It’s time to hold the Big Lie’s propagators accountable | Whale’s Tales

I have been reading online comments arguing that the revelations occasioned by Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News are the work of leftist machinations to taint Fox.

If so, gotta say, one hell of a plot.

Spy agencies take note: observe how those crafty commies wormed their way into the heads of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham et al, then manipulated the mandibles of Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham et al., to force them to push the idea of election fraud in the 2020 election, while simultaneously revealing in private emails and text messages that they knew all along that the Big Lie was just that: pure hokum.

How diabolical of those lefty commies to slip the nooses about the necks of Carlson, Hannity, Ingraham et al., woven with strands of their own words. Pure genius.

No, no, no. We see it. Fox News laid a giant deuce. And it’s about time we call the propagators of the Big Lie to account for the stench and their role in stoking many of the divisions now tearing apart this nation

Because on Jan. 6, 2021, devout listeners of Fox, who sincerely believed what Carlson, Hannity et al., had been saying ever since the election on Nov. 8, 2022, converged on the nation’s Capitol en masse to pay it that “typical tourist visit,” we’ve all heard and read so much about.

While a 1964 U.S. Supreme Court decision shielded news outlets from libel judgments unless proven that they were published with “actual malice” — knowing that something was false or acting with “reckless disregard” to whether it was true – actual malice is extremely difficult to prove.

But the very existence of the e-mails and text messages would appear to have handed Dominion what it would need to prevail.

I hope the scandal at Fox News brings the sorely needed correction. I really hope it does. But I am not encouraged by what I’ve read.

Because instead of the faithful acknowledging that they were duped, that the people they’d relied on to tell them the truth had baldly lied to their faces, the Fox faithful dug in. And now they are trying to fob the blame off on news in general. Their message: all news organizations — ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN — do it.

No, all news organizations do not do it.

I am sick to death of what-about-ism. Yes, I too, have read and heard sloppy reporting, lazy reporting, and reporting that got it wrong. But deliberately lying? In all my 30 years in this business, I have never run into anything like that, or anything as slimy.

Never, ever.

And no legitimate news organization has ever done what Tucker Carlson recently did, when he sliced and diced 10 minutes from 40,000 hours of tape to make the Jan. 6 melee look like a peaceful event. We all saw with our own eyes, live and in living color, that it was anything but peaceful.

Allow me to let you in on a secret. In this business, one’s reputation pads after one like a faithful dog. And any journalist who does anything close to what Fox has done would be bounced from the business, and keep on bouncing.

The truly depressing thing is to read how devotees of Fox News still support these acknowledged liars who, by their own words, were not concerned at all about truth, only about a dip in ratings and audience and revenue were they to tell what they knew was the truth.

The emails even reveal anger from Tucker, Hannity, Ingraham et al that the news side of that organization was reporting the news accurately when one member of its staff called the state of Arizona for Joe Biden.

As the late David Brinkley might have said, “It boggles the mind.”

In old Greek and Latin dramas and comedies, actors wore masks to portray the characters they were personifying. Indeed, our word “personality” comes from “persona” literally, to “speak through a mask.”

It appears Fox has hired itself a gaggle of actors to play roles, to mouth words that juice their audience and drive up the ratings. Dominion’s lawsuit has torn away the masks, and the world now sees that Fox is more about a marketing ploy than news.

Really, what’s left to trust when liars have admitted their lies?

Robert Whale can be reached at