CNN's Jake Tapper struggled to hold in his laughter while reading Fox News' settlement statement on Tuesday, following the network's $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems.
"This is gonna be difficult to say with a straight face," the CNN host said, struggling to hold back laughter as he read off Fox's self-proclaimed commitment to "the highest journalistic standards."
"We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems," the network's statement read. "We acknowledge the Court's rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects FOX's continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues."
This statement comes after Fox admitted to broadcasting false claims about the voting software company just ahead of what would have been a landmark defamation trial set to begin on Tuesday. According to Tapper, the network tried to put a "positive face on what can only be interpreted as one of the ugliest and most embarrassing moments in the history of journalism."
Prior to the settlement, Dominion had been pursuing $1.6 billion in damages against the right-wing news network over allegations that Fox pushed false claims implicating the voting technology company in a conspiracy to "steal" the election from former President Donald Trump.
The trial, which would have been one of the most important in the history of First Amendment law, ended abruptly after news of the settlement reached the courtroom following jury selection on Tuesday.
"The parties have resolved this case," presiding Judge Eric Davis told jurors in his Wilmington, Delaware, courtroom. "Without you, the parties would not have been able to resolve their situation. … Although it's short, not the six weeks you've expected, you have done your duty. The case has been resolved."
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MSNBC host Joe Scarborough echoed Tapper's sentiments about the settlement.
"This is what happens when you have a 93-year-old man running a company, and everybody's just a yes man to him," Scarborough said, according to Mediaite. "I can't believe Murdoch 20 years ago would have settled this months ago."
He said that Fox had "[humiliated] everybody at the network" by attempting to fight the case only to settle at the last second, especially after bruising evidence -- including exchanges between Fox News hosts and executives stating that they did not believe the false claims aired on the network following the 2020 election -- cast doubt on their top people.
Though Fox has dodged the heat of what would have been a widely publicized trial with Dominion, the network is still in hot water as it faces a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic. The voting software and hardware company also alleges that Fox News defamed it with false allegations of election fraud in 2020.
Dominion's team, however, celebrated the settlement as a victory.
"The truth matters, lies have consequences," Dominion lawyer Justin Nelson said.
"Fox has admitted to telling lies about Dominion that caused enormous damage to my company, our employees, and the customers that we serve," added Dominion CEO John Poulos.
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