Well, here’s another one.
The massive lawsuit against Fox from Dominion Voting Systems over the network’s role in promoting false claims of election fraud — imaginary fraud that some claimed directly involved Dominion — is soon heading to trial in Delaware, and a New York court has approved allowing a second case against the company, this time from Smartmatic, to also go to trial. The judge decided that the case was made to a sufficient extent for later presentation to a jury. “Plaintiffs have pleaded facts sufficient to allow a jury to infer that Fox News acted with actual malice,” Judge David Cohen said.
The total in financial damages that Smartmatic is seeking is larger, reaching $2.7 billion, and its case, as it stands, also names defendants including Rudy Giuliani, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs. Giuliani, of course, is a longtime ally to the former president himself, and Dobbs is a now former host on Fox. Bartiromo still appears on air.
Allowing the Smartmatic lawsuit was a decision of the Supreme Court in Manhattan, which despite its name often associating such a body with the highest level of judicial decisions is not the top court in New York. The Smartmatic case, as highlighted by The Guardian, alleges a direct intention to deceive as behind disputed actions and comments from those included as defendants, and the election technology company has cited over 100 false statements about the firm made on Fox by hosts or guests.
Smartmatic ever figuring particularly prominently in false claims about the last presidential election was itself especially notable, since the company was only used in extremely limited areas in the United States during the 2020 elections. Dominion was used much more broadly. Among the false notions pushed after the 2020 presidential election was that Smartmatic and Dominion had a meaningfully coordinated relationship. In reality, the companies are competitors.
As also highlighted by The Guardian, Fox is continuing to rely, both in the Smartmatic and Dominion cases, on claims of press freedom and protections originating with the First Amendment. In the Dominion case, details gathered by that company have shown how many at Fox were either distrustful of, outright rejecting, or even internally pushing against lies about the last election as this stuff went on the air at the network. It’s been shown even Rupert Murdoch has distanced himself from these false allegations, leading to more predictable outrage from Trump, who keeps claiming fraud is why he lost back in 2020. Those kinds of revelations could help Dominion — and, if mirrored elsewhere, Smartmatic — with proving claims of actual malice or reckless disregard for the truth, as required in such cases.