Fox News is debunking election fraud claims made by its own anchors in response to a legal threat
- For weeks, Fox News hosts have peddled allegations of widespread voter fraud occurring in the 2020 election, a baseless claim that was first made by President Donald Trump.
- Election software company Smartmatic sent Fox News a legal threat demanding a "full retraction" of these falsities and inaccuracies.
- In response, Fox News created and aired a segment dedicated to debunking various inaccuracies and falsities related to the results of the 2020 election.
Over the weekend, Fox News aired a segment that debunked some of the election fraud claims made by its own hosts and anchors.
The network put together a news package that ran across various Fox News and Fox Business Network shows, starting with Lou Dobbs' show on Friday night. Fox created the segment in response to a legal threat from election software company Smartmatic.
On December 10, Smartmatic hit Fox with a 20-page demand letter obtained by Business Insider asking for "a full and complete retraction of all false and defamatory statements and reports" about the 2020 election.
Fox News engaged in "a concerted disinformation campaign against Smartmatic" by "continually and repeatedly published demonstrably false information and defamatory statements," said the letter, which was addressed to Fox News executive vice president and general counsel Lily Fu Claffee.
"Fox News told its millions of viewers and readers that Smartmatic was founded by Hugo Chávez, that its software was designed to fix elections, and that Smartmatic conspired with others to defraud the American people and fix the 2020 U.S. election by changing, inflating, and deleting votes," the letter said.
After the election was called for Joe Biden, Dobbs and other Fox hosts have staunchly defended President Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani - who is one of the people spearheading dozens of lawsuits alleging fraud - appeared on Fox News to cast doubt on the election results. Sidney Powell, another attorney Trump hired to challenge the election, also appeared on the network.
In its letter to the network, Smartmatic said Fox should not have offered either of them a platform to spread baseless claims to millions of people nationwide.
"Fox News used its anchors and on-air guests, including Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, to spread lies about a company that had absolutely nothing to do with the voting that took place in areas at the heart of the 'conspiracies' discussed following the 2020 U.S. election," the letter said.
Fox's segment in response to the letter debunked election fraud claims from both Giuliani and Powell, as well as other Trump supporters.
In the segment's original airing Friday night on his primetime evening show, Dobbs introduced the package by telling viewers that "there are lots of opinions about the integrity of the election." He then brought on Edward Perez, who works with the Open Source Election Technology Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to evaluating election technology.
—OSET Institute (@OSET) December 19, 2020
"I have not seen any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to delete, change, alter, anything related to vote tabulation," said Perez, who spoke in what appeared to be a prerecorded segment.
Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Jared Kushner helped create a Trump campaign shell company that secretly paid the president's family members and spent $617 million in reelection cash, a source tells Insider
A Fox News spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the segment aired on "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on Friday, "Justice with Judge Jeanine" on Saturday, and "Sunday Morning Futures" on Sunday.
SmartMatic sent out letters containing similar demands to other conservative networks, including Newsmax and One America News, a spokesperson at the election software company told Business Insider. Newsmax and One America News did not immediately return requests for comment.
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