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Dominion Links Fox Spread of Election Lies to Desperate Ratings Stunt

The voting machine company says Fox recklessly disregarded what it knew to be the truth about the election in a cynical effort to win back the affection of Trump loyalists.

The voting machine company says Fox recklessly disregarded what it knew to be the truth about the election in a cynical effort to win back the affection of Trump loyalists.

WILMINGTON (CN) — Demanding $1.6 billion in damages, Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox News on Friday for spreading election disinformation about its voting boxes.

“Fox engaged in this knowing and reckless propagation of these enormous falsehoods in order to profit off these lies,” says the complaint, filed this morning in Delaware Superior Court. “Fox wanted to continue to protect its broadcast ratings, catering to an audience deeply loyal to President Trump.” 

Represented by Brian E. Farnan in Wilmington, Dominion includes a swath of screenshots, tweets and graphs in its complaint to tie Fox reporting to the unprecedented harassment the company and its workers have faced in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

"Fox took a small flame and turned it into a forest fire. ... While Dominion was known within the voting machine industry and supplied machines in 28 states, it was little known to the public at large," the complaint states.

"These lies transformed Dominion into a household name. As a result of Fox’s orchestrated defamatory campaign, Dominion’s employees, from its software engineers to its founder and chief executive officer, have been repeatedly harassed. Some have even received death threats. And of course, Dominion’s business has suffered enormous and irreparable economic harm."

Why Fox did this is obvious, Dominion explains, noting the impact of tweets that Trump began publishing after the network projected back on Nov. 7 that he had lost the election to now-President Joe Biden.

As Fox's ratings went into freefall, those of the right-wing rival networks Newsmax and OANN soared.

"Fox understood that it needed to embrace and amplify the lies that had begun to circulate about Dominion," the complaint says, going on to quote the audacious claims of Trump's lawyers, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani "that the election had been stolen by vote-flipping algorithms in Dominion machines that had been created in Venezuela to rig elections for Hugo Chávez."

Screenshots of Giuliani, Powell and pillow salesman Mike Lindell litter the complaint, alongside the faces and tweets of hosts like Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson.

Separately, Dominion has already brought suits against, Giuliani, Lindell and Powell. Now reimagining her rabid claims that Dominion conspired to rob Trump of a win last November, Powell recently claimed in court that “no reasonable person” would believe her widespread and baseless claims about election fraud.

Dominion's suit against Fox follows a similar case against the network by Smartmatic, another voting machine company. Smartmatic also sued the hosts Pirro, Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo.

"The disinformation campaign waged against our company has caused us severe damage and undermined trust in American democratic institutions,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement about his company's lawsuit Friday. “These lies also have threatened the personal safety of our employees and customers.

“No amount of money will repair the damage done," he added.

Fox News meanwhile responded Friday that it 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.”

Pointing to its motion to dismiss in the Smartmatic case, the company asserts that it covered the election “as the story unfolded” and gave the company the chance to deny the allegations made by their hosts.

“Fox did exactly what the First Amendment protects: It ensured that the public had access to newsmakers and unquestionably newsworthy information that would help foster ‘uninhibited, robust, and wide-open’ debate on rapidly developing events of unparalleled importance,” Fox wrote in that filing, authored by Kirkland & Ellis partner Paul Clement.

This story is developing...

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