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Suzanne Scott’s Vision for Fox News Gets Tested in Court

The Murdochs, however, have been forced to make hard choices about even their most favored chief executives when scandal overwhelms. In 2010, Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Corporation, reluctantly pushed out Rebekah Brooks, who ran his British newspapers and was a close protégé, amid a police investigation into phone hacking by journalists who worked for her.


How Times reporters cover politics. We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.

Ms. Scott maintains a much more discreet profile than her predecessor, Roger Ailes, a whisperer to Republican presidents who cultivated a Svengali-like image in the media before numerous accusations of sexual harassment led to his downfall.

She grew up in Northern New Jersey, where she lives today with her husband and teenage daughter. Her first job for Fox was as an assistant to one of Mr. Ailes’s top deputies. Her first big promotion was to a senior producer position on Greta Van Susteren’s show. She would go on to oversee network talent, and then programming.

Colleagues say she pays careful attention to what’s on Fox, often watching from her office with the sound off and occasionally offering advice to producers and hosts on how sets could look better, outfits sharper and guests could be more compelling.

Under her direction, Fox News has maintained not only one of the biggest audiences in cable but in all of television, occasionally drawing more viewers than traditional broadcast networks like ABC. And Fox News collects far higher ad rates than its competitors — an average of almost $9,000 for a 30-second commercial in prime time, compared with about $6,200 for CNN and $5,300 for MSNBC, according to the Standard Media Index, an independent research firm. (The writer of this article is an MSNBC contributor.)

As chief executive, Ms. Scott has adopted a mostly deferential view of dealing with talent, current and former hosts said.

Mr. Ailes believed that no host should ever assume they were bigger than the network — or him. In 2010, for instance, after Mr. Hannity made plans to broadcast his show from a Tea Party rally in Cincinnati where organizers had billed him as the star attraction, Mr. Ailes ordered the host to scrap his plans and return to New York, threatening to “put a chimpanzee on the air” if he didn’t make it back in time, recalled one former Fox employee.

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Why Is China Buying Up U.S. Farmland?

Chinese companies own about 0.2% of American agricultural land, per USDA data.

Farming has been a central part of America since its founding. In the nineteenth century homesteaders settled the American west.

Today, America boasts 900 million acres of farmland, says the USDA — that’s 40% of its land.

And our farms provide food across the world. In 2021, the government says, U.S. farmers exported $177 billion in products like soybeans, corn, beef and pork.

According to the Department of Agriculture, American citizens own 97% of privately held farmland and forest in the United States.

And recently, the 3% of farmland owned by foreigners has attracted controversy, specifically concerning China.

China lacks farmland and has struggled to secure food for its 1.4 billion citizens.

Just recently, in august, four Chinese government departments warned a drought posed a severe threat to the autumn harvest. 

That has driven overseas investments in food, including the purchase of Virginia-based pork producer Smithfield Foods and partnership with Growmark, a grain logistics firm.

Chinese companies own about 0.2% of American agricultural land, per USDA data.

But some lawmakers say Chinese firms shouldn’t own American farmland at all.

In a July letter to the Agriculture Department 19 Republican lawmakers said China commits “intellectual property theft” and has been prosecuted for attempting to steal U.S. seed DNA information  

Various Congressional bills seek to bar Chinese ownership of farmland.

Fourteen states limit in some way the foreign ownership of farmland, according to the National Agricultural Law Center.

But in Grand Forks, North Dakota, the issue has recently brought national attention and controversy.

In fall of 2021 the city proudly announced the sale of land to a Chinese owned conglomerate: Fufeng USA. 

The North Dakota Corn Growers Association said they were “excited” about the project, but local opposition has been strong 

The corn mill will sit about 15 miles from an air force base. On cable channels including Fox News, politicians have raised concerns about espionage.  

In July, politicians requested that the Federal Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States investigate the sale. The committee is now looking into the purchase.

The company and city officials, meanwhile, say the plant is not a national security threat.

But while the federal inquiry is underway, some construction steps will stay on paper — for now. 

Source: newsy.com

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Does Watching College Football on TV Have to Be So Miserable?

One of the top ESPN-to-Fox personalities is a longtime radio host named Colin Cowherd, who once noted, in an almost admirably honest interview with Bryan Curtis of The Ringer, that “in my business, being absolutely, absurdly wrong occasionally is a wonderful thing.” He also said he constantly tells one of his friends in the industry that “there’s no money in right,” and concluded a rumination about whether he’d been wrong about the subject of that day’s show — his accusation that a particular quarterback didn’t prepare enough for games — by asking, “Who cares?”

