FACT CHECK: Politico Claims Newsmax And Fox News Didn’t Have E. Jean Carroll Defamation Trial Verdict As Lead

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

Politico reported that Newsmax and Fox News did not have the verdict of the defamation trial between E. Jean Carroll and former President Donald Trump as its lead.

Verdict: Misleading

Fox News and Newsmax did have the trial verdict at the top of its website on Jan. 26. Fox News also reported on the trial on its news shows such as “Special Report,” though hosts such as Laura Ingraham, Jesse Watters and Sean Hannity focused on the border.

Fact Check:

A Manhattan jury found that Trump should pay Carroll, a writer and former magazine columnist who accused the former president of raping her in the 1990s, over $83 million, according to CNN. Trump has denied the claim and promised to appeal the verdict, the outlet reported.

Politico reported that the Daily Caller, Newsmax and Fox News did not have the verdict of the trial as its lead and were instead focused on other news stories. (Disclaimer: The Daily Caller is Check Your Fact’s sister publication. They are editorially independent of each other. Politico issued a correction regarding the Daily Caller’s coverage before Check Your Fact made inquiries about Newsmax and Fox News.)

Politico reported:

“On Friday night and into the weekend, the story of former President Donald Trump being ordered to pay the writer $83.3 million in damages stemming from her defamation case against him didn’t lead Fox News, which was consumed instead with the immigration crisis on the Southern border. The Daily Caller was busy flogging Hunter Biden. And on the right-wing network Newsmax’s pages, the verdict ran beneath reporting on a bathroom bill in Utah, Israel and Vince McMahon.”

This reporting, though, is misleading and mischaracterizes what Newsmax and Fox News reported. Newsmax had the verdict as its lead on Jan. 26, according to archived screenshots from the Wayback Machine.

Screenshot/Wayback Machine

Check Your Fact also reviewed the Wayback Machine and found that Fox News did have a story on the trial verdict at the top of its website at one point on Jan. 26.

Screenshot/Wayback Machine

Other archived screenshots show that the story was bumped below an article about the Texas-U.S. border dispute, but it still remained located high on the Fox News website. (RELATED: Was Benjamin Netanyahu Named Time Magazine’s ‘Killer Of The Year?’)

Screenshot/Wayback Machine

A Fox News spokesperson directed Check Your Fact to multiple examples of the network’s reporting, including Fox News anchor Bret Baier covering the trial verdict on his show “Special Report.”

Politico’s article does have a correction stating, “CORRECTION: A previous version of this report mischaracterized coverage of the verdict by Newsmax and the Daily Caller.” A Politico spokesperson defended its reporting on Fox News.

“The story says that President Donald Trump being ordered to pay $83.3 million in damages didn’t lead Fox News primetime coverage, where the focus was on immigration. That is accurate,” the spokesperson said.

It is true that the Fox News primetime shows, such as “Gutfeld,” “Ingraham Angle,” “Jesse Waters PrimeTime” and “Hannity,” primarily focused on the Texas and the southern border. The original Politico article, though, does not mention “primetime coverage, with it stating that the verdict “didn’t lead Fox News” over Friday night and the weekend.

Baier also tweeted Jan. 27 that the trial verdict led “Special Report” on Jan. 26 in response to a tweet stating Fox News did not cover the trial verdict.

“Sorry you missed the show. It was the lead and the first panel segment. I appreciate you watching,” Baier tweeted.

Check Your Fact also reached out to Newsmax for comment.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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