Fox News Emails Show CEO Felt Fact-Checking Trump Was ‘Bad for Business’

“This has to stop now,” Suzanne Scott wrote in a message to another executive

Suzanne Scott and Donald Trump (Fox News and Getty Images)
Suzanne Scott and Donald Trump (Fox News and Getty Images)

Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott instructed journalists to not fact-check Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election, saying it “has to stop now.” It’s the latest update in the news organization’s ongoing defamation battle with Dominion Voting Systems. 

During a hearing earlier in March, Dominion Voting Systems, which is suing Fox News for a whopping $1.6 billion, shared with the members of the court a slide show with responses and emails that included messages from Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott to executive VP of primetime programming Meade Cooper urging for Fox News reporters and anchors to no longer fact-check Trump. 

The email to Cooper was previously redacted in earlier court filings, and the latest emails were presented at a hearing last week in Wilmington, Delaware. The slides were first reported by Media Matters for America

“I’m going to address this with you and Jay and Lowell tomorrow,” the email, which was sent on December 2, 2020, read. “This is about the tone and delivery of the correspondent, it has nothing to do with fact checking,” Fox said in a statement.

The emails were made public on Wednesday by the tech company.

“This is bad business and there clearly is a lack of understanding what is happening in these shows,” another message said. “The audience is furious and we are just feeding them material. Bad for business.”

In another slide, Dominion showcased an email from Scott saying the company’s “talent must stop disrespecting” its audience, and sharing that if the employee “don’t get it, they don’t deserve the scale of” the platform. 

Fox News journalists like anchor Eric Shawn have gone against Trump’s claims on air several times.

Fox News denies any wrongdoing, saying the comments in the slides were misinterpreted and do not represent the company’s editorial decisions. 

“These documents once again demonstrate Dominion’s continued reliance on cherry-picked quotes without context to generate headlines in order to distract from the facts of this case,” the network said in a statement to TheWrap. “The foundational right to a free press is at stake and we will continue to fiercely advocate for the First Amendment in protecting the role of news organizations to cover the news.”

The news outlet continued in a statement: “This is not about fact checking – the issue at hand is one host calling out another.”