Anyone who has watched more than a few minutes of Fox News knows that they are a reliable source of flagrant lies, malicious slander, and brazenly biased right-wing propaganda. But for a network that has been shamelessly disseminating dangerous disinformation for years, Fox News has just exhibited a bit of uncharacteristic regret.
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Smartmatic is a voting software company that Fox has had in their crosshairs ever since Donald Trump suffered his decisive and humiliating loss to Joe Biden. The network aired numerous segments that accused Smartmatic of deliberately sabotaging their products in order to fraudulently deliver an election victory to Biden. The conspiracy theories that Trump and his incompetent attorneys constructed were bizarre and far removed from reality. But that didn’t stop Fox News from promoting them on Trump’s behalf.
Last week Smartmatic sent Fox News a “cease and desist” letter demanding that they retract the false and defamatory “election fraud” stories under threat of legal action. Shortly thereafter, Fox started airing a peculiar interview debunking the conspiracy theories that have been featured by some of their top hosts. It’s clear that Fox News is concerned about the potential lawsuit, so they manufactured this segment in order to divert attention from their lies, pretend they reported accurately, and thus protect themselves from legal liability.
The segment consisted of an interview of voting software expert Eddie Perez (video below). But it was not a retraction. It aired first during the Trump-fluffing Lou Dobbs program on the Fox Business Channel. Dobbs introduced it as just another “opinion.” Which means that Fox News remains at risk for the prior defamatory broadcasts.
However, Dobbs did not even conduct the interview. There was an unidentified, disembodied voice asking questions, with the answers by Perez edited in. Perez told CNN that he found this unusual and wasn’t told about this prior to his interview. Perez also said that “it was unusual for the news package to simply end with no comment from Dobbs and then cut to a commercial break.”
Perez told the mysterious interviewer that he “had not seen any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to delete, change, alter, anything related to vote tabulation.” He said that he wasn’t aware that Smartmatic software was used anywhere in the United States other than Los Angeles County. He refuted clams that Smartmatic and Dominion were connected to one another. He also shot down allegations that the company was connected to George Soros or that any votes were tabulated outside of the U.S. And lastly, he said that he was not aware of any incidents where Smartmatic’s software was “banned in the U.S. due to security weaknesses or wrongdoing.”
This interview subsequently aired during the programs of notorious Trump promoters “Judge” Jeanine Pirro and Maria Bartiromo. Along with Dobbs, these programs frequently hosted Trump’s “losing is winning” lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and his QAnon supporting lawyer Sidney Powell. They were among the Trump sycophants who regularly spread the sort of lies on Fox News that resulted in the legal action taken by Smartmatic.
Fox’s efforts to crawl out from under this legal rock are doomed to failure. They are not satisfying Smartmatic’s demands for a retraction. But they are indirectly conceding that their broadcasts were riddled with defamatory content. Why else would they suddenly air this awkwardly produced interview? And Fox’s history of refusing to correct the errors and lies they put on their air makes this concession all the more significant.
Fox News is plainly afraid of being held accountable and are desperately scrambling to shield themselves from liability. The network is folding like a lawn chair. That’s how bullies respond when they are challenged. Smartmatic is setting a good example for all of the others who have been defamed by Fox News. Hopefully we will see more of this in the future.
UPDATE: Newsmax has broadcast a retraction of the defamatory statements about Smartmatic that they previously aired. They refuted most of the lies that Trump and his media sycophants have been disseminating and blamed it all on “guests, attorneys, and elected officials” who appeared o the network. Clearly they are worried about the threatened litigation, As they should be.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.