After Fox News was threatened with legal action by election software company Smartmatic, it repeatedly ran a “fact-check” segment over the weekend that debunked many of the claims regarding Smartmatic that had been made by its on-air hosts, in an apparent retraction of those claims.
Smartmatic sent a number of right-leaning media outlets — including Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN — a demand letter last Monday accusing them of defaming the company with numerous false statements and threatening legal action if some claims that were made on air were not retracted.
The segment first ran Friday on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” on the Fox Business channel. The segment was introduced by Dobbs, who said, “Lots of opinions about the integrity of the election, the irregularities of mail-in voting, of election voting machines and voting software. One of the companies is Smartmatic. And we reached out to one of the leading authorities on open source software for elections, Eddie Perez, for his insight and views. Eddie is the global director of tech development at the Open Source Technology Institute. We asked him for his assessment of Smartmatic and recent claims about the company.”
The clip then cut to Perez being interviewed by someone — clearly not Dobbs, although the interviewer was not identified — asking Perez questions about the Smartmatic controversy.
This is very bizarre. Lou Dobbs ran a segment tonight basically debunking his own lies about Smartmatic voting machines pic.twitter.com/FDM91SPtT1
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 19, 2020
Among other things noted by Perez in the segment, Perez stated:
- Smartmatic software was not used anywhere in the United States outside Los Angeles County.
- Perez has not seen any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to flip votes in the 2020 presidential election or any other election.
- Dominion and Smartmatic are separate companies, and neither has an ownership interest in the other.
- Perez is aware that an executive at Smartmatic has a “relationship” with one of George Soros’ many foundations, but he is not aware of any other relationship between Smartmatic and Soros.
- There is no evidence that Smartmatic sent United States votes to foreign countries for tabulation.
According to Forbes, the segment was repeated in its entirety numerous times over the weekend, particularly on shows hosted by Jeanine Pirro and Maria Bartiromo, who have been among the loudest voices at Fox in casting doubts on the reliability of Dominion voting machines and Smartmatic software.
A spokesperson for Fox would not confirm to Forbes that the segment was aired as part of a deal with Smartmatic or that it was aired as an attempt to avoid litigation, but instead merely characterized the segment as “fact-checks,” apparently of its own on-air personalities. A spokesperson for Smartmatic would not comment to the Guardian about whether the video meets the demands of the company’s letter, “due to potential litigation.”