On Sunday, former President Donald Trump delivered a lie-filled speech at this year’s Dallas edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) — and Fox News, which traditionally harbors and promotes far-right thinking, actually ran an on-screen fact-check during part of the former president’s remarks. While in Dallas, Trump continued to promote his false claims about the integrity of last year’s presidential election, and that’s what Fox’s fact-check addressed. The on-screen message noted that voting technology companies that Trump and his allies have singled out as part of alleged fraud schemes have denied the claims against them.
The fact-check, which according to CNN’s Oliver Darcy was on screen for about 40 seconds, read as follows:
‘The voting system companies have denied the various allegations made by President Trump and his counsel regarding the 2020 election.’
This is a real disclaimer that ran on Fox during Trump's CPAC Dallas speech: "THE VOTING SYSTEM COMPANIES HAVE DENIED THE VARIOUS ALLEGATIONS MADE BY PRESIDENT TRUMP…" pic.twitter.com/cTvWJgV9DK
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) July 11, 2021
Concern about potential legal problems no doubt fueled the decision at Fox to put the fact-check on viewers’ screens. Fox has already been facing two hefty defamation lawsuits from tech companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, both of which have — without legitimate evidence — been alleged to have had a part in the imaginary election-rigging that Trump and his cohorts have claimed was responsible for Biden’s victory. Dominion has sued Fox for $1.6 billion, while Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion case that named, besides Fox itself, then-anchors Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, and Maria Bartiromo (alongside others) as defendants. Since the filing of the Smartmatic case, Fox has cancelled Dobbs’s show.
Fox’s disclaimer, of course, doesn’t quite cover the whole story. In fact, besides denials of Trump and co.’s allegations from voting technology companies, judges across the country have also rejected the claims, as have election authorities in individual states. No court anywhere has ever accepted the notion that fraud of any kind was responsible for Biden’s win, and officials of both major political parties in every single state have attested to the legitimacy of their states’ election results. Trump’s continued claims of fraud reveal him as wildly ignorant and out of his depth. A problem, though, is that Republicans are sticking by him.