Fox Hosts Who Spread Election Conspiracies Forced to Fact Check Themselves Live on Air in Order to Avoid Legal Penalties
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.
This is very bizarre. Lou Dobbs ran a segment tonight basically debunking his own lies about Smartmatic voting machines pic.twitter.com/FDM91SPtT1
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 19, 2020
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.
Maria Bartiromo ended her show today with the Smartmatic fact-check that already ran on Lou Dobbs' and Jeanine Pirro's shows.
She essentially framed it the same way those shows did and that she has been investigating "election integrity" over the past few weeks. pic.twitter.com/sVC7cgjd8p
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) December 20, 2020
Newsmax, the far-right media outlet endorsed by Trump as the new Fox, "clarified" its earlier lies as well.
Newsmax just aired this note to "clarify" its coverage of Smartmatic and Dominion. pic.twitter.com/I5XZ7CQpAk
— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) December 21, 2020
People weren't sympathetic to Fox or the hosts who fact checked their own lies on air.
Fox & Newsmax 100% back their claims about voting machine fraud. Unless there's even a hint they'll be held legally liable. Then it's punt on 3rd down because there's no truth to claims. Just ratings-grabbing falsehoods. https://t.co/69HdvhPahr
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) December 21, 2020
Too little too late they should face the consequences of their disinformation campaign and then some. https://t.co/leH6zfCtv2
— link (@linkstercrosley) December 21, 2020
Fox News and all these right wing propaganda outfits are pathetic and disgraceful. I can't believe anyone watches their garbage. Losers. https://t.co/beTjaN9JdJ
— Powell Hoffman D.P.T. (@powell_hoffman) December 21, 2020
Absolute imbeciles and confederacy of dunces. Never have we lived in such a stupid era in our young nations history. https://t.co/81StaIaLy1
— Jay James *JOE BIDEN WON** Trump Cult is Dead (@RinoaHeartill20) December 21, 2020
😂😂😂😂 y'all gon learn one day. https://t.co/LC7j6gVjZ4
— Dr. Bean is far too ambitious (@AFreshPrincess) December 21, 2020
Oh so now they admit they are lying treasonous bastards? Cool. #FoxNews #FoxNewsIsDead #FoxNewsIsDeadToMe #fauxnews #lies https://t.co/nRoy9DayBs
— Debbie Taylor (@musiclvrdeb) December 21, 2020
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.
Give no retractions to SmartMatic until they give Trump back all the votes they stole.
— Zeddd (@The_Real_Zeddd) December 20, 2020
....why is newsmax bending over and exposing its ass to dominion and smartmatic?....did someone with money turn the screws on newsmax?....
— ❌❌Dr. Line in the Sand❌❌...demtards cheat.... (@Jbrock130) December 21, 2020
Smartmatic and Dominion are threatening all news outlets with lawsuits who report truth about them.
— Linda K (@_smthgbeautiful) December 21, 2020
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.