Trump tried to call Fox News during January 6 Capitol breach, but they wouldn't let him on the air

 February 18, 2023

New information from the 2021 $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit by Dominion Systems against Fox News has revealed that then-President Donald Trump called Fox News on January 6, but they would not give him any air time to address the country. 

Trump's call to Fox News was unknown to the January 6 House Select Committee, which is now defunct.

“The afternoon of January 6, after the Capitol came under attack, then-President Trump dialed into Lou Dobbs’ show attempting to get on air,” Dominion lawyers wrote in their legal brief. “But Fox executives vetoed that decision" because of Trump's previous statements that the 2020 election results were fraudulent.

Fox Business Network President Lauren Petterson said “it would be irresponsible to put him on the air” and “could impact a lot of people in a negative way.”

The allegations

Dominion's lawsuit alleged that Fox News contributed to the perception that the 2020 presidential election results were fraudulent; the testimony about their refusal to let Trump on the air was intended to show that they were not encouraging an election fraud narrative.

Text messages by prominent hosts on the network and then-Fox Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch showed that they didn't believe the election fraud narrative and considered having Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham appear on-air together to debunk the narrative.

The act “would go a long way to stop the Trump myth that the election stolen,” Murdoch said in one message.

Fox News was the first one to call the election for Joe Biden even though the result was anything but certain at the time.

Just covering the news

The network has also argued regarding this and another suit by Smartmatic, another election machine company, that it was simply reporting the news when it did cover election fraud claims.

"There is nothing more newsworthy than covering the president of the United States and his lawyers making allegations of voter fraud. We are confident we will prevail as freedom of the press is foundational to our democracy and must be protected," it said in a statement.

Newsmax, which is also being sued by Smartmatic for similar reasons, has cited the legal privilege of neutral reportage, which allows news agencies to present "unprecedented allegations without adopting them as true, so that the public could draw its own conclusions" about "a news story of extraordinary public interest."

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis, who is overseeing both cases, was not swayed by the neutral reportage argument. He also didn't find that Smartmatic made a strong enough case to prove that Newsmax did damage to the company, however.

Trump narrative wrong

The revelations that Trump did try to stop the actions of his so-called supporters on January 6 by asking Fox News for airtime change the narrative that he wanted the riots to go on.

Not that anyone who now hates him will ever change their mind.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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