The conservative Fox News and Fox Business networks, with some exceptions, have propped up President Donald Trump's lies that widespread election fraud coordinated by Democrats tipped the 2020 election to President-elect Joe Biden.
Hosts like Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro peddled the conspiracy theory that election software company Smartmatic supplied corrupt vote counting machines to a number of counties in swing states that switched Trump votes to Biden votes.
This prompted Smartmatic to send Fox—and even further right media outlets like Newsmax and One America News—a legal notice demanding a retraction of the smears lobbied against it.
The notice demanded that
"The prominence of the retraction, including being featured during prime time slots, must match the attention and audience targeted with the original defamatory publications."
The network appears to be complying, with hosts who went all-in on broadcasting the fantasy that Trump won the election suddenly forced to debunk their own claims on air.
Watch Lou Dobbs' recitation of the fact check below.
Dobbs went on to air a segment featuring election technology expert Eddie Perez, who answered questions from an unnamed producer and succinctly debunked the claims made on Dobbs' show.
Perez says in the segment:
"I have not seen any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to delete, change, alter — anything related to vote tabulation. ... I'm not aware of any direct connection between George Soros and Smartmatic."
Bartiromo—who recently peddled claims from an anonymous "intel source" that Trump was the actual winner of the election—aired the segment as well, with the caveat that she'd be still be investigating the claims.
Newsmax, the far-right media outlet endorsed by Trump as the new Fox, "clarified" its earlier lies as well.
People weren't sympathetic to Fox or the hosts who fact checked their own lies on air.
But disinformation almost always perseveres even after efforts to debunk it.
There are countless Trump supporters who still fully believe the 2020 election was sabotaged and illegitimate.
President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated on January 20th with a small but unignorable faction of the country fully believing—falsely—that the 2020 election was stolen.