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Group calls for Fox News ban on military bases

By Sarah May on
 March 18, 2023

Amid the recent emergence of new evidence in a legal battle involving Fox News' coverage of the 2020 presidential election, a liberal veterans organization is calling for the network's programming to be banned on military bases, as The Hill reports.

At issue for the group, VoteVets, are revelations elicited through litigation showing that several Fox News hosts allegedly gave credence to former President Donald Trump's arguments regarding widespread voter fraud while privately declaring those positions to be false.

Ad calls for Fox News ban

The group's case for banning Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity on military bases can be found in a two-minute advertising spot that slams the network for the alleged “disinformation” permitted to air in the wake of the election.

In the ad, a narrator's voice asserts that Fox News was guilty of conducting “information warfare that divides the troops, hurts unit cohesion, weakens our readiness, and threatens our national security” and that the three aforementioned network personalities have “open access to spread their conspiracy theories to U.S. troops.”

VoteVets' spot goes on to state, “There's no excuse for allowing anti-American, anti-democracy, anti-military disinformation in the barracks, in the chow hall, or anywhere else our troops serve.” WATCH:

Litigation yields explosive details

The underlying driver of the group's effort to ban Fox News programming on military bases is material that emerged from litigation discovery in the $1.6 billion lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against the network over its coverage following the 2020 contest.

Much of that information was contained in a brief in support of a summary judgment motion filed by Dominion last month, as the Associated Press reported at the time.

That brief included snippets of communications from Carlson, Hannity, Ingraham, and others, many of which were critical of Trump's efforts to cast doubt on the election outcome.

Dominion claims that Fox News personalities knowingly touted false allegations that it had been involved in fraudulently altering vote counts and that the network served as a forum for guests to level defamatory assertions against it.

Piling on Powell

Particularly damning, according to Dominion's lawyers, were exchanges among the Fox News personalities regarding attorney Sidney Powell, who repeatedly vowed to “release the Kraken” and establish widespread election fraud, as The Hill explained.

Dominion's filing includes a text chat between Carlson and Ingraham regarding the lawyer's headline-grabbing representations, in which the former said, “Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It's insane.”

Ingraham, for her part, was said to have responded, “Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditty with [then-Trump attorney] Rudy [Giuliani].”

Deposition testimony from prime-time host Sean Hannity was also cited, in which the popular Fox News figure stated regarding Powell, “that whole narrative that Sidney was pushing, I did not believe it for one second.”

Fate of case in the balance

Fox News has not succeeded thus far in attempts to see the case dismissed on the basis of the network's First Amendment claims, which contend that Dominion has taken an “extreme, unsupported view of defamation law that would prevent journalists from basic reporting” and has endeavored to “publicly smear Fox for covering and commenting on allegations by a sitting president of the United States.”

Whereas Fox News contends that its hosts were simply reporting the news and presenting information regarding arguments being leveled by high-profile legal and political figures, VoteVets says something far more sinister was afoot that must not be permitted to make its way into American military bases.

Precisely which news networks the group might deem acceptable remains unclear, but if ratings are any indication, preventing military service members from tuning into Fox News would almost certainly be an unpopular move, with the network dominating the cable news race in February by substantial margins and rival CNN sinking to a 10-year prime time low.

It remains to be seen whether VoteVets' demands will ever make any inroads with decision-makers inside the Defense Department or if they will simply serve primarily as rhetorical tools in support of the group's preferred candidates as the 2024 election stakes heat up.