Wrong on purpose is not necessarily a bad strategy. Opinion stories are disproportionately represented at the top of news sites’ most-shared lists, and internal Facebook memos made public in the fall of 2021 revealed that the company had been rewarding outside content that users reacted to with the “angry face” emoji with better placement in news feeds. Executives and producers further emphasize characters and story lines they believe will be especially divisive: Tim Tebow, LeBron James and whether he chokes or is better than Michael Jordan, the Dallas Cowboys in general, and so on. “I was told specifically, ‘You can’t talk enough Tebow,’” the pundit Doug Gottlieb said after leaving ESPN in 2012.

Disney knows the value of a captive, excitable audience — in addition to its sports rights, it owns the Star Wars universe, Marvel comic book characters and Pixar, among other things. Disney’s profits jumped 50 percent in 2021. The financial information firm S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates that ESPN makes more than $8 a month from each of its nearly 100 million cable subscribers; it estimates that the most lucrative cable channel that doesn’t show sporting events, Fox News, makes about $2. There are 16 scheduled commercial breaks in national college football broadcasts, which can last as long as four minutes each.

Curious as to whether this feeling of oppression by a cultural monopoly might be addressed by the kind of legal remedies more typically associated with companies that make steel beams and computer software, I spoke to a University of Michigan law professor and antitrust expert named Daniel Crane.

He was open to the idea that my lengthy complaints about commercials and hot takes were evidence of “quality degradation,” that being one of the typical consequences for consumers of a monopolistic market. (The others are rising prices, diminished innovation and reduced output. Mr. Crane, for the record, says that if he’s not at a Michigan game in person he usually listens on the radio.)

But he cautioned that simply being a monopoly doesn’t mean anything has to change. “Unless you can show that they have obtained or maintained their monopoly through anticompetitive means,” he said — and despite the allegations mentioned above, no litigant or regulator has formally done that — “it’s just kind of too bad. ”

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Lawsuit Against Fox Is Shaping Up to Be a Major First Amendment Case

In the weeks after President Donald J. Trump lost the 2020 election, the Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claimed to have “tremendous evidence” that voter fraud was to blame. That evidence never emerged but a new culprit in a supposed scheme to rig the election did: Dominion Voting Systems, a maker of election technology whose algorithms, Mr. Dobbs said, “were designed to be inaccurate.”

Maria Bartiromo, another host on the network, falsely stated that “Nancy Pelosi has an interest in this company.” Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News personality, speculated that “technical glitches” in Dominion’s software “could have affected thousands of absentee mail-in ballots.”

Those unfounded accusations are now among the dozens cited in Dominion’s defamation lawsuit against the Fox Corporation, which alleges that Fox repeatedly aired false, far-fetched and exaggerated allegations about Dominion and its purported role in a plot to steal votes from Mr. Trump.

civil and criminal investigations across the country into his business dealings and political activities. Here is a look at some notable cases:

The case has caused palpable unease at the Fox News Channel, said several people there, who would speak only anonymously. Anchors and executives have been preparing for depositions and have been forced to hand over months of private emails and text messages to Dominion, which is hoping to prove that network employees knew that wild accusations of ballot rigging in the 2020 election were false. The hosts Steve Doocy, Dana Perino and Shepard Smith are among the current and former Fox personalities who either have been deposed or will be this month.

Dominion is trying to build a case that aims straight at the top of the Fox media empire and the Murdochs. In court filings and depositions, Dominion lawyers have laid out how they plan to show that senior Fox executives hatched a plan after the election to lure back viewers who had switched to rival hard-right networks, which were initially more sympathetic than Fox was to Mr. Trump’s voter-fraud claims.

Libel law doesn’t protect lies. But it does leave room for the media to cover newsworthy figures who tell them. And Fox is arguing, in part, that’s what shields it from liability. Asked about Dominion’s strategy to place the Murdochs front and center in the case, a Fox Corporation spokesman said it would be a “fruitless fishing expedition.” A spokeswoman for Fox News said it was “ridiculous” to claim, as Dominion does in the suit, that the network was chasing viewers from the far-right fringe.

Fox is expected to dispute Dominion’s estimated self-valuation of $1 billion and argue that $1.6 billion is an excessively high amount for damages, as it has in a similar defamation case filed by another voting machine company, Smartmatic.

