Even since November 3, some of the top Fox News hosts have been amplifying baseless claims about how the 2020 presidential election had been rife with fraud. Voting machines, they told viewers, switched millions of ballots from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Trump had been cheated out of a second term in office.
Of course, neither Fox or the guests they had on their air to spread such bullshit provided any evidence of their accusations because they have none. Instead of facts, they listen other conspiracy theorists and repeat what they’ve heard from other right-wing media toilets such as Newsmax and One America News Network (OANN).
And then something very odd happened: Those same Fox hosts (Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, etc.) began retracting their lies to avoid a massive lawsuit from a company named Smartmatic, according to the Washington Post:
“Dobbs, an opinion host and conservative ally of President Trump who has consistently raged over the past month that the president was robbed of a second term by a rigged election, introduced a segment that calmly debunked several accusations of fraud that Rudolph W. Giuliani and other Trump supporters have lobbed against the election technology company Smartmatic.
“’There are lots of opinions about the integrity of the election, the irregularities of mail-in voting, of election voting machines and voting software,’ Dobbs told his viewers before introducing Edward Perez, an expert with the nonprofit Open Source Election Technology Institute, to give ‘his assessment of Smartmatic and recent claims about the company.'”
Yes, the biggest and most fearsome conservative “news” network in the United States blinked. And all Smartmatic had to do was write a letter to Fox. But it was one hell of a letter:
In other words, Fox lied, and they had to eat crow on their own air, admitting that they had been responsible for spreading falsehoods.
A day later, the same segment ran on Jeanine Pirro’s sorry excuse of a weekly show. It ran again on Sunday during “Sunday Morning Futures,” which is hosted by Maria Bartiromo, who has also been giving airtime to the election theft nonsense.
All of this is historic, and it proves that Fox knew damn well they were airing lies and propaganda just to get ratings. But the letter from Smartmatic changed all that, and now the network has been chastened.
What does all this mean for the future? It’s hard to say, but at least on this occasion, a network was met with facts and folded. We can certainly hope that continues.