Fox News argues its hosts didn’t need to fact-check election conspiracy theories from Trump’s lawyers in response to Smartmatic defamation suit

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Former Fox Information host Lou Dobbs. Steven Ferdman/Getty Pictures

  • Fox Information is attempting to dismiss a $2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic over election conspiracies.

  • It argues its hosts did not have a obligation to fact-check falsehoods from Trump’s attorneys.

  • Election conspiracy theories have led to a tangle of authorized penalties for right-wing media.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Attorneys representing Fox Information as soon as once more requested a New York courtroom to dismiss a defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic over conspiracy theories in regards to the 2020 election, arguing its hosts did not have a duty to fact-check the attorneys employed by Donald Trump.

“Smartmatic asks this Court docket to grow to be the primary in historical past to carry the press accountable for reporting allegations made by a sitting President and his attorneys,” the attorneys wrote in a brief filed to court Monday, later including: “Smartmatic identifies no case within the historical past of our nation by which the press was held accountable for reporting allegations made by or on behalf of a sitting President.”

The lawsuit, filed in February, asks for $2.7 billion in damages and accuses Fox Information of waging a disinformation marketing campaign that irreparably broken Smartmatic’s popularity. It additionally targets three particular person hosts – Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro, and Lou Dobbs – who hosted Trump’s attorneys, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

Powell and Giuliani had promoted conspiracy theories baselessly claiming that Smartmatic was secretly in cahoots with Dominion Voting Programs, a rival election expertise firm, in an advanced scheme to govern the 2020 presidential election that concerned now-dead Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

Dozens of lawsuits, audits, investigations, and recounts have discovered no proof of widespread fraud within the 2020 election.

The false claims have led to a messy fallout. Trump fired Powell in late November, and Giuliani distanced himself from her whilst he continued to advance conspiracy theories. Dominion sued Powell, Giuliani, Fox News, and other right-wing media figures that pushed these theories. And Fox News canceled Lou Dobb’s show shortly after Smartmatic filed its lawsuit.

jeanine pirro fox news

A screenshot of a Fox Information broadcast that includes Jeanine Pirro, included as an exhibit in Fox Information’ movement to dismiss the case. Fox Information

Fox Information first asked a judge to dismiss the case a few days after it was filed. On Monday, the community’s attorneys at Kirkland & Ellis LLP requested the decide to dismiss the claims in opposition to the person hosts as nicely. The attorneys argue the authorized requirements for defamation do not require the hosts to analyze whether or not Powell’s and Giuliani’s claims are literally true.

“Smartmatic merely identifies info ‘obtainable to’ the general public that it thinks the Fox hosts ought to have researched. However such ‘failure to analyze’ claims don’t rise to the extent of precise malice,” the attorneys wrote, citing different authorized instances.

In earlier filings, Smartmatic stated that the Fox Information hosts’ failure to push again in opposition to false claims from Powell and Giuliani was itself defamatory, and stated that the media group shouldn’t receive legal protections normally given to journalists.

The brand new filings from Fox Information spend dozens of pages going by way of particular person claims from Bartiromo, Pirro, and Dobbs, arguing their feedback had been summaries of what Trump’s attorneys stated, opinions protected by the First Modification, or statements that did not straight point out Smartmatic and subsequently did not must be defended within the lawsuit.

As one example, Fox Information’ attorneys cite a tweet included in Smartmatic’s lawsuit the place Dobbs wrote, “Learn all about Dominion and Smartmatic voting corporations and you will quickly perceive how pervasive this Democrat electoral fraud is, and why there is not any means on the planet the 2020 Presidential election was both free or truthful.”

They wrote the assertion was merely an opinion, and that statements on Twitter shouldn’t be taken critically.

“New York courts have acknowledged that Twitter just isn’t a pure setting by which an affordable viewer would conclude that he’s listening to precise details in regards to the plaintiff,” the attorneys argue.

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