2020 stolen election time! There's been some rather big developments with my favorite cute little hobby horse. I haven't had the time to make a deep-dive write-up, but it's has already been extensively reported on elsewhere (e.g. this post by Jacob Sullum). To summarize, Dominion voting systems sued Fox News (and Newsmax, and OAN) for defamation. Dominion has been past the discovery stage for more than a year now but their filings only recently became public and, no way to say this lightly, it's been extremely humiliating for Fox. Tons of text messages from the big names (Carlson, Hannity, etc.) either talking shit about how crazy Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani are, or (especially for Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo) credulously accepting and repeating the stolen election theories.
One especially funny example involved Sidney Powell credulously forwarding an email to Bartiromo from a complete rando claiming they had "Election Fraud Info". In that same email, the anonymous rando claimed that they got their information from their dreams, that the wind tells them they're a ghost, and that Justice Scalia was murdered during a human hunting expedition. As evidenced by the filings she submitted to court, Powell's skepticism faculties appear to be basically non-existent, and the fact that so many people took her seriously at first is a good illustration of the pitfalls of siloed reasoning.
Maybe the most damning revelation of how Fox was operating (from both a legal liability as well as a journalistic ethics perspective) is how they treated their fact-checking process. When Fox reporter Jacqui Heinrich tweeted on November 12 that "there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised" Carlson texted Hannity "Please get her fired. It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It's measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke." If Dominion needed to prove the actual malice (and it's not yet clear if they would need to) in a defamation case, they couldn't have asked for better evidence.
There isn't much for me to say that I haven't said before. My operating theory has long been that some people seemed to earnestly believe the crazy theories they were spouting about Hugo Chavez or whatever (e.g. Powell, Giuliani, maybe Dobbs) while many others were just pretending to entertain it because it was in their best financial interests (e.g. Carlson, Hannity, Murdoch, etc.) and the text messages confirm this. To Carlson's credit though, he endured a lot of negative pushback from his criticism of Powell.
I've already done my hand-wringing on how the media seems to love shooting itself in the foot, except it was framed in context of how liberal outlets fucked up the Covington debacle from four years ago. The Dominion lawsuit demonstrates the problem behind audience capture; Fox pundits and reporters had to deal with a credible financial pressure to cater to the crazy fringes of their audience for fear of losing them to their less scrupulous competitors. If so, it would be a demand-side problem. I'm not sure if the problem with liberal media fuck-ups follows the same framework, but I'm open to arguments. My general impression there is that the call is coming from inside the house: liberal journalists too afraid of their fellow cohort to break ranks. I suppose a good test-case scenario would be to see how NYT's current "trans youth reporting controversy" plays out. They obviously already got a severe amount of criticism from the activist fringe, but would a significant portion of their audience care? And if so, where would they go?
One last question: has anyone here ever changed their opinion on the 2020 stolen election theories?