Smartmatic, the voting technology company and repeated target of Fox’s “stolen election” lies, filed a gigantic lawsuit today against Fox Corporation and three of its voter-fraud propagandists: Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro. It also tied the on-air lies to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
You may recall that Dobbs, Bartiromo and Pirro's "Justice with Judge Jeanine" show aired the lamest possible “fact check” segments that were obviously designed to forestall a lawsuit, rather than directly debunk the false conspiracy theories they peddled about voter fraud and the 2020 presidential election. Dobbs and Bartiromo made a point of distancing themselves on air from the segments (Pirro's show was guest hosted that night.)
Not surprisingly, Smartmatic was not satisfied. The New York Times has more on the lawsuit, which also names Trump attorneys and conspiracy-peddling Fox guests Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani as defendants.
In its frontal attack on Mr. Murdoch’s media empire, Smartmatic argues that Fox cast it as a villain in a fictitious narrative meant to help win back viewers from Newsmax and OANN. Each saw ratings surge in the weeks after the election thanks to their embrace of the fiction that Mr. Biden was not the rightful victor. The Smartmatic suit also argues that Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell sought to enrich themselves and improve their standing with Mr. Trump’s supporters by making claims that were damaging to the company.
Fox Corporation, with about 9,000 employees, is run by Mr. Murdoch, 89, and his elder son, Lachlan, its chief executive. For the company, $2.7 billion would be a hefty penalty. Fox Corporation made $3 billion in pretax profit on $12.3 billion in revenue from September 2019 to September of last year. It is valued at about $17.8 billion.
Smartmatic’s complaint takes into account not only the reputational and financial damage the company said it had suffered, but also the harm done to the United States by the claims promoted by Mr. Trump’s allies and the Murdoch-controlled networks he had long favored.
Among the on-air exchanges the Smartmatic suit highlights is one between Ms. Powell and Mr. Dobbs on Nov. 16. Ms. Powell claimed on Mr. Dobbs’s show that Hugo Chávez, the deceased president of Venezuela, had a hand in the creation of Smartmatic technology, designing it so that the votes it processed could be changed undetected. (Mr. Chávez, who died in 2013, did not have anything to do with Smartmatic.)
The suit argues that claims made on Fox were demonstrably false, given that Smartmatic’s technology was used only in Los Angeles County and not in any of the contested states during the 2020 election.
The Times also notes that the complaint reveals that Smartmatic employees and their families received death threats in the wake of Fox’s smears.
It’s worth pointing out that despite her promotion of these dangerous lies, Fox is considering rewarding Bartiromo with a prime time show.
You can watch Bartiromo air the half-a**ed fact check that aired on all three of the hosts’ shows, below, followed by her undermining comment, “We will keep investigating.” It’s from the December 20, 2020 Sunday Morning Futures.
Its frankly astonishing that Smartmatic was dragged into this what with their very limited participation in the election-just LA county! They do stand to lose a lot by this smear and perhaps go out of business over the desperate lies of the Trump allies. I wish them much luck in this endeavor.