The HBO drama "Succession” might be a fictional corollary to the machinations of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox empire. But when it comes specifically to Fox News, "The Righteous Gemstones,” an HBO show about a family managing its skeevy, sprawling, megachurch business may be a more apt model.

U.S. court documents in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox reveal communications in which Fox News executives privately parsed the propaganda that is the network’s stock in trade. In defending itself, Fox has taken the tack that flagrant lies about Dominion were newsworthy, and thus spreading the falsehoods via Fox was all in a day’s work in the news biz. Mistakes, however, were made. Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch, eager to play the role of a newsman who cares about facts (and is protected by the First Amendment), testified: "In hindsight, I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing” the lies.

The fundamental issue that pervades the discussions among Fox executives is this: How much lying is too much? And how much is too little?