Dominion Voting Systems has hit Fox News with a $1.6 billion lawsuit for defamation for its wild allegations against the company that it engaged in massive election fraud to deprive Trump of the presidential election victory. It had earlier sued Trump’s erstwhile lawyer Sidney Powell for $1.3 billion.
The company alleged that the network “recklessly disregarded the truth” and participated in a disinformation campaign against it because “the lies were good for Fox’s business.”
n the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election, then-President Donald Trump falsely asserted that the election had been rigged against him. His allies promoted outlandish conspiracy theories about Dominion to support Trump’s false claims.
“Fox took a small flame” of disinformation and “turned it into a forest fire,” Dominion said in its lawsuit.
“The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” Dominion’s lawsuit added. “Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process. If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does.”
In its lawsuit, Dominion specifically mentioned hosts Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, and Jeanine Pirro, three of whom were named as defendants in Smartmatic’s lawsuit. Fox is the sole defendant in this suit.
It will be interesting to see what Fox News’s defense will be. It has little basis for asserting that there was a reasonable basis for thinking that its allegations were based on fact. The strange stilted interview it broadcast on three of its shows with someone who challenged the wild charges it had been making for weeks about Smartmatic hardly mitigated the damage.
Fox eventually aired an unusual point-by-point fact check last year, debunking some of the wild election fraud claims made on the network. That package aired after Smartmatic sent Fox a legal threat. One of Fox’s anchors in November interviewed a Dominion spokesperson who pushed back against some of the wild claims about the company.
You can see that weird interview 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
Maybe Fox will come up with a variation of the Sidney Powell defense, that no reasonable person would mistake Fox News for a genuine news organization and would know that it is a faux-news parody site that should not be taken seriously. That would be true but hardly good for its image.
This lawsuit should be fun to watch.
Tabby Lavalamp says
Sidney Powell’s defense is already Fox’s defense of Tucker Carlson.
Marcus Ranum says
It actually does not matter whether or not any reasonable person would believe the claims -- the issue is whether they knowingly caused harm. The whole reason why truth is an absolute defence in disparagement is because lying is absolute guilt. “You harmed me by knowingly lying about me” is what defamation is.
Fox is going to provide me a lot of unintended entertainment.
@ 1 Tabby Lavalamp
So, essentially the US legal system is saying that truth is irrelevant in what is called the “news’? Good to see that it has caught up with reality.
Mano Singham says
But surely there must be an exemption that allows for satire and humor? Comedians say things all the time about public figures that they know are obviously false. So the defense that no reasonable person would believe the claims must have some merit.
Sam N says
That legal eagle guy on youtube has a pretty nice breakdown of Sydney Powell’s defense, if you want to get into the legal minutia of this matter.