Money Talks As Possible Legal Precedents Are Avoided

I’m not going to lie. I was really looking forward to seeing Rupert Murdoch, Tucker Carlson and Shawn Hannity cross-examined in the Dominion lawsuit. It’s proof that money talks and bullshit still walks. But in this case, Fox News spread the bullshit so thick they could’ve been held more liable if they weren’t a set of high-priced and experienced lawyers basically arguing the Obi-Won Kenobi quote, “Who’s more foolish – the fool or the fool who follows?

Libel is a very hard case to prove. If a news medium reports something that is false from a credit source, but they don’t know it’s false, they’re not technically liable. If it’s proven to be false and they print or issue a correction or clarification, then they’re not technically liable because they’re admitting they reported the information they believed to be right when they were told it was right. But now, they’re reporting that it’s wrong. Sometimes, they have to issue a huge retraction. It happens. When I worked in Americus, Ga., the Georgia State Patrol refused to give us any reports without going through a Freedom of Information Act request. The Americus Police Department was the same and somethings the county sheriff did the same thing.

Sometimes, it’s best to have the law officer’s report to back up what is reported. Sometimes it’s because I think some of them can’t write a report worth a flip, they’re afraid of it being exposed. But a fourth grade student trying to bluff a book report of Superfudge could write a more coherent report sometimes. Even thought it was in 2009 and I hadn’t heard someone say the term since the Elder Bush vomited in front of the Japanese Prime Minister, I read a report were a confidential informant was an “Oriental.” Why a good lawyer didn’t get the entire case thrown out on that word alone, I won’t know?

How you construct a news story is how your cover your own ass. You may have to use a lot of phrases such as, “according to court documents,” “accused of,” “allegedly,” “charged,” and “police report” but it’s worth it. Whenever some loser who choked his own girlfriend and gave her two black eyes or they found a whole of child pornography on his iPhone, it’s best to protected until they can be adjudicated and hopefully convicted. The grey area in the Dominion lawsuit was at which point did Fox News know there was no way the Dominion voting machines were “rigged” and when did they suspect that Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell were “just whistling dixie.”

Any respectful media would’ve ran the story once. Trump, Powell, or Giuliani would’ve said it. A reporter or producer would’ve contacted a rep from Dominion and asked them the question and reported their response. And that would be that. If there was any concrete evidence (which there wasn’t, because it didn’t happen), they’re might be a follow-up. But this was a story they hammered on and on about.

They talked so much about it that on Jan. 6, 2021, a bunch of people felt the desire to make it more true by overthrowing an election. I’m sure people at Fox News were worried what would happen next. Rumor has it the Tulsa media encourage the Tulsa Race Massacre that newpapers ran with the headline to lynch the black man accused, even though they used a certain racial slur. People at Fox News knew good and well it wasn’t true. That’s where the libel comes in, even though they said since it was Trump and Giuliani saying this, it carried more weight.

That’s a maybe, but you still have to draw the line somewhere. Eventually, it becomes nothing more than ranting. And Fox News kept allowing them back on the air. It’s been reported that Fox News on-air talent Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro are likely to be let go as they were some of the ones who kept this story alive. Dan Bongino is already reported to have gotten the axe. And despite what he’s try to say about contract negotiations, we really know why he’s leaving.

Sadly, it won’t really affect Fox News as they’re likely to write some of the $787 million off and as Tucker Carlson received some of its highest viewers last week, they still got the advertiser dollars. And that’s what I think Murdoch was really afraid of. Testimony becomes public record. They can keep some stuff private and as long as it’s not spoken in the court, it’s becomes less believable. It’s a shame it went down this way but I’m not surprised. There’s no telling how much Murdoch and Fox News could’ve lost in ad revenue through a long lengthy trial.

With this settlement, they’re able to shift the blame on to the on-air talent and push them out saving money. And while Carlson and Hannity can walk away clean, advertisers can still buy time on their shows. I’m sure they can find any conservative talking head to report something on the air at a fraction of what they had to pay the others. It’s a win-win for them at the end of the day. But at 92, it’s a wonder how much more piss and vinegar Murdoch has in him. What’s going to happen to the station when he’s gone? Or even more importantly, when people stop tuning in?

In other legal news, the criminal case against Alec Baldwin was dismissed as it was revealed that the investigators and prosecutors may have overlooked the prop gun he was holding had been modified. Baldwin has claimed that he didn’t pull the trigger when the gun discharged and fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded Rust director Joel Souza. Baldwin had been charged with two counts of involunatary manslaughter. A firearm enhancement charge had been dropped after it was ruled unconstitutional.

