Fox Responds to Suit Saying It Was Only Reporting News on Trump Election Fraud Claims
(Bloomberg) -- Fox News Network says it was only performing its constitutionally-protected job of reporting the news when it repeated spurious election fraud claims by former President Donald Trump.
On that basis, the media giant asked a court Tuesday to dismiss a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by one of the targets of Trump’s phony claims, Dominion Voting Systems.
The Denver-based company filed suit in March, alleging that Fox News and several of its hosts “gave life” to a bogus conspiracy theory that the company altered vote counts and manipulated voting machines to help steal the election from Trump.
Read More: Fox News Faces $1.6 Billion Dominion Voting Defamation Suit
Fox News lawyers reject that claim, saying the network was doing nothing more than “covering both sides of this vigorous election dispute.”
“When a sitting president and aligned lawyers challenge an election through litigation, the public has a right to know those allegations and what evidence supports them,” they wrote in a filing in state court in Delaware. “Fox therefore had a broad free-speech right to interview the president’s lawyers and surrogates, regardless of whether they could substantiate their claims.”
Media critics say Fox News’s coverage of Trump’s election falsehoods -- along with that of other right-leaning networks --contributed to public doubts about U.S. elections and fueled the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6.
Fox News lawyers also argue that Dominion’s suit should be tossed because the network can’t be shown to have had “actual malice” against the voting machine company.
The media company claims Dominion is a public figure based on its “election-related” activities. To prove actual malice, Dominion would have to show that Fox News had a “high degree of awareness of the probable falsity” of what it was reporting, according to lawyers for the network.
Another target of Trump’s bogus claims, Smartmatic Corp., sued Fox News in February for $2.7 billion. Fox News filed a similar request for dismissal of that case.
The case is US Dominion v. Fox News Network, N21C-03-257 EMD, Delaware Superior Court (New Castle County).
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.