, Rosenberg led the way last year in arguing that, contrary to claims from Republicans and misleading reporting by corporate media, data clearly suggested there was unlikely to be a "red wave" in the 2022 midterms. He was right. There wasn't. But that didn't prevent folks like FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver from accusing him at the time of relying on "hopium" in his analysis.

Now Rosenberg is gathering allies for a new project he describes as "Get to 55". As he details today, it's an effort to grow the Democratic and pro-democracy coalition to increase the Democratic President's victory margin from 51.4% in 2020 to 55% in 2024 and keep it there for a while. "It may be the only way we’re going to get the Republicans to abandon MAGA and become a more traditional center-right party," he recently wrote. Getting to 55%, he argued, "will be good for Democrats of course, but it will also be good for the country and the long-term future of the Republican Party itself."

Part of that strategy includes pulling in both disaffected Republican Never Trumpers and, especially, young voters into the Democratic coalition. What young voters pulled off last week, through a concerted effort to successfully help flip the Wisconsin Supreme Court to a liberal majority for the first time in 15 years, serves as a great object lesson in how it can be done. That remarkable effort resulted in a jaw-dropping 11-point win for the Supreme Court candidate endorsed by the Democrats and for what Republicans were describing the next day as "a five-alarm warning to Republicans about 2024."

But, while increasing turnout of young voters is one thing, will working with Never Trumpers like Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney force the Dems off of more popular, progressive policies in order to win over that 55% coalition? Tune in for Rosenberg's thoughts on that and much more on today's BradCast!...


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