Hanna Guiterrez-Reed is still charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter as she was the armourer for the production of the movie. In many ways, I feel the Office of the Sante Fe District Attorney’s Office of Mary Carmack-Altwies was just a little too eager to charge Baldwin before thinking it out. If Baldwin was told it was a “cold gun” (meaning it didn’t have live rounds) by David Halls, the assistant director, he wouldn’t have any reason to believe so it could harm someone. If he was to told to aim the gun at the camera and it went off, he was just following directions.

The way I look at it is this, on Friday, I went to get two front tires put in. If the people at the tire place didn’t screw the bolts on properly and as I went down the road a tire came loose and it caused an accident or it caused my Ford Escape to hit another vehicle or someone, how I would have known it was unsafe? I put my trust in the people at the tire place. They are liable. This thing happened at another area tire place (not the one I went to) many years ago when I was working at the newspaper because I read the report.

Halls has entered a plea deal for a six-month sentence and he probably should’ve double-checked, but saying “Cold gun,” he took the responsibility that it had no live rounds. Civil case are still pending and who knows what’s going to happen. Somehow a live round got in the revolver cylinder. Baldwin is still being sued and the case was dismissed without prejudice which means he can be charged again but it’s unlikely now.

But this begs a question, where does the level of responsibility begin and where does it end. As a producer on the set, some say Baldwin had more responsibility. But producers have different duties on movie sets. Some actors get producer credits just because it helps secure more funding. Or they may own the rights to a script or a movie rights to a book or play to be adapted but don’t want to be as hands-on or involved. Or they may have been involved earlier in the production but they had to leave to work on another movie production. That is reportedly the case with the Russo Brothers who helped get Everything Everywhere All at Once off the ground, but it also explains why they weren’t listed as producers nominated for Best Picture Oscars.

But ask yourself, could your own employer be criminally charged in the event of an accident, injury or death? Maybe this is why the Republican Party is stalling on acting Labor Secretary Julie Su. Employers cut corners at every cost. If they have employees who are doing things that could be dangerous, at one point, they have to put their foot down and say, precautions have to be made. Something as simple as changing a flourescent light bulb in an office workspace can go wrong if the ladder isn’t steady or someone gets a bad cut on the glass. This is why many corporations have the right maintenance workers to do it.

There’s always room for human error. But if workers are doing everything they should, but there is still an unsafe enviroment, can’t the employers be held criminally liable? Take for instance, the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas. While I don’t think it’ll ever happen because it’s in Texas, but what would happen at another location in a more blue state where people die or becoming permanently disabled from unsafe conditions? Can the local D.A. or even state’s attorney general step in and file criminal charges?

We’re currently in the spring season where tornadoes and thunderstorms are at their worst. What if an employer refuses to allow workers to seek shelter until it’s too late. Isn’t this manslaughter? Why should it be handled in civil court? I’ve heard some people say that on Sept. 11, 2001, some employers didn’t evacuate the World Trade Center until it was too late.

Actions have consequences. This is the grey that probably has a lot of employers, like Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) shitting bricks. Mullin doesn’t seem likely to approve Su or any Labor secretary under President Biden because he owns and operates Mullin Plumbing which has come under fire in the past for the employment of Tim Saylor in 2009, who had a preview weapons felony conviction. Mullin said he had no previous knowledge of the conviction.

That may be true but most employers ask if you’ve had any previous convictions and for good cause, they don’t want to be held liable for anything that could happen in the workplace. If there was someone who was convicted of a sex crime, I definitely wouldn’t want to wok alongside them. I also wouldn’t want any woman to work alongside this person. And at the same time, people who have been convicted for minor drug offenses are still facing scrutiny when they go to apply for work. But if someone has numerous DUI/DWI convictions and part of their duties would be operating heavy machinery like a forklift or driving a dumpstruck or semi, I wouldn’t hire them. There’s second chances but as the saying goes, “The only second chances you get in life are to make the same mistakes again.”

Is Fox News and other conservative media liable for the deaths and injuries that happened on Jan. 6? While Fox may claim to be an entertainment channel, the same way Facbook and its parent Meta says they’re a technilogy company to avoid that they’re a medium and have some responsibility, there’s no statute of limitations on murder. I wouldn’t put it passed someone years on down the road trying to prosecute right-wing media like Fox for the events on Jan. 6.

But then again, they can say they never intended people to break in to the Capitol Building. Because who’s more foolish – the fool or the fool who follows?

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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