Pro-Trump media outlets apparently scramble to ward off lawsuits after pushing election conspiracies
Last week, Fox News ran a pre-recorded segment during Lou Dobbs' show that appeared to expose unsubstantiated claims made by some of the network's hosts about damaged voting machines in the November election. The segment was re-broadcast by Jeanine Pirro during the show on Sunday. And NewsMax, one of President Trump's most popular outlets, has recently started blurring its tracks. Much to the chagrin of some of its fans, the network has put a page on its website that "clarifies" coverage of the election conspiracy theory and also broadcasts a similar segment on television.
New York Times media columnist Ben Smith and others have suggested the postponement was related to legal threats from polling machine makers Smartmatic and Dominion, who allege defamation. Fox, writes Smith, should take the threat seriously, but it can likely handle lengthy, expensive litigation, and - despite the opinions of certain hosts - the network as a whole doesn't seem too keen on staying in Trump's good graces these days, anyway.
However, the lawsuits could be "existential" for smaller outlets like NewsMax or One America News Network that would like to turn into a kind of "Trump TV" in the future, writes Smith. They need large investors to do that, but legal action could put off potential buyers.
It's too early to say how the potential cases would play out, but legal experts spoke to Smith to believe they had legitimate status. Read more in the New York Times.
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