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Fox News airs package debunking its own election fraud claims following legal threat

Non-partisan expert brought in for ‘assessment of Smartmatic and recent claims about the company’

Louise Hall
Monday 21 December 2020 10:07 GMT
Fox host Lou Dobbs airs segment debunking his own conspiracy theories
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Fox has aired a series of unusual news packages debunking baseless claims of electoral fraud made on the network in the wake of a legal threat filed against the broadcaster by an electronic voting company.

The segment, which aired during the shows of Fox hosts Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro and Maria Bartiromo’s over the weekend, featured an interview with voting technology expert Eddie Perez.

The shows, whose hosts are ardent supporters of the president, were all mentioned in a demand letter from Smartmatic threatening legal action over an accused “disinformation campaign” against the company by Fox News.

In the clip, the nonpartisan expert from the Palo Alto-based Open Source Election Technology, debunks claims about the company platformed on the network.

“There are lots of opinions of the integrity of the election, the irregularities of mail-in voting, of election voting machines and voting software,” Mr Dobbs said in a preface to the interview.

The host said the network had “reached out to one of the leading authorities on open source software for elections, Eddie Perez, for his insight and views” on “his assessment of Smartmatic and recent claims about the company.”

During the interview, which appeared pre-recorded and did not feature Mr Dobbs, Mr Perez said he had not seen “any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to delete, change, alter, anything related to vote tabulation,” amid fact-checks of other conspiracy theories.

On Saturday, guest host Lisa Boothe who was filling in for Ms Pirro led a nearly identical fact-check as did Ms Bartiromo on Sunday.

The publication comes as Smartmatic accused the broadcaster in the letter of publishing “demonstrably false and defamatory” statements that the company helped flip the election for Joe Biden.

The London-based company threatened action unless the broadcaster fully retracted baseless claims that software developed by a US affiliate it sold more than a decade ago altered its outcome. 

“The damage your disinformation campaign has done, and will do, to Smartmatic’s revenue and business valuation will be measured in the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars,” Smartmatic said in the letter sent to Fox’s legal counsel.

Erik Connolly, an attorney for Smartmatic, told CNN: “We cannot comment due to potential litigation.”

A Fox News spokesperson referred The Independent to the fact-checking segments and did not comment further.

Mr Perez told CNN that he believed Fox’s coverage included allegations "that are speculative and not based in fact, many of which are harmful to enhancing public confidence in the legitimacy of election outcomes".

"I felt it was important to talk to Fox News," Mr Perez told the broadcaster. "If anything potentially more important to be speaking the facts to their audience because there are a lot of consumers of Fox News that have doubts about the election."

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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