Fox Business host Lou Dobbs was first. In his show Friday night, the staunchly pro-Trump host aired a segment that pretty much debunked some of the claims that some of the network’s host have been making. The segment is the result of a legal threat that voting technology company Smartmatic sent to Fox News, accusing it of participating in a “disinformation campaign” against the firm. Dobbs introduced the segment by saying “there are lots of opinions about the integrity of the election, the irregularities of mail-in voting, of election voting machines and voting software.” He went on to introduce Edward Perez, an expert with the nonprofit Open Source Election Technology Institute, to give “his assessment of Smartmatic and recent claims about the company.”
What followed was a startling pre-taped segment in which Perez proceeded to answer questions from an unidentified person that essentially dismissed several of the conspiracy theories that several Fox News hosts, including Dobbs had been peddling. “I have not seen any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to delete, change, alter anything related to vote tabulation,” Perez said. Fox News will also be airing the segment on Jeanine Pirro’s show Saturday night and Maria Bartiromo’s show on Sunday.
The segment came shortly after Smartmatic sent a 20-page legal demand letter to Fox News Media. It also sent similar letters to Newsmax and One America News demanding “a full and complete retraction of all false and defamatory statements and reports” aired by the networks. The letter includes several statements made by Dobbs as well as in the shows hosted by Pirro and Bartiromo.
Perez said he was not aware his interview would be used this way and noted he thought the whole thing seemed a bit strange from the beginning. “I was never informed that the content would be for Mr. Dobbs’ show,” Perez told CNN. “And my reaction was to observe as many others have how kind of strange and unique that particular way at presenting the facts was.” Gregory A. Miller, a co-founder of Open Source Election Technology Institute, told the Washington Post that “we were all surprised when it ran, how it was framed, and what it ended up being.”