Defamation | Disinformation

Dominion Voting Systems Sues Fox for Defamation

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Dominion Voting Systems, a voting technology company based in Toronto, Ontario, is suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in damages for spreading false information that their technology was used to rig the 2020 presidential election.

In a complaint filed in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware on March 26th, Dominion highlights four main “outlandish, defamatory, and far-fetching fictions” that the TV network helped spread, namely:

“(1) Dominion committed election fraud by rigging the 2020 Presidential Election, (2) Dominion’s software and algorithms manipulated vote counts in the 2020 Presidential Election, (3) Dominion is owned by a company founded in Venezuela to rig elections for the dictator Hugo Chávez; and (4) Dominion paid kickbacks to government officials who used its machines in the 2020 Presidential Election,” the complaint states.

Also read: Are Defamation Lawsuits Being Used to Rein in Disinformation Spread by News Outlets?

According to the complaint, Fox deliberately aired false information about the company to boost their ratings. After Fox News initially reported the election results in favor of Joe Biden, many of their viewers fled to Newsmax and One America News Network which were repeating then-president Donald Trump’s claims that the election was stolen from him. Fox knew that Trump’s election fraud claims were verifiably false, the suit claims, but chose to elevate them in order to win back pro-Trump audiences.

“Even though the lies about Dominion were inherently implausible and verifiably false when first made, Fox elevated and lent credibility to these lies on the airwaves of Fox, which in turn fueled the recirculation of those lies through digital and social media. And Fox continued to promote, endorse, and republish the falsehoods for weeks on the airwaves and its digital platforms, even after more and more paper ballot recounts and sources across the political spectrum had repeatedly disproven the lies about Dominion,” the complaint states.

Dominion has also filed libel suits against former Trump lawyers, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, as well as against My Pillow CEO, Mike Lindell, all of whom made frequent appearances on Fox News where they spoke about how Dominion’s technology was used to rig the election in favor of Biden.

In response to the lawsuit, Fox said in a statement that the company is “committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion,” and that they are “proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court.”

This is the second major lawsuit filed against the network over its election coverage. In February, a separate election technology company, Smartmatic, sued Fox News and three of the network’s hosts for publishing “over 100 false and misleading statements,” about the company.