Other than former President Donald Trump himself, there may be no voice in America more culpable for spreading the dangerous myth of a stolen Nov. 3 election than Fox News. The cable network has duped millions of its viewers into accepting Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories and lies that fueled the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. Now Fox faces a $2.7 billion defamation suit by a voting-machine manufacturer that the network’s hosts and guests claimed — ludicrously — was “flipping” votes against Trump. Perhaps a crippling legal judgment is what it will finally take to get Fox to stop poisoning democracy.
Fox News presenters didn’t just spin the facts, they outright misrepresented them. In the weeks after the Nov. 3 election, hosts like Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, and their guests, relentlessly promoted Trump’s debunked claims of mass voter fraud, often presenting this disproven falsehood as if it was established fact.
Among the most egregious lies was a conspiracy theory repeatedly spewed by Trump lawyers (and frequent Fox guests) Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. They created a fiction out of thin air that a company called Smartmatic, which operates electronic voting systems, was founded by cronies of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez “in order to fix elections,” and that Smartmatic machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden to help Biden win the election.