Election machine company just sued Fox News for $2.7 billion. But the message they sent is priceless.
Fox News is learning that there are consequences to promoting conspiracy theories and lies. While it has failed to take any responsibility for promoting the lies that led to the attack on the Capitol building. It suddenly cares about honesty when faced with a lawsuit.
The company's questionable priorities were on display in December when it backed away from prompting conspiracies about Smartmatic voting systems. Various hosts and contributors on the network claimed that the voting machines were hacked to allow Joe Biden to defeat Donald Trump.
After Smartmatic threatened to sue the company alongside other right-wing media organizations, Fox ran a pre-recorded retraction on three different programs hosted by Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro.
@realDonaldTrump Lou Dobbs had to run a segment debunking his own lies about Smartmatic voting machines. Snartmati… https://t.co/z79fsZWsxS— Jenna (@Jenna)1608513305.0
The claims against Smartmatic that aired on Fox and other right-wing news organizations were easily debunked because the voting machines were only used in Los Angeles County, an area that voted heavily, and predictably for Joe Biden.
On Thursday, Smartmatic's threats became a reality after it filed a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox Corporation, Fox News, and the anchors Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro. The company is also suing Trump lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell who made the case for election fraud as guests on Fox programs.
In the 276-page suit, Smartmatic argues that Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell "created a story about Smartmatic" and that "Fox joined the conspiracy to defame and disparage Smartmatic and its election technology and software."
Smartmatic also claims that Fox "jeopardized" its "multibillion-dollar pipeline of business" and made it difficult for it to grow the company in the United States.
Here is the 285-page, $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit that election tech company Smartmatic filed today in state co… https://t.co/ZchGSvAl0r— Zoe Tillman (@Zoe Tillman)1612462504.0
The suit begins with a hilarious introduction that explains, from Smartmatic's viewpoint, why Fox News promoted the conspiracy theories.
1. The Earth is round. Two plus two equals four. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States. The election was not stolen, rigged, or fixed. These are facts. They are demonstrable and irrefutable.
2. Defendants have always known these facts. They knew Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 U.S. election. They knew the election was not stolen. They knew the election was not rigged or fixed. They knew these truths just as they knew the Earth is round and two plus two equals four.
3. Defendants did not want Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to win the election. They wanted President Donald Trump and Vice President Michael Pence to win re-election. Defendants were disappointed. But they also saw an opportunity to capitalize on President Trump's popularity by inventing a story. Defendants decided to tell people that the election was stolen from President Trump and Vice President Pence.
4. Defendants had an obvious problem with their story. They needed a villain. They needed someone to blame. They needed someone whom they could get others to hate. A story of good versus evil, the type that would incite an angry mob, only works if the storyteller provides the audience with someone who personifies evil.
5. Without any true villain, Defendants invented one. Defendants decided to make Smartmatic the villain in their story. Smartmatic is an election technology and software company. It was incorporated in Delaware and its U.S. operations are headquartered in Florida. In the 2020 U.S. election, Smartmatic provided election technology and software in Los Angeles County.
Nowhere else. Smartmatic had a relatively small, non-controversial role in the 2020 U.S. election.
6. Those facts would not do for Defendants. So, the Defendants invented new ones. In their story, Smartmatic was a Venezuelan company under the control of corrupt dictators from socialist countries. In their story, Smartmatic's election technology and software were used in many of the states with close outcomes. And, in their story, Smartmatic was responsible for stealing the 2020 election by switching and altering votes to rig the election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
7. Having invented their story, and created their villain, Defendants set about spreading the word. In November and December 2020, Fox News broadcasted thirteen (13) reports stating and implying that Smartmatic had stolen the 2020 U.S. election.
Fox responded by saying it will defend its reporting in court.
"Fox News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion," a spokeswoman for Fox said. "We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court."
Smartmatic is requesting a jury trial so it'll be interesting to see how the organization defends itself. The trial could force the organization to publicly admit it knew that it was trafficking in conspiracy theories. That would further diminish its credibility and it may force its viewers to face the fact that they were misled all along.
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