Fox News Media Hosts Seek Dismissal of Smartmatic Suit

(Image credit: Future)

Fox News Media’s Maria Bartiromo and Judge Jeanine Pirro and former host Lou Dobbs have all filed motions to dismiss the Smartmatic defamation suit against them.

FNM has already filed a similar motion.

"Smartmatic’s headline-seeking, multi-billion-dollar lawsuit thus should be seen—and rejected—for what it is: an unconstitutional attempt by a money-losing company (Smartmatic reported $17 million in losses on just $144 million in revenue in 2019) to try to refill its coffers at the expense of our constitutional traditions," said Fox of the suit.

“Not only has Smartmatic failed to identify anything that could form the basis of a defamation (or disparagement) claim against Bartiromo; it has failed even to adequately plead actual malice," her motion argues, adding: “Maria Bartiromo did her job: she covered the unquestionably newsworthy story” which is fully protected by the First Amendment as it “entitles journalists like Bartiromo to interview people on both sides of a heated and actively litigated controversy (one or the other of which is shading the truth—if not both), so that objectively newsworthy claims can be tested in the crucible of robust debate.”

"The Smartmatic lawsuit should be dismissed 'for its abject failure to make sufficient allegations concerning Pirro herself," the Judge's motion said.

The Dobbs motion points to constitutional issues, saying “by interviewing members of the President’s legal team and offering opinions on their allegations, [Dobbs] was fully exercising his rights as a member of the press to address matters of public interest.”

Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion defamation and disparagement suit against Fox News owner Fox Corp. and the hosts alleging Fox conducted a disinformation campaign against the election technology company. Fox said the suit is without merit.

"The Earth is round. Two plus two equals four. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States. The election was not stolen, rigged, or fixed. These are facts. They are demonstrable and irrefutable," Smartmatic asserted.

That argument has clearly fallen flat with Fox and its hosts.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.