Florida-based Elections Vendor Demands Conservative Media Retract Rigging Reports

December 15, 2020by David Smiley, The Miami Herald (TNS)
Broward County election department employees counting ballots during the general election at the Lauderhill Office Supervisor of Elections on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, in Lauderhill, Florida. (David Santiago/Miami Hearld/TNS)

MIAMI — A global elections vendor founded in South Florida is threatening to sue Fox News and other conservative media outlets for defamation unless they prominently retract unfounded reports alleging a conspiracy to rig the 2020 vote against President Donald Trump.

Smartmatic, which keeps its U.S. headquarters in Boca Raton, announced Monday that it may file lawsuits against Fox News, One America News Network and Newsmax over a “concerted disinformation campaign” to claim or suggest the company was involved in an effort to steal the Nov. 3 election from Trump. All three networks have amplified baseless claims by Trump and attorneys working with his campaign that Smartmatic software was used to manipulate vote totals.

“They have no evidence to support their attacks on Smartmatic because there is no evidence,” Antonio Mugica, CEO of Smartmatic, said in a statement released to the press. “This campaign was designed to defame Smartmatic and undermine legitimately conducted elections.”

In a letter last week to Fox News’ general counsel, an attorney representing Smartmