Scathing parody mocks Fox News’ 'business model' following $787.5 million Dominion settlement
On Tuesday morning, April 18, numerous journalists got out of bed thinking they would be spending weeks covering the trial for Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News. But that was before reporters learned that there wouldn't be a trial, as Dominion and Fox had reached a settlement — and defendant Fox agreed to pay plaintiff Dominion $787.5 million.
Dominion sued Fox News for promoting the false, repeatedly debunked conspiracy theory that its voting equipment was used to help President Joe Biden steal the 2020 presidential election from former President Donald Trump. And Dominion presented, as evidence, actual text messages and e-mails from Fox News employees who acknowledged that those claims were nonsense but promoted them on the air anyway.
In an official statement, Fox News said, "This settlement reflects Fox's continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards." CNN's Jake Tapper found the "highest journalistic standards" part so hilarious that he struggled to maintain his composure while reading the statement on the air.
READ MORE: Watch: Jake Tapper cannot control his laughter when mentioning Fox News' 'highest journalistic standards'
In a parody column published on April 20, Washington Post opinion writer Alexandra Petri portrays a Fox News exec who is sending a post-settlement internal memo out to company employees. And her column is as humorous as it is scathing.
"After our settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, although we here at Fox News and Fox Corp. are sad to see those 787.5 million dollars go — those were some of our favorite dollars! — we are holding up our heads with pride!" Petri writes. "Yes, the Dominion lawsuit revealed some ugly truths about how we do business, but not to our viewers! And that’s the important thing! No matter what, we do not have to apologize on-air for any of our outright lies about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election!"
Petri continues, "Still, we have decided to make some changes around here. Stop lying to our viewers? No! As those Dominion court filings revealed, that is our business model, and we happily paid a fee to continue doing just that! But we will be instituting a few reforms at this news-ish network."
The columnist goes on to explain what those "changes" are.
READ MORE: Dominion settlement imperils Fox News' far-right rivals
"We will be instituting a test for potential anchors where we ask them to read a series of increasingly outrageous statements," Petri says. "If applicants wince or appear to experience cognitive dissonance, we will send them packing. It's no longer good enough to lie to viewers; you need to not know you're doing it!"
Petri also has some laughs at the expense of Fox News' far-right viewers.
The columnist writes, "That $787 million is not chicken feed; have you ever tried feeding a dollar bill to a chicken?.... The last thing we can afford to do now is alienate our viewers! So, we have to figure out what it is our viewers like to hear and tell them more of whatever that is!"
Petri continues, "By implementing these simple policies, we can ensure that Fox continues successfully impersonating a news network for decades to come — or until the end of the republic, whichever comes first! Thank you for your cooperation! Please eat this message."
READ MORE: 'License to lie': Media Matters scorches Fox News' settlement with Dominion
Read Alexandra Petri's full Washington Post opinion column at this link (subscription required).
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