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Fox Business pulls highest-rated show after network sued for spreading 'disinformation'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs

Fox Business has canceled Lou Dobbs Tonight, its highest-rated show hosted by the staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, after Fox News and its star anchors were hit with a massive $2.7 billion lawsuit for spreading "disinformation."

"Lou Dobbs Tonight" is off the air effective immediately, a Fox spokesperson said on Friday. Dobbs will be replaced by an interim show starting Monday.

Dobbs became known at Fox Business for promoting Trump, who also regularly thanked the veteran news anchor in return.

Dobbs is one of three hosts named by Smartmatic, an election technology company, in a defamation case against Fox News.

The Los Angeles Times, which first reported on the lawsuit, said Dobbs “remains under contract at Fox News but he will in all likelihood not appear on the company's networks again.”

The lawsuit alleges that the Fox Corp. had engaged in a disinformation campaign that had a devastating impact on Smartmatic's ability to conduct business in the United States and around the world.

Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro were the other star anchors named in the court documents. The company is also suing Trump’s lawyers and allies Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

Smartmatic claims Giuliani and Powell, who regularly appeared on Fox News and Fox Business, “created a story about Smartmatic” that has “decimated” the company. The lawsuit also alleges that “Fox joined the conspiracy to defame and disparage Smartmatic and its election technology and software.”

The “story” Smartmatic is referring to is the claim by Trump and his allies that the November election was rigged against the former president and that Smartmatic participated in a fraudulent election.

Smartmatic accused Fox of making “100 false statements and implications” on air and that has damaged its business and future prospects.

Fox anchors, Dobbs in particular, repeatedly gave credence to Trump’s claims that the election was stolen.

The veteran anchor even directed his angst towards those congressional Republicans who condemned Trump for encouraging his far-right supporters to assault the US Capital on January 6, endangering lawmakers who had gathered to certify the electoral vote results.

Trump was impeached for an unprecedented second time by the House of Representatives for inciting an "insurrection," and faces a Senate trial next week. The attack left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.

Fox News was under fire following the Capitol violence, with some media experts accusing the conservative network of helping inspire the rampage through its incendiary rhetoric and reporting.  

Comments from prominent Fox hosts and guests had helped stoke Trump supporters' fury following the disputed election. Dobbs, for one, had suggested that Republicans who voted to certify Joe Biden's win were "criminal."

The lawsuit alleges that not only did Dobbs engage in a “defamation campaign against Smartmatic, but he “contributed additional falsehoods to the narrative.”

In his final weeks in office, Trump, however, criticized Fox News for not being sufficiently “loyal” after the conservative network acknowledged that Biden had won the election.

The former president reportedly personally called co-founder and chairman Rupert Murdoch, who stood by the network’s coverage.

Trump, meanwhile, voiced support for Dobbs on Friday evening.

"Lou Dobbs is and was great. Nobody loves America more than Lou," the former president argued. "He had a large and loyal following that will be watching closely for his next move, and that following includes me."

With Trump out of office, Fox News faces a rather uncertain future. The network’s ratings are on the slide at a time when viewers are heading to other conservative networks like Newsmax and One America.

In response to the lawsuit, the network said in a statement that they were “proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend against this meritless lawsuit in court.”




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