A spokesman for Dominion declined to comment. In its initial complaint, the company’s lawyers wrote that “The truth matters,” adding, “Lies have consequences.”

denied a motion from Fox that would have excluded the parent Fox Corporation from the case — a much larger target than Fox News itself. That business encompasses the most profitable parts of the Murdoch American media portfolio and is run directly by Rupert Murdoch, 91, who serves as chairman, and his elder son, Lachlan, the chief executive.

Soon after, Fox replaced its outside legal team on the case and hired one of the country’s most prominent trial lawyers — a sign that executives believe that the chances the case is headed to trial have increased.

Dominion’s lawyers have focused some of their questioning in depositions on the decision-making hierarchy at Fox News, according to one person with direct knowledge of the case, showing a particular interest in what happened on election night inside the network in the hours after it projected Mr. Trump would lose Arizona. That call short-circuited the president’s plan to prematurely declare victory, enraging him and his loyalists and precipitating a temporary ratings crash for Fox.

These questions have had a singular focus, this person said: to place Lachlan Murdoch in the room when the decisions about election coverage were being made. This person added that while testimony so far suggests the younger Murdoch did not try to pressure anyone at Fox News to reverse the call — as Mr. Trump and his campaign aides demanded the network do — he did ask detailed questions about the process that Fox’s election analysts had used after the call became so contentious.

The case was settled in 2017.

But Fox has also been searching for evidence that could, in effect, prove the Dominion conspiracy theories weren’t really conspiracy theories. Behind the scenes, Fox’s lawyers have pursued documents that would support numerous unfounded claims about Dominion, including its supposed connections to Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan dictator who died in 2013, and software features that were ostensibly designed to make vote manipulation easier.

According to court filings, the words and phrases that Fox has asked Dominion to search for in internal communications going back more than a decade include “Chavez” and “Hugo,” along with “tampered,” “backdoor,” “stolen” and “Trump.”

Eric Munchel of Tennessee, in which he is brandishing a shotgun, with Mr. Trump on a television in the background. The television is tuned to Fox Business.

But the hurdle Dominion must clear is whether it can persuade a jury to believe that people at Fox knew they were spreading lies.

“Disseminating ‘The Big Lie’ isn’t enough,” said RonNell Andersen Jones, a law professor and First Amendment scholar at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law. “It has to be a knowing lie.”

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Live Updates: U.S. Seeks African Support in Ukraine War

Credit…Pool photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko

WASHINGTON — Immediately after a Moscow judge handed down Brittney Griner’s nine-year prison sentence on Thursday, calls grew louder for President Biden to find a way to bring her home, even as critics fumed that offering to swap prisoners with Moscow rewarded Russian hostage-taking.

The result is a painful quandary for the Biden administration as it tries to maintain a hard line against President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia over the war in Ukraine.

“There’s nothing good here,” said Andrea Schneider, an expert on international conflict resolution at Cardozo School of Law. “No matter what Biden does, he’s going to be criticized — either that we’re giving too much or we’re not working hard enough.”

Kremlin officials had said talks on an exchange could not proceed before her trial was complete, but even with an official verdict and sentence, a deal may not happen anytime soon.

“I think the fact that Putin has not said yes right away means that he’s looked at the U.S. offer and said, ‘Well, that’s their first offer. I can get more than that,’” said Jared Genser, a human rights lawyer who represents Americans held by foreign governments.

The Biden administration proposed to trade Ms. Griner and Paul N. Whelan, a former Marine convicted in Moscow of espionage in 2020, for the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is midway through a 25-year federal prison sentence for offering to sell arms to a Colombian rebel group that the United States then considered a terrorist organization.

Mr. Biden finds himself squeezed from two sides.

On one side are Ms. Griner’s supporters. Her wife, Cherelle Griner, has made public pleas for Mr. Biden to cut a deal with Mr. Putin as soon as possible. Those pleas have been echoed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, Democratic activist groups, television pundits, pro athletes and celebrities on social media.

But there has also been criticism from Mr. Biden’s other flank — and charges that Mr. Biden has been bending to extortion by Mr. Putin, a man he has called a war criminal.

“This is why dictatorships — like Venezuela, Iran, China, Russia — take Americans hostage, because they know they’ll get something for it,” Rep. Mike Waltz, Republican of Florida, told Newsmax last week. “They know eventually some administration will pay. And this just puts a target on the back of every American out there.”

Mike Pompeo, the former secretary of state, echoed the criticism in a Fox News interview last week, saying that to free Mr. Bout would “likely lead to more” Americans being arrested abroad.

