Economy|Business and Economy

Fox News asks US judge to dismiss $2.7B election lawsuit
Voting tech firm Smartmatic Corp has accused Fox News of executing a coordinated disinformation campaign, saying that the network perpetrated the narrative that the firm conspired against Donald Trump in last year’s United States presidential election.
Fox News is also fighting a similar suit by Dominion Voting Systems, whose technology was used in dozens of states in the 2020 US election [File: Bloomberg]
By Erik LarsonBloomberg
17 Aug 2021
A Fox News lawyer was grilled by a judge about the network’s extensive coverage of false claims that the voting technology firm Smartmatic Corp. conspired against Donald Trump in November’s presidential election, as Fox seeks dismissal of a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit.
At a hearing Tuesday in Manhattan, Justice David Cohen asked Fox to explain why former anchor Lou Dobbs repeatedly claimed on air in November and December that there was new, “groundbreaking” evidence of voter fraud even after U.S. officials had debunked such claims.
“That is clearly his opinion,” Fox News attorney Paul Clement said. “It was a widely shared opinion at the time.”
Fox argues that remarks by Dobbs, as well as by Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, are constitutionally protected speech. It also argues they were reporting fairly on claims being made on air by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, who are also named in the suit.
At the time, Giuliani and Powell were claiming to “essentially have mountains of evidence — evidence coming out of a fire hose,” Clement told the judge.
None of the defendants so far have presented evidence that the claims were accurate. Even so, millions of Americans continue to believe Trump’s allegation that massive voter fraud led to his defeat — claims that helped trigger the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump’s supporters.
Fox has moved to dismiss a similar suit by Dominion Voting Systems Inc., whose technology is used in dozens of states. A federal judge last week allowed Dominion’s suits against Giuliani and Powell to proceed, ruling they never provided evidence to back their conspiracy theory.
Smartmatic lawyer Erik Connolly said at the hearing that Fox’s reports weren’t protected because the false claims about Smartmatic didn’t stem from coverage of a legitimate government investigation. The network did a “dance” with Giuliani and Powell to get their message out, he said.
Connolly took aim at Fox’s assertion that Dobbs has additional protection because his show was based on his opinions rather than on fact-based reporting, arguing that Fox and Dobbs “present that show as a news program.”
“Mr. Dobbs did everything he could to reinforce the notion that he and his guests were providing concrete facts to the audience members, and they were facts that other news networks weren’t telling them or the government wasn’t paying attention to,” Connolly said.
Earlier this year Fox canceled Dobbs’s nightly show but said it was part of changes that had already been in the works.
The case is Smartmatic USA Corp. v. Fox Corp., 151136/2021, Supreme Court of the State of New York (Manhattan).
US officials declare first-ever water shortage for Colorado River
Officials called on populations served by the river to reduce water usage starting next year.
17 Aug 2021
NATO chief blames Afghan leadership for Kabul collapse
‘Failure of the Afghan leadership led to the tragedy we are witnessing today,’ Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says.
17 Aug 2021
Fox News fined $1m for sexual harassment and retaliation
Watchdog said women who rejected sexual advances were retaliated against with less on-air time and poorer assignments.
30 Jun 2021
Theranos’s Elizabeth Holmes may go unmasked at US criminal trial
A lawyer for Elizabeth Holmes, without explaining why, said her team has a ‘strong preference’ that she not wear a mask.
16 Aug 2021
Dorsey steps down as Twitter CEO, replaced by CTO Parag Agrawal
Moderna says Omicron vaccine could be ready by early 2022
Erdogan on rates: ‘I will never compromise on this issue’
US stocks rebound after Friday’s Omicron fuelled sell-off
Blood test offers new hope to people with depression
South Africa: Omicron travel ban by African nations ‘regrettable’
Indian comic: ‘My name is Munawar Faruqui… I’m done, Goodbye’
Why Iran may become a latent nuclear state
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2021 Al Jazeera Media Network