Newsmax Says Reporting Trump’s Vote-Rigging Claims Justified
(Bloomberg) -- Newsmax Media Inc. said its extensive reporting on Donald Trump’s election-conspiracy theory is justified in part by the former president’s continued claim that the 2020 election was rigged.
Newsmax made the argument in seeking dismissal of a lawsuit filed in August by Dominion Voting Systems Inc., which says the news outlet knowingly or recklessly broadcast false claims that Dominion’s machines flipped millions of votes away from Trump.
“A sitting President, with the full support of his party, disputed -- in fact, continues to dispute -- the outcome,” Newsmax said in a filing Friday in a Delaware court. “Obviously, the stakes of this dispute for the nation could not have been higher.”
Dominion’s suits against Newsmax and other conservative outlets, including Fox News, could test the limit of the free-speech rights of journalists under the First Amendment. The company argues media outlets aren’t protected when they broadcast claims they have no valid reason to believe are true.
Newsmax, accused of creating an “alternate reality” for Trump supporters to live in, rejected as “myopic hyperbole” Dominion’s claim that it amplified the conspiracy theory to curry favor with Trump and siphon viewers from Fox.
“Being a for-profit news organization does not eliminate First Amendment protections,” Newsmax said. “Surely, Dominion does not contend that CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, or any television news organization does not wish to ‘lure’ viewers away from their competitors.”
Fox also has moved to dismiss the $1.6 billion lawsuit filed against it in March by Dominion. The complaint alleges Fox broadcast “inherently implausible and verifiably false” claims about Dominion in order to keep viewers from fleeing to more conservative news outlets. Fox says it was just reporting the news.
The case is U.S. Dominion Inc. v. Newsmax Media Inc., N21C-08-063, Superior Court of the State of Delaware (Wilmington).
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.