Fox News has been the subject of several major stories these past few days. They fired a conservative host by the name of Dan Bongino. They settled a lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787 million dollars. They then parted ways with the host of the most popular show on cable news Tucker Carlson Tonight.
With the settlement, Dominion Voting Systems now has a significant war chest to go after two of Fox News’ biggest competitors for its conservative audience. Dominion Voting Systems currently has lawsuits against One America News Network (OAN) and Newsmax. These are the two other conservative options for cable news. OAN has been dropped by a number of major carriers under pressure from liberal advocacy groups.
Details of Fox News emails released in the Dominion Voting Systems dispute show that there was concern about losing their conservative audience to these upstart news channels. However, with the significant resources that Dominion now possesses to sue these channels, Fox News seems to be less worried about the threat of losing their audience to these channels to such an extent that they removed their leading host.
Fox News may have seen this settlement as an opportunity to seriously hamstring their less established competitors. By providing Dominion with a large cash settlement, they may be following a pattern that Microsoft used 20 years earlier to slow the rise of Linux. Microsoft acquiesced to SCO Group’s licensing demands. SCO Group used these revenues to sue companies involved with Linux. This slowed the corporate adoption of Linux as companies were concerned about legal liability.
In Fox News’ case, the ongoing lawsuits will weaken their rivals and hamper their effort to compete for the conservative audience. This lack of competition on the right may have contributed to the decision to release two of their more outspoken conservative commentators. Fox News appears to be trying to grow their audience by moving to the left since, with the settlement, they have protected their right flank.