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Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Newsmax Spins To Insist That Its Dominion Lawsuit Is Different From Fox News' Lawsuit
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's coverage of Dominon Voting Systems' lawsuit against Fox News over claims that it knowingly broadcast lies about election fraud after the 2020 election was largely subdued -- perhaps not surprising given that Dominion is also suing Newsmax for the same thing. It ran the occasional story on revelations found in the lawsuit, and it even tried to defend Fox News by noting a claim that Dominion officials were invited on Fox News but refused.

When Fox News settled with Dominion for a whopping $787.5 million, coverage was muted on its website, largely limited to a single wire story on the settlement. But given that, it also had to do some damage control. Thus, an April 19 article by Marisa Herman declared that "Dominion Voting Systems still has a pending lawsuit against Newsmax, but the media outlet says there are different facts in its case that will enable it to prevail in court." Herman then cited how MSNBC's Joe Scarborough noted Newsmax made the occasional attempt to swat down election fraud claims during an appearance with New York Times media critic Jim Rutenberg:

Rutenberg told Scarborough: "I don't see how Newsmax can get through this case [the] way that [they] just did. Look at the resources Rupert Murdoch has . . . they don't have the money to settle like the way Rupert Murdoch did."

But Scarborough quickly noted major differences between Fox's and Newsmax's coverage.

Scarborough recounted: "We had that moment when you had an anchor, when Mike Lindell, Mr. Pillow, came on and started lying. The anchor literally got out of his chair, and basically in the words of Eric Cartman, basically said, 'Screw yourself, I'm going home.' And he got up and walked off the set."

Scarborough asked Rutenberg, "Didn't that show that Newsmax, at least, tried to move beyond and made their apologies and tried to mitigate any damages?"

Rutenberg agreed: "That was certainly a moment."

Scarborough's story referenced a Feb. 2, 2021, appearance by Mike Lindell and his exchange with Newsmax anchor Bob Sellers.

That, of course, was more than three months after the election, long after Newsmax had promoted attacks on Dominion and fellow voting-tech company Smartmatic, which we've documnented.

Herman then recited her employer's legal defense against Dominion, which it portrayed as different from the situation Fox News was in:

After Fox's settlement was announced Tuesday, Newsmax released another statement:

Newsmax believes that the facts at issue in Dominion's case against it are materially different from those that may have driven Fox to settle, and no conclusion about Newsmax should be drawn from that settlement. Newsmax stands by its coverage and analysis of the 2020 election and will continue to vigorously defend against the claim.

Dominion sued Newsmax in Delaware state court in August 2021, and the case is ongoing.

Newsmax, in its court filings, has stated that:

  • It reported fairly and accurately on the public statements made by President Trump, his attorneys, and surrogates.
  • Newsmax reported on both television and online claims by multiple officials and experts that the election was not "stolen" or "rigged."
  • Newsmax published online at least a dozen articles sharing Dominion's response to Trump campaign claims. Those headlines appeared on Newsmax TV.
  • On Dec. 19, 2020, Newsmax published to its website a statement, "Facts About Dominion, Smartmatic You Should Know," which read, in part, "No evidence has been offered that Dominion or Smartmatic used software or reprogrammed software that manipulated votes in the 2020 election."
  • Newsmax shared its statement over the course of months during segments related and unrelated to the 2020 election.

It should be noted that Fox News has never made a statement, even after its settlement, as strong and specific as Newsmax's statement of Dec. 19, 2020.

It should also be noted that Newsmax made that Dec. 19 stdatement only after Smartmatic sent Newsmax a legal notice demanding a retraction.

Herman continued to push her employer's (or, more to the point, her employer's lawyers') defense again Dominion:

Dominion has cited more than 3,600 communications it purportedly sent to reporters and producers throughout the Fox News organization correcting allegations and asking it to clarify its reporting, which were largely ignored.

Meanwhile Dominion purports to have sent a handful of communications to a single Newsmax employee — which they have not produced to date.

Newsmax acted promptly in clarifying its reporting and attempted early on to have Dominion representatives on the network, Newsmax has stated.

"Newsmax believes that it acted well within the First Amendment to provide Americans with facts and opinions that helped them make an informed opinion about the 2020 election results," Christopher Ruddy, Newsmax CEO, said.

Ruddy noted that the first mention on Newsmax of an allegation about Dominion by Trump attorney Sidney Powell was on Nov. 16, 2020. In the ensuing weeks she and others within the Trump campaign promised to reveal evidence of software manipulation.

When that evidence failed to appear, Newsmax, in a reasonable time, noted that failure.

"Anyone who looks at this fairly, including jurors, will conclude we acted reasonably," Ruddy said.

Not only did Herman offer no supporting evidence to prove this defense, she also didn't give Dominion a chance to respond to the claims. She also didn't mention that Newsmax reached an out-of-court settlement with Dominion executive Eric Coomer, which included retracting defamatory claims it made about him.

Newsmax followed this with an attempt to capitalize on the settlement in an anonymously written April 19 article touting how "A recent study of major American media by the respected Economist magazine found that Newsmax rates among the top cable networks in public trust" -- though the numbers show Newsmax still running far behind CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Still, it quoted Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy insisting that ""The Economist/YouGov findings show a large and increasing number of Americans trust Newsmax's 'real news' — a significant accomplishment for a relatively new network."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:58 PM EDT

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