Fox News and some of its most vociferous spreaders of election fraud conspiracy theories– Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo— are being called into account by a frequent target.
Smartmatic, an international voting technology firm, is demanding a retraction from Fox News by Tuesday, Dec. 15 . The company added it is also exploring legal action with a firm that has brought some of the largest defamation claims in U.S. history.
In the event of a lawsuit, Fox and other defendants are likely to claim immunity under the First Amendment, which protects free speech.
But that protection may not extend to remarks that were demonstrably false yet uttered repeatedly in reckless disregard for the truth.
The company strongly asserts it had nothing to do with the 2020 presidential election yet has been the subject of repeated “false and defamatory statements.”
Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell have been in the forefront of claims that Smartmatic was involved in one of the more bizarre election fraud falsehoods perpetrated by Trump and his supporters.
They asserted Smartmatic was secretly behind Dominion Voting Systems in a conspiracy to flip Trump votes to Democrat Joe Biden.
The scheme was allegedly hatched by billionaire George Soros (who else!) and former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who’s been dead for some years.
Fox News and other right-wing networks have been airing the claims ever since the election Nov. 3, which Biden won by a wide margin.
But now Smartmatic is drawing a line.
The company demanded a full retraction of dozens of comments advancing the theory by Fox News talking heads, as well as Giuliani and lawyer Powell.
In a letter sent to Fox, the company accused the network of engineering a “disinformation campaign. The media watchdog site Mediaite obtained a copy of the letter. It stated the following:
Fox News has engaged in a concerted disinformation campaign against Smartmatic. 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.
While Fox News holds itself out as a trusted news source, it has continually and repeatedly published demonstrably false information and defamatory statements about Smartmatic. 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.
Smartmatic is a London and Florida based multinational company that specializes in building and implementing electronic voting systems.
Its founders, Antonio Mugica, Alfredo Jose Anzola and Roger Piñate were engineers based in Caracas, Venezuela when they founded the company.
Although it’s involved in elections around the world, its role in the 2020 presidential election was limited to Los Angeles County in California. It has no connection with Dominion Systems, the company said.
Smartmatic CEO Mugica told Reuters News Service the baseless attacks by Trump and his allies have harmed the company’s reputation abroad. No evidence of fraud has surfaced in any of the more than 50 lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign.
“I don’t think there is one customer in the world that has not come back to us to tell us either that this is a problem and this could endanger our future relationship – for existing customers – or that this could endanger a potential new contract,” Mugica said.
More significantly, Mugica said the baseless fraud claims have cost the company “hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars.”