Dominion Voting Systems would have served the US public good had it refused to settle its $1.6bn defamation suit against Fox News until the network agreed to apologise on air for spreading Donald Trump’s lie about voter fraud in the 2020 election, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said.
“What would have been best for the country, would have been to demand that and to not settle until we got that,” the New York congresswoman said.
Dominion and Fox this week reached a $787.5m settlement, shortly before trial was scheduled to begin in a Delaware court.
Legal filings laid out how in the aftermath of Joe Biden’s election win and the run-up to the January 6 attack on Congress, Fox News hosts repeated claims they knew to be untrue, as executives feared viewers would desert the network for rightwing competitors One America News and Newsmax.
Rupert Murdoch, the 92-year-old media mogul and Fox News owner, was among witnesses due to testify.
Fox faces other legal challenges but as its avoidance of an apology to Dominion caused widespread comment, with some late-night hosts moved to construct their own on-air mea culpas.
Nine deaths have been linked to the January 6 Capitol attack, including law enforcement suicides. More than a thousand arrests have been made and hundreds of convictions secured. Trump was impeached a second time for inciting the attack. Acquitted by Senate Republicans, he is the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination.
Asked if media platforms should be accountable for incitement, Ocasio-Cortez said: “When it comes to broadcast television, like Fox News, these are subject to federal law, federal regulation, in terms of what’s allowed on air and what isn’t.
“And when you look at what [the primetime host] Tucker Carlson and some of these other folks on Fox do, it is very, very clearly incitement of violence. And that is the line that I think we have to be willing to contend with.”
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