Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch told Paul Ryan, the GOP former House speaker-turned-Fox Corp. board member, how Fox News’ Sean Hannity really felt about Donald Trump in the weeks following the 2020 election.
While Hannity publicly supported the former president on his widely watched prime time show, he’d actually “been privately disgusted with Trump for weeks, but was scared to lose viewers,” Murdoch emailed Ryan in January 2021, according to court filings released Monday.
“The sooner we can put down the echoes of falsehoods from our side, the faster we can get onto principled loyal opposition,” Ryan told Murdoch, according to new documents in Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox.
The lawsuit alleges Fox hosts promoted false claims that Dominion voting machines denied Trump victory in the 2020 election. Trump’s lawyers failed to prove any of the claims in dozens of lawsuits attempting to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.
“I truly hope our contributors, along with Tucker (Carlson), Laura (Ingraham), and Sean (Hannity) get that and execute,” Ryan added.
In the same filing, it emerged that Murdoch under oath admitted several of the network’s personalities “endorsed” false conspiracy theories about the election. Other records released earlier this month also showed the gulf between what hosts were saying on air and in private.
Fox has claimed the lawsuit is “more about what will generate headlines than what can withstand legal and factual scrutiny.”