Tech company Smartmatic recently sued Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corporation for disinformation in the US presidential election. The company accused Murdoch’s capable networks of defamation and contributing to events leading up to the Capitol siege.
On one side of the lawsuit is Smartmatic, which provided election technology in a county, and on the other, former US President Donald J. Trump’s longtime favorite news outlet and three Fox anchors (Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs, and Maria Bartiromo). A trial could reveal how Trump’s media supporters attempted to cast doubt on the election Joseph R. Biden Jr. won and an incumbent refusing to face reality lost.
The Smartmatic suit, filed in the New York Supreme Court, seeks a minimum of $2.7 billion in damages. The lawsuit also targets lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani, who represented President Trump in the case for election fraud and frequently appeared on Fox programs to speak about the case.
In Smartmatic’s 276-page complaint, the company requested a jury trial. It argued that Powell and Giuliani “created a story about Smartmatic” and “Fox joined the conspiracy to defame and disparage Smartmatic and its election technology and software.” The complaint also states, “The story turned neighbor against neighbor.” It continues, “The story led a mob to attack the US Capitol.”
Smartmatic filed the lawsuit three months after the election that Trump and his supporters repeatedly called rigged or stolen. Fox and its competitors OANN and Newsmax gave a significant broadcast time to commentators and hosts who questioned the election’s integrity at the time of a bitter political divide.
In the complaint, Smartmatic also says Fox programs became the venue for many false notions about the company in weeks after the election. The lawsuit further adds there were exchanges on Fox programs which spread the claim that Smartmatic provided its services to districts in contested states. Only Los Angeles County used Smartmatic’s services for the 2020 election. According to the complaint, Fox helped promote the false notion that Smartmatic had sent votes to other countries to get them manipulated.
After Election Day, Smartmatic’s name became prominent in baseless theories right-wing media outlets promoted. Smartmatic employees and their family members received threats, including death threats, some of which were cited in the complaint.