And former President Donald J. Trump, who is likely to run again in 2024, slammed the proposed deal in crude terms. He said Mr. Bout was “absolutely one of the worst in the world, and he’s going to be given his freedom because a potentially spoiled person goes into Russia loaded up with drugs.” (Russian officials who detained Ms. Griner at a Moscow-area airport in mid-February found less than one gram of cannabis vape oil in her bags.)

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9/11 Families Outraged Over Trump Golf Club Hosting Saudi Tournament

By Associated Press
July 26, 2022

The Saudi government has denied any involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. But the family members said Trump blamed the Saudis in an interview.

A group of Sept. 11 victims’ family members who have long accused Saudi Arabia of aiding the terrorists who carried out the attacks are condemning former President Donald Trump for hosting the Saudi-backed LIV golf tour at his New Jersey course.

In a letter to Trump July 17, family members said they felt “extreme pain, frustration and anger” as a result of Trump’s decision to host the controversial Saudi-sponsored league at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, for three days starting July 29.

“The evidence against Saudi Arabia and its role in the attacks is more clear than ever and, despite knowing that, former President Trump has accepted their money and is allowing them to enter a state devastated by 9/11,” said Brett Eagleson, president of 9/11 Justice and the son of a World Trade Center attack victim.

Eagleson’s group has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Saudi Arabia of being complicit in the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001 and has sought the release of classified FBI documents related to the Saudis’ role in the attacks.

The Saudi government has denied any involvement in the attacks. But the family members said Trump, a Republican, blamed the Saudis himself in a 2016 Fox News interview. “Who blew up the World Trade Center?” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.” “It wasn’t the Iraqis — it was Saudi. Take a look at Saudi Arabia. Open the documents.”

Requests for comment on the Sept. 11 family group’s letter were sent Monday to representatives for Trump.

In an email, Jane MacNeille, LIV Golf’s senior vice president for player and franchise communications, said, “These families have our deepest sympathy. While some may not agree, we believe golf is a force for good around the world.”

Critics have accused the LIV Golf series, set up as a rival to the PGA Tour, of ignoring Saudi Arabia’s record of human rights abuses including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Democratic President Joe Biden met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman July 15 and said afterward that the prince told him he was “not personally responsible” for Khashoggi’s death. “I indicated I thought he was,” the president said he replied.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Jan. 6 Panel Deepens Probe To Trump Cabinet, Awaits Thomas

Lawmakers plan to interview additional witnesses and reconvene in September to resume laying out their Jan. 6 findings to the public.

The House Jan. 6 committee said Sunday it will interview more former Cabinet secretaries and is prepared to subpoena conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, who’s married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, as part of its investigation of the Capitol riot and Donald Trump’s role.

Lawmakers said they are deepening their inquiry after a series of eight hearings in June and July culminating in a prime-time session Thursday, with plans to interview additional witnesses and reconvene in September to resume laying out their findings to the public.

“We anticipate talking to additional members of the president’s Cabinet,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, the committee’s vice chair. “We anticipate talking to additional members of his campaign. Certainly, we’re very focused as well on the Secret Service.”

Cheney, did not identify the Trump administration officials who might come forward, but the committee has previously made clear its interest in speaking with those believed to have considered invoking a constitutional process in the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office after the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, when hundreds of Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol and interrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s election.

The committee has aired testimony from former Attorney General William Barr, who said he told Trump that widespread voter fraud claims were “bull——” and had “zero basis.” In last week’s hearing, the committee played testimony from then-Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, who said he urged Trump to call a Cabinet meeting to discuss an orderly transition of power.

Other Cabinet members have indicated they may have important details to share.

Betsy DeVos, the education secretary at the time, previously told USA Today that she raised with Vice President Mike Pence the question of whether the Cabinet should consider invoking the 25th Amendment, which would have required the vice president and the majority of the Cabinet to agree that the president could no longer fulfill his duties.

DeVos, in her resignation letter on Jan. 7, 2021, blamed Trump for inciting the mob. “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” she wrote.

On the same day, Elaine Chao quit as transportation secretary. Chao, who is married to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the attack had “deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”

Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state at the time who is considering a 2024 presidential run, and Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s treasury secretary, also were reported to have discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment, according to Jonathan Karl of ABC News in his book “Betrayal.”

“The floodgates have opened,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, regarding the next phase of its investigation.

Committee members also hope to learn more about Ginni Thomas’ own effort to keep Trump in office and the potential conflicts of interest for Clarence Thomas as a result on Jan. 6 cases that have come before the Supreme Court. The committee sent a letter to Ginni Thomas last month seeking an interview and hopes she will comply, Cheney said.

