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Broadcasting & Cable
Broadcasting & Cable
John Eggerton

Fox Calls Dominion Documents Irrelevant to License-Renewal Challenge

WTXF Philadelphia.

Fox is telling the FCC that documents its critics want the regulator to compel it to produce aren’t relevant to a challenge to the company’s license for WTXF Philadelphia — a challenge Fox says the commission should reject.

In July, the Media and Democracy Project (MAD), citing Fox’s settlement of the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit over election misinformation, challenged the renewal and by extension the company’s character qualifications for holding any TV station licenses at all.

In the Dominion suit settlement, the court found Fox had made false claims in its reporting on the company, a finding the company did not dispute.

MAD earlier this month asked the FCC to make Fox turn over documents related to the Dominion settlement. 

“MAD asks the Commission to compel production of thousands of pages of documents that, by definition, could not change the outcome because they do not concern conduct relevant to the Commission’s review of Fox 29 Philadelphia’s application to continue to broadcast and serve the public,” Fox lawyers told the FCC this week in response to the document request.

“The FCC has been generous in allowing MAD to continue making filings well after the close of the formal pleading cycle,” Fox attorneys said. “Now that these filings have become entirely repetitious, both the commission and the viewing public would be well-served by the conclusion of this proceeding. Fox 29 Philadelphia thus again asks the FCC to apply the existing law, rules, and precedent to the actual facts before it, which will lead to an inevitable conclusion: that Fox 29 Philadelphia’s license renewal application should be granted without delay.”

MAD saw matters quite differently. “With their latest filing Fox/Murdochs are asking the FCC to ignore the elephant in the boardroom: that FTS and the Murdochs have exhibited behavior that violates the FCC's own 'character qualification' criteria,” the group said, citing the company’s controlling Murdoch family. “They are attempting to deny the FCC readily available information essential to the FCC making a ‘character qualification’ determination — in effect, trying to pull the wool over the Commission's eyes.”

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