April 13, 2021

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Fox News hit with $1.6 billion lawsuit over election fraud claims – NBC News

3 min read

Dominion Voting systems, one of the largest election equipment manufacturers in the U.S. and the subject of false conspiracy theories by conservative figures, has sued Fox News for $1.6 billion.

The suit highlights the number of times Fox News segments contained false claims that Dominion equipment was used to rig the 2020 election, that it was tied to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, or that it paid off U.S. government officials.

“Fox took a small flame and turned it into a forest fire,” the 441-page lawsuit reads. “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. With Fox’s global platform, an audience of hundreds of millions, and the inevitable and extensive republication and dissemination of the falsehoods through social media, these lies deeply damaged Dominion’s once-thriving business.”

A Fox spokesperson said in an email that “FOX News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court.”

The suit is the fifth billion-dollar lawsuit filed by an election company over false claims that the 2020 election was rigged, and the fourth by Dominion. Dominion has sued Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, lawyers affiliated with former President Donald Trump, as well as MyPillow Founder and Trump supporter Mike Lindell for their roles in sharing false claims about the company.

“The disinformation campaign waged against our company has caused us severe damage and undermined trust in American democratic institutions,” John Poulos, Dominion’s CEO, said in an email. “These lies also have threatened the personal safety of our employees and customers. No amount of money will repair the damage done.”

Election vendor Smartmatic, which does little business in the U.S. but was the subject of related conspiracy theories, sued Fox for $2.7 billion in February. 

Powell recently argued in a court filing that “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.” Lindell, who has been banned from Twitter for spreading election misinformation, previously told NBC he was “happy” about the suit, because he felt he had been censored and “it gives me a voice.”

Despite the theories, no election authority in the U.S. found evidence of large-scale fraud in the 2020 election. Nine days after the election, a joint statement from the U.S. federal agencies that aided with the election under the Trump administration, as well as from groups that jointly represent the top election officials from all 50 states, declared: “While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should, too.”

A subsequent Department of Homeland Security audit released March 16 found “no evidence” that election results were manipulated.

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