Fox News hits the panic button

Sometimes the line between a nuisance and a legitimate lawsuit is a thin one. But legal experts agree that there is no question that Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit naming Fox News, Fox News hosts (and ex-hosts) Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro, and lawyers Rudy Giuliani, and Sidney Powell is legitimate. Legal experts are nearly unanimous in saying that if Smartmatic hasn’t the right to sue these people then no one does.

Smartmatic is the multinational company that builds and implements electronic voting systems. They were accused — without evidence — by the above named defendants in the lawsuit of deliberately rigging the 2020 presidential election in such a way as to cause Donald Trump to lose and Joe Biden to win. In a panic, Fox News has now fired Lou Dobbs. So far it has calculated the economic impact of hanging on to Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro and decided not to fire them. Yet. But the night, as they say, is still young.

Senior CNN analyst Laura Coates put it this way, “When you are making statements that are knowingly false, and you make them with malice, and you actually tarnish reputations and it has a financial consequence — that’s why you have defamation lawsuits in the first place.” Fox News, the deepest pockets among the defendants, is almost certainly going to lose a lot of money to this suit and they know it.

Smartmatic’s lawyer Eric Connolly said, “I think it’s the type of case that has to be brought right now to try to get us away from disinformation. Disinformation has a free rein right now. This kind of case can be a shot across the bow that courts can deliver that says, ‘Let’s get back to reality. Let’s get back to factual reporting.'”

Fox News now has the reality check it finally deserves, and it comes with a bloodcurdling $2.7 billion price tag. The burden of the cost of the suit will fall almost exclusively on Fox.

In the introduction to its lawsuit, Smartmatic put it this way: “The earth is round. Two plus two equals four. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States. The election was not stolen, rigged, or fixed, these are facts. They are demonstrable and irrefutable.”

This is the world that Donald Trump has created and many of his partisans are discovering that that world, founded on lies Trump told, has real and tangible and painful consequences. Traitorous Capitol insurgents really are going to prison, Marjorie Taylor Greene really did lose her committee assignments and Fox News really is going to potentially lose a network-crippling amount of money.

The train of accountability for Trumpism is pulling into the station, and those who thought they could get away with repeating Donald Trump’s lies must now get on board. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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