Thomas communicated with people in Trump’s orbit ahead of the 2021 attack and also on the day of the insurrection.

“We certainly hope that she will agree to come in voluntarily,” Cheney said. “But the committee is fully prepared to contemplate a subpoena if she does not.”

Cheney also said that while the committee hasn’t decided whether to make a criminal referral regarding Trump to the Justice Department, “that’s absolutely something we’re looking at.”

Added Rep. Adam Kinzinger: “I certainly think there’s evidence of crimes and I think it goes all the way up to Donald Trump.”

While a possible Trump prosecution is a matter for the Justice Department, the committee has used its hearings to try to make a case about his political viability as he mulls running in 2024. Some of the most damning testimony aired by the committee has come from Trump’s own top Republican advisers, military leaders and confidants, who admitted to a loss of confidence in his judgment and dedication to the rule of law in the days leading up to and after the Jan. 6 attack.

The committee also wants to get to the bottom of missing Secret Service texts from Jan. 5-6, 2021, that could have shed further light on Trump’s actions during the insurrection, particularly after earlier testimony about his confrontation with security as he tried to join supporters at the Capitol.

Lawmakers also are interested in hearing from Steve Bannon, a Trump ally who was found guilty last week on criminal contempt of Congress charges for refusing to comply with the House committee’s subpoena.

Cheney spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union” and “Fox News Sunday,” Kinzinger appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” and Luria was on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Two Americans dead in Ukraine, officials say: Report

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Two Americans believed to have been fighting in Ukraine have died amid the war since Russia’s invasion earlier this year, according to reports.

“We can confirm the recent deaths of two U.S. citizens in the Donbas region of Ukraine,” a State Department spokesperson told ABC News. “We are in touch with the families and providing all possible consular assistance.”

The State Department did not provide any further information “out of respect to the families during this difficult time.” 

This story is breaking. Please check back for updates. 

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Final Public Jan 6. Hearing Focused On Trump’s Actions During Riot

Testimony from former aides weaved the timeline together, which was also illustrated by new interviews and never-before-seen photo and video evidence.

This morning, the January 6th select committee says it’s continuing its investigation after wrapping up its last public hearing in this series.  

The main focus of the latest hearing was what then-President Donald Trump doing in the White House while hundreds of his supporters violently pushed past police officers to storm the Capitol. 

“President Trump did not fail to act during the 187 minutes between leaving the ellipse and telling the mob to go home. He chose not to act,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger said during the hearing.

Lawmakers broke down – minute by minute – what happened during the three hours that, they say, President Trump was “derelict in his duties…” as the attack unfolded. 

“Rather than uphold his duty to the constitution, President Trump allowed the mob to achieve the delay that he hoped would keep him in power,” Rep. Elaine Luria said. 

The timeline began just after 1 p.m. ET. 

President Trump was wrapping up a speech at the ellipse, during which he told the crowd to head to the capitol. 

From there, the panel says the president retired to his dining room for hours. 

He watched coverage of the attack on Fox News; He made phone calls to senators to try and delay the certification of the 2020 election; But no real effort to end the violence, even at the expense of his own vice president. 

Testimony from former White House Deputy Press Sec. Sarah Matthews and former Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger helped weave the extensive timeline together. 

“I’ve seen the impact that his words have on his supporters. They truly latch onto every word and every tweet that he says,” Matthews said. “And so, I think that in that moment, for him to tweet out the message about Mike Pence, it was him pouring gasoline on the fire.”

The timeline was further illustrated by new interviews and never-before-seen photo and video evidence. 

“The members of the V.P. detail at this time, were starting to fear for their own lives,” a White House security official said during an interview. “There was a lot of yelling, a lot of very personal calls over the radio, so it was disturbing.”

Perhaps some of the most compelling footage was outtakes from President Trump’s address to the nation the day after the insurrection. 

“And to those who broke the law, you will pay,” he said during the address. “You do not represent our movement, you do not represent our country. And if you broke the law… can’t say that. I already said, ‘You will pay.'” 

As the committee prepares its final report on what happened that day, Rep. Kinzinger made a promise. 

“When we present our full findings, we will recommend changes to laws and policies to guard against another Jan. 6,” he said. “The reason that’s imperative is that the forces Donald Trump ignited that day, have not gone away.”

The hearing marked the eighth time the committee has met to present evidence surrounding the U.S. Capitol insurrection. 

Chair Benny Thompson, who attended virtually after contracting COVID, promised more to come. 

The committee is planning to hold additional hearings in September.

Source: newsy.com

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