As Dominion Votings Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News rolls on toward an April trial, John Oliver took a moment Sunday night to shred Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch for creating “monsters” like Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, then trying to disavow their words.
Those words, of course, came in the form of emails and text messages, which have been steadily released in court filings from Dominion. Quite a bit has come out, so here’s what you need to know: At the end of February, Dominion docs revealed that several Fox hosts, including Ingraham and Hannity, were privately bashing election deniers that were being brought on their shows in 2020.
Among the messages: “Sidney Powell is lying,” sent from Tucker Carlson to his producer Alex Pfeiffer on Nov. 16, less than two weeks after the election, and “Sidney Powell is a bit nuts. Sorry but she is,” sent from Ingraham to Carlson and Hannity the day before.
In testimony by Rupert Murdoch released last week, the CEO admitted that Ingraham and Hannity maybe “went too far” in pushing twice-impeached former president Donald Trump’s election lies on-air.
“In their defense, of course Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham went too far. That is their whole thing,” John Oliver mocked on Sunday. “Laura delivers every monologue with the energy of a concussed PTA parent, and Hannity spews bulls— while looking like one big neck.”
But, the “Last Week Tonight” host wasn’t going to let Murdoch himself off the hook for what his employees said.
“You made these monsters, Rupert! You don’t get to act surprised!” Oliver said.
Also on Tuesday, new court filings from Dominion Voting Systems revealed that Carlson also sent texts to an unknown coworker saying, “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait.” He then sent a second message that said, “I hate him passionately.”
And at that, Oliver almost felt some sympathy for Trump — but not quite.
“I’d almost feel bad for Trump, if I wasn’t so sure he’s incapable of feeling anything besides anger, hunger, and the lower back of the nearest blonde woman,” he said.
While Fox News has not addressed these specific messages from Carlson directly, they have said that many of the messages revealed from their hosts, as well as their CEO Rupert Murdoch, are being taken out of context.
“Thanks to today’s filings, Dominion has been caught red handed using more distortions and misinformation in their PR campaign to smear FOX News and trample on free speech and freedom of the press,” Fox said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We already know they will say and do anything to try to win this case, but to twist and even misattribute quotes to the highest levels of our company is truly beyond the pale.”