Fox News has felt free to parrot Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud and have even added to the charges and named companies that they claim colluded in it. Finally one outfit called Smartmatic got fed up and threatened to sue it and all the other right-wing news outlets for making false and defamatory claims.
Under that threat, three of their main shows that had been promoting these ideas, hosted by Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, and Jeanine Pirro, went into damage control and tried to walk back their claims. But the three did it in a strange way, by showing the identical pre-taped item.
Fox News has taken a further step back from Donald Trump’s baseless allegations of election fraud with a bizarre apparent legal retraction aired during shows hosted by some of the president’s most fervent supporters.
First broadcast on Fox Business on Friday, on Lou Dobbs Tonight, and repeated over the weekend on shows hosted by Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, the segment was presented as a news interview with election technology expert Eddie Perez.
In the three-minute video, described as “a closer look at claims about Smartmatic”, Perez answers questions posed by an unidentified interviewer about a Florida company that provided voting systems for the November election.
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
All three hosts posted the same item and ended without any further commentary. It was clearly a coordinated effort to defend against the lawsuit’s claims and Perez had little idea of what was going on until later when he saw the clip on the shows.
Speaking to CNN, Perez said: “My reaction was to observe, as many others have, how kind of strange and unique that particular way at presenting the facts was.
“There was nothing in any of the preliminary conversations that I had with Fox News that gave me any indication that Smartmatic would be a matter of conversation. It was never mentioned that this was going to be a discussion about Smartmatic or even claims about private vendors. I was anticipating a broader discussion about the debate around the election [and] election integrity.”
Needless to say, the MAGAnuts were not happy at this walking back and saw the three as ‘sellouts’ to the cause and wondered who had ‘got’ to them.