The Fox News anchors knew Trump’s conspiracy theories made no sense, but they eagerly continued to spread them

While acknowledging behind the scenes that Donald Trump’s election-rigging conspiracy theories don’t make sense, the Fox News hosts eagerly continued to spread the allegations to their millions of viewers for months on end. The ratings battle seemed more important than the truth.

Tommy Theges

We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I can’t wait anymore. I hate him so badly.” It’s January 4th, 2021, and Tucker Carlson, the absolute star anchor of Fox News who seems to be one of the president’s most ardent supporters, is looking forward to the moment when Joe Biden will take over from his Republican predecessor in an email to peer.

A month ago, Carlson had already written: “The only thing is (Trump, editor) Good at smashing things. He is the undisputed world champion. He can easily destroy us if we play it wrong.”

Carlson’s posts were published this week ahead of a lawsuit that voting machine maker Dominion Voter Systems filed against Fox News. Dominion is taking issue with Fox tarnishing the company’s reputation by suggesting that it helped rig the November 2020 presidential election in favor of the Democrats. Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in damages.


The trial will begin on April 17, but 6,500 pages of text messages, internal emails and sworn interrogations have already been released. It shows the huge chasm between what Fox News anchors and commentators said on screen in the weeks and months following the election, and what they told each other behind the scenes. Because as much as Carlson hated Trump, night after night in prime time he turned on a megaphone on his unsubstantiated claims that the Democrats stole the election. The search for a conservative viewership, driven by the rise of more extreme channels like Newsmax, appears to be of paramount importance.

Laura Ingraham, another popular Fox host, specifically mocked Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. In one of the released letters, Ingraham called Powell a “complete idiot”. “No one will work with her. The same goes for Rudy.”

The split caused concern and discontent between Fox News’ news department and the editorial staff, which includes commentators such as Carlson and Ingraham. “In my 22 years at Fox, this has been the closest thing to an existential crisis,” Bill Sammon, the behind-the-scenes editor, emailed a colleague.

Fox owner Rupert Murdoch.A.P.’s photo


There was also concern at the top of Fox News. On January 21, a day after Biden was sworn in, Fox owner Rupert Murdoch emailed CEO Susan Scott that presenters like Ingraham and Sean Hannity “may have gone too far.” “Okay and well Sean told you he doesn’t have much hope for Trump, but what did he say to his viewers?” Trump’s claim that the election was stolen, he called it a “myth” in another post.

Earlier, the 91-year-old Murdoch had already admitted that some of his sponsors had spread false allegations of fraud, knowing full well that they were false. “In hindsight, I wish we had denounced it so strongly,” Murdoch said during cross-examination.

Fox News’ lawyers maintain that their hosts only covered Trump’s allegations because they were “newsworthy.” In addition, all statements fall under freedom of speech, and it is Dominion that is trying to tarnish the good name of the channel, rather than the other way around, it seems.

“These were tourists.”

And Carlson hates himself? Acts as if nothing happened. On his daily talk show, he has been ignoring his own statements for weeks and downplaying the January 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol.

This week featured a five-minute compilation of Trump supporters at the Capitol that day. According to Carlson, the “never-before-seen photos” show how things are in reality in the US House of Representatives, contrary to what the Democrats believe.