Fox News conducts fact-checking in response to defamation charges by voting software firm

In an unusual move, Fox News broadcasts a segment to counter previous comments by its conservative hosts and pro-Trump guests that voter software firm Smartmatic was involved in election fraud.

The recorded segment where a voice technology expert drops the numerous allegations released the conservative leading cable news channel on the London Smartmatic Friday on Fox Business Network’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight” and was repeated in Jeanine Pirro’s show “Justice With Judge” Jeanine ” Saturday Night and Maria Bartiromo’s program, “Sunday Morning Futures. ”

For the record:

13:26, 21 December 2020An earlier version of this story misspelled the family name of Smartmatic’s legal advice as J. Erik Connelly. The correct spelling is Connolly.

The three-minute interview with Eddie Perez, an impartial expert from the Palo Alto-based Open Source Election Technology Institute, is an apparent response to a Dec. 10 letter from attorneys for Smartmatic. In the letter, Fox News is accused of making numerous false and defamatory statements about the company in numerous segments over President Trump’s unfounded allegations that widespread voter fraud and tampering with voting machines led to his loss of President-elect Joe Biden.

Smartmatic said in the letter that Fox News had launched a “joint disinformation campaign” alleging that the company had conspired to change the outcome of the vote in favor of Biden. While Fox News journalists have repeatedly reported that there is no evidence to support Trump’s allegations, the pro-Trump commentators – some of whom are meeting with the president outside the camera – still gave credibility.

Most of the claims cited in the letter were made by Trump campaign attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell during their regular guest appearances. But the falsehoods are often unquestioned or by Dobbs, Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, who have made their programs regular forums for the often unhindered charges of the president being repeatedly shot down in court.

The lies included unsupported theories that Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems, a maker of voice machines and software, had ties to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist who is a target of right-wing media.

Maria Bartiromo hosts

Maria Bartiromo presents “Sunday Morning Futures” on Fox News.

(Fox News Channel)

Advocates of Smartmatic sent similar letters to the conservative news channels Newsmax and One America News, which were even louder with the presentation of Trump’s election fraud and in comments that make them valid.

Newsmax on Monday expressed its own fact-checking on the statements made by guests and commentators about its programs, in which many of the allegations made by guests on their programs are disputed. The explanations also appear in a story on the Newsmax website.

“There are several facts that our viewers and readers need to know,” the company said in the statements it read. “Newsmax found no evidence that Dominion or Smartmatic owned the other, or that they had any business relationship with each other. We have no evidence that Dominion uses the Smartmatic software, or vice versa. No evidence was presented that Dominion or Smartmatic was using software or reprogrammed software that manipulated votes in the 2020 election. ”

A Fox News representative did not comment on the letter, other than the Perez interview aired on Dobbs, and the confirmation that it would be aired twice more.

The legal salvo from Smartmatic could be a precursor to a libel against Fox News, Newsmax and One America News. Smartmatic’s legal counsel J. Erik Connolly declined to comment on the Fox News segment, citing the possible lawsuit.

Although Fox News has previously issued corrections and explanations to reports and comments shown on the network, no one was as detailed as the Smartmatic segment, although there was no acknowledgment for an error in the band or in Dobbs’ comments that did not precede.

In the Fox News interview, Perez answers questions read to him by a producer who has not been seen on camera. He says he saw no evidence that Smartmatic software was used to remove, modify or change the voting table.

Perez also says he is unaware that Smartmatic had a business relationship with election officials outside of Los Angeles County during the 2020 election – where the company provided election equipment and software, meaning the company was not involved in the voting tables that took place in swing. declared that Trump disputed.

Perez says Dominion and Smartmatic are independent companies that are not related to each other. He says there is no corporate connection between Soros or Smartmatic.

Perez is not aware of evidence that votes were sent outside the US to be tabled. “In the United States, the ballots that are cast in the United States are counted in the United States,” he says.

Smartmatic aggressively pushed back the accusations made. The company’s CEO Antonio Mugica wrote an opinion piece presented in USA Today on Saturday to defend his reputation and call out the outlets that spread misinformation.

“Attacks on fair and independent verified elections not only try to compromise the will of the people; they also deceptively deceive the companies that worked to provide technology to assist elections and the public officials who dedicate themselves to electoral integrity, “wrote Mugica. ‘It is also an insult to all the voters who exercised their right to vote. Although Smartmatic did not deliver any products or otherwise operate in a volatile state in the 2020 election, the blasphemy we are throwing affects not only our company, but also the entire electoral industry and – more importantly – democracy. self. “