Fox News aired a segment debunking false election claims made on its shows after a lawsuit threat from the voting technology firm Smartmatic, The Washington Post reports.
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs was the first to air a segment refuting claims made by him, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, and former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell alleging that Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems were involved in a scheme to flip votes from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.
“There are lots of opinions about the integrity of the election, the irregularities of mail-in voting, of election voting machines and voting software,” Dobbs said, before introducing Eddie Perez, an expert at the Open Source Election Technology Institute, to give “his assessment of Smartmatic and recent claims about the company.”
Perez explained that Smartmatic and Dominion were two separate companies and that there was no evidence of vote flipping or other claims made by Giuliani. Smartmatic’s software was only used in Los Angeles County, he explained, not any of the states where Trump has falsely claimed the election was stolen.
Fox News host Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro also aired the segment.
Segment came in response to lawsuit threat:
The segment aired after Smartmatic threatened to sue Fox, Newsmax, and OANN, demanding “a full and complete retraction of all false and defamatory statements and reports” about Smartmatic.
“Fox News has engaged in a concerted disinformation campaign against Smartmatic. Fox News told its millions of viewers and readers that Smartmatic was founded by [the late Venezuelan President] Hugo Chávez, that its software was designed to fix elections, and that Smartmatic conspired with others to defraud the American people and fix the 2020 U.S. election by changing, inflating, and deleting votes,” the company said.
Dominion separately threatened to sue Powell and the Trump campaign over its false claims about their voting machines.
The company demanded corrections “must be published on multiple occasions” and must be made during prime-time shows, so as to “match the attention and audience targeted with the original defamatory publications.”
Perez was unaware of segment:
Perez was unaware that he was being used for the segment, Gregory Miller, the co-founder of OSET, told The Washington Post.
“In fact, it was a bit sketchy in terms of Fox disclosures about purpose — not uncommon in our experience,” he said. “They informed us that it would be a Zoom interview to serve in a ‘package of reporting’ about election systems vendors. … We were all surprised when it ran, how it was framed, and what it ended up being.”
Miller said that Perez “had no knowledge of why they were doing this” and that “we were not told clearly if or when any such package or segment would run.”