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Jake Tapper Struggles Not To Laugh As He Reads Fox News’ Settlement Statement

CNN’s Jake Tapper had difficulty swallowing Fox News’ statement about its commitment to the “highest journalistic standards” after the network reached a $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems.

Fox News admitted in a statement about the settlement ― brokered on the same day the landmark defamation trial was scheduled to begin ― that it had broadcast false claims about Dominion. However, as Tapper phrased it, the network then tried to put a “positive face on what can only be interpreted as one of the ugliest and most embarrassing moments in the history of journalism.”

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems,” the right-wing network’s statement said. “We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects FOX’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”

Reading the statement to viewers, Tapper paused as he reached the sentence about journalistic standards.

“I’m sorry, this is gonna be difficult to say with a straight face,” he said, stopping to chuckle as he read the phrase.

The voting software company had been seeking $1.6 billion in damages from Fox News and its parent company over its coverage of the 2020 election, alleging the network had amplified false claims that Dominion’s voting machines helped rig the election against former President Donald Trump.

Evidence surfaced during the lawsuit demonstrated that Fox hosts and executives did not believe many of the claims they fed to viewers in an apparent effort to retain them and mollify Trump.

The last-minute settlement means the cable network will dodge a high-profile, potentially embarrassing trial that would likely have seen testimony from top executives and talent. The trial had been scheduled to begin Monday but was pushed back to Tuesday after a reported eleventh-hour effort by Fox News on Sunday to settle the dispute out of court.