September 21, 2021

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Dominion Sues Fox News, Claiming Defamation in Election Coverage – The New York Times

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Dominion, which was founded in 2002, is one of the largest manufacturers of voting machine equipment in the United States, and its machines were used by election authorities in at least 28 states last year, including several states carried by Mr. Trump.

Allies of Mr. Trump falsely portrayed the company as biased toward Mr. Biden and argued, without evidence, that it was tied to Hugo Chávez, the long-dead Venezuelan dictator. John Poulos, Dominion’s founder, and other employees received harassing and threatening messages from people convinced that the company had undermined the election results.

Fox News and Fox Business programs were among the mass-media venues where Mr. Trump’s supporters denounced Dominion. The lawsuit also cites examples where the Fox hosts, including Ms. Bartiromo and Ms. Dobbs, uncritically repeated or actively vouched for the false claims made by Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell.

“Fox took a small flame and turned it into a forest fire,” Dominion wrote in the lawsuit. “As the dominant media company among those viewers dissatisfied with the election results, Fox gave these fictions a prominence they otherwise would never have achieved.”

Dominion’s lawyers on Friday also cited an unusual argument made by Ms. Powell in a motion, filed on Monday, to dismiss the separate Dominion suit against her.

In that motion, Ms. Powell’s lawyers asserted that because political language is often inexact, “reasonable people” would not accept Ms. Powell’s baseless claims as facts. Ms. Powell — who never allowed in public appearances that she was anything less than confident in her assertions — was essentially arguing that her conspiratorial claims were self-evidently hyperbolic and therefore not defamatory.

Dominion says it recently lost major contracts with election officials in Georgia and Louisiana, adding that the company is now facing “the hatred, contempt, and distrust of tens of millions of American voters.”

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