Fox News pays out almost $1 billion

I have been closely following the Dominion lawsuits against Fox News and other purveyor’s of the “Big Lie” since its inception in 2020, writing about it here and here.

My extensive reading of the Dominion lawsuits and ongoing litigation has been instrumental in changing my perspective on the 2020 election. Prior to delving into this case, I believed that Donald Trump’s loss was due to election rigging. However, my intense interest in this case has led me to a complete 180° turnabout in my thinking. I now believe Joe Biden won the election fair and square—for the most part.

Though there was voter fraud in the 2020 election (as there is in any presidential election, and in particular, the real possibility of fraud stemming from “mail in” ballots), it did not come close to rising to the level of corruption that proponents of the “Big Lie” claimed it had as it specifically applies to the voting machines supplied by Dominion as alleged by Fox News. In other words, there was no evidence of fraud concerning Dominion’s role in the election that would have changed the election results: Trump lost, and any claim to the contrary concerning Dominion’s crucial involvement is not based on evidence and facts.

It’s important I make this point: I was convinced, in the beginning of the claims of election fraud which began immediately circulating after it was announced that Trump had lost the 2020 election, that the “Big Lie” was true. I was solidly in the camp of those who would be known as “election deniers,” that Joe Biden was not our legitimate president.

Such is the awesome and frightening power of brainwashing and lies.

How did I change my mind? What was the thinking process I went through that pierced through my brainwashed state and caused me to make a complete 180° about face? The answer is simple: Dominion’s response to these lies and the extraordinarily great lengths they went to in defending themselves.

Also, I opened myself up to “looking at the other side” of this story even though I was convinced what I had heard from Sidney Powell was true. This action alone—of at least being willing to hear the “other side of the story”—is one of my most encouraging steps towards mature and rational thinking on my journey to become a critical thinker.

But there is something else that allowed me to even contemplate that perhaps I was wrong in my initial thinking the election was stolen, an operating system in my brain that was silently at work in the background: a snippet of ancient wisdom I had memorized during my lifelong involvement in a religion I have now walked away from. That snippet of wisdom is found in Proverbs 18:17:

“The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.” (NASB)

The NIV version of this verse is even better:

“In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.”

This is such a crucial point that it bears emphasizing and is a key, a central point, as to why I was able to eventually change my mind from firmly believing in the “Big Lie” to now repudiating it almost entirely: a perspective instilled in me through memorizing portions of the Bible (and specifically Proverbs 18:17) which taught me there is “two sides to every story.” And wisdom is not only understanding this obvious truth, but putting that knowledge into practice in daily life with everyday situations and circumstances.

My journey to first believing, and then rejecting, the lies of Trump who has incessantly claimed the election was stolen from him is, to me, a remarkable one. Why? Because I have learned that once myself or anyone else first forms a strong opinion or belief on some one or some thing, it is often times impossible, or nearly so, for myself or that person to change their mind, even when presented with contrary evidence.

Looking at what I just wrote from another perspective only emphasizes this point: the first opinions or beliefs we form on any subject or towards any person is so strong it becomes extraordinarily difficult—if not virtually impossible—to change one’s mind to view that belief in any other way. First impressions make lasting impressions.

In real life situations, wisdom is demonstrated by the capacity to reconsider strongly held beliefs and remain receptive to new evidence. The ability to change one’s perspective is a valuable skill, and it requires a willingness to modify our thinking patterns and embrace new ideas. As we gain experience and knowledge, it becomes increasingly important to remain open-minded and receptive to new information. Ultimately, the wisest individuals are those who recognize the value of being able to change their minds when presented with compelling evidence.

“First impressions make lasting impressions.”

I don’t believe most people are able to do this; I’m ashamed to admit I’m one of those people who have difficulty in changing my mind once I’m committed to a certain version of a truth.

Long ago I made a disconcerting realization about myself – namely, that I have a longstanding issue with stubbornness that has impacted me throughout my life. This oftentimes rigid and inflexible thinking style can make it difficult to consider alternative viewpoints or see situations from a different perspective. By refusing to slow down and approach problems with an open mind, I risk closing myself off to other valuable perspectives and possibilities. This problematic character trait is commonly referred to as “dogmatism.”

Dogmatism is defined as “the tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true, without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others.” I’m guilty of this and have been my entire life. This dogmatic way of thinking was no more clearly seen than in my lifelong adherence to evangelical Christianity, which I have now walked away from since about a year or so ago. But that is a long story and now is not the time to do a deep dive into the particulars.

But it is sufficient to make the acknowledgment of my dogmatic and rigid tendencies in my thinking and reasoning processes, like my initial acceptance of the “Big Lie” concerning the 2020 presidential election. I believe it is a critical first step for any one interested in learning to think critically that they come to the realization their own thinking and reasoning processes are lacking in certain important and fundamental capacities.

For myself in this particular case with the “Big Lie,” I had sufficient self-awareness to know there was more to this story than what I was hearing from Fox News. As time passed after the first initial breaking of the story where Sidney Powell (the head of the snake for what would prove to be a nest of conspiracy theories) was showing up on virtually every conservative news channel, I allowed myself to at least be open to listening to counter arguments.

One of my favorite quotes I have posted before on my blog is one allegedly from Aristotle which states, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to contemplate a thought without accepting it.”

In my desire is to be a critical thinker—one which is open to the possibility of different perspectives on any number of issues—I needed to get over my pride in thinking I’m always right. In fact, it was some time ago I arrived at the humbling point in my life where I realized I’m usually wrong on most issues—a sea change for me.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to contemplate a thought without accepting it.”

It’s important to clarify something I touched on in the beginning of this post, that of the possibility of election fraud outside of the claims made against Dominion (and also the other voting machine company, Smartmatic). An important question for me is, “Was there sufficient election fraud during the 2020 election outside of the false claims made by Fox News against Dominion which could have altered the election results?” I have to say I believe it is possible.

I mentioned the possible problem of fraud with mail-in voting and linked to a video put out by the Heritage Foundation. According to the presenter in the video, Texas Attorney Ken Paxton, it is possible, and he explains how this could have happened. That video is here:

But diving into this possibility is not the subject of this post. I’m not able to weigh in on whether or not there was sufficient mail-in fraud which would, if such fraud had occurred, have been widespread enough to have altered the election; I have not researched this possibility enough to make a verdict one way or the other. Thus, I’m going to refrain from offering an opinion one way or the other until such time as sufficient evidence may be presented to correctly answer the question.

But on the narrow question of Dominion and whether or not they perpetrated such fraud with their voting machines and software, I can definitely answer “No.” I believe there is overwhelming evidence from the court documents and news articles I have read in the last two years since this issue began raging throughout the country to have confidence in this opinion. Plus, with Fox settling and paying a mind-boggling sum of money to settle this case, their actions seal the deal for me.

In summary, the reason for writing this particular post is to hopefully help other people to better their own thinking processes. As I have written elsewhere on this blog site, most people do not have the kind of honed critical thinking skills needed to successfully navigate through the muddy waters of daily life in 21st century America. And with the new advent of AI which has recently rushed upon the world’s shore through programming like “ChatGpt” and other similar AI programs, the need to be able to sift through the “good and the bad” from manipulated information and news is a skill that will only be more urgent moving forward.