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  • Reverend James Squire

Fox News (For Profit)




Several news sources have released data from the Dominion Voting Machine lawsuit against Fox News that from Murdoch, top executives, and newscasters on down that everyone knew that Trump’s claim of election fraud was just that, fraud on Trump’s part and not on the voting process itself. Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham knew that Trump’s comments about a stolen election were wrong from day one. Their behind-the-scenes comments about Trump, Giuliani, and Powell were brutal such as: “insane, absurd, and reckless, Trump was a demonic force and destroyer.”


Their fear was based in the concern that Trump was now anti-Fox News since they called the election for Biden and that his followers would begin watching other right wing news stations. A mantra in the law as well as ethics is “follow the money.” Fox News was afraid of losing money if they didn’t double down on Trump’s propaganda. Only sociopaths who have no sense of guilt could lie so convincingly as the anchors on Fox News did. Watch some of the footage of them supporting the notion that the election was stolen even though they knew that it wasn’t. It’s scary. They did that with earnest honesty.


Right now, Fox News is taking the position that Dominion’s case is merely based on cherry picking certain statements from Fox News that have come to light in the research done by the attorneys for Dominion.


This is yet another example of the conclusions made in The Cheating Culture by David Callahan published in 2004 but has stood the test of time. Callahan did research on why people cheat. His findings gleaned from various fields was that Americans would choose money over integrity. Money becomes the be all and end all in decision making to too many, but not all, ethical decisions. I used Callahan’s research in my ethics course.


Perhaps the most valuable part of Callahan’s research is his belief in what causes this pervasive cause of choosing money over integrity. Keep in mind how the following explanations for when and why money trumps (pun intended) ethical standards. Callahan proved in his research that the conditions for this form of unethical behavior originates in a dog-eat-dog economic climate, unprecedented economic inequality, and that most Americans do not feel that they have access to a level playing field in life. That pretty much describes our current times as well.


But there is something else that is more important than Dominion receiving compensation for their lawsuit and Fox News, in turn, losing money. There is one thing that needs to gain national attention. In ethics, it is called consequentialism which states that an act is morally right depends on its consequences. This ethical system goes hand in hand with Situation Ethics whose key component is referred to as the Machiavellian Notion that means the ends justifies the means. For example, if you are a Christian hiding Jewish people during Hitler’s regime and a group of storm troopers ask if you have any Jewish people in your home, you would be morally right to lie and say “no” as the consequence would save lives and be a moral one.


Fox News is the number one cable news station that has been lying to the American people. In my opinion, they have been a large megaphone in convincing people in our nation that Trump was the person who was really elected president. How do you measure that consequence when it is set beside the insurrection of January 6. Recall that Hannity was in touch with Trump that day. He knew that he had lied, but after the insurrection, he continued to lie that it was antifa dressed up like Trump supporters who stormed the capitol. Yet it is a new fact that Fox News executives would not put Trump on the air when he called on January 6. Obviously, they saw the consequences of their irresponsibility in real time.


Why did Hannity do that? There have been many people who have studied lying including Sissela Bok who wrote Moral Choice in Public and Private Life and also Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson who authored Mistakes Were Made but Not by Me. What we discover is that lying is usually not a one-shot deal. It is a pattern of behavior. That pattern existed at Fox News. It became easier and easier for them to do.


Students who cheat in high school will more likely to continue that pattern in life. It is a fiction that you would have a moment of enlightenment and stop a long-term pattern of cheating for good grades. For students, grades are just like money. This pattern usually continues in the work place.


That is a lesson that Murdoch and Hannity never learned. They are now seeing the results. Even they must know that their pattern of lies has been part of what almost crushed our democracy.


There are many more entities that should be suing or prosecuting the characters at Fox News including the American people in a class action lawsuit. That itself would send a redemptive message to the American public in general and young people in particular to choose the hard right and not the easy wrong, choosing integrity over money when choices are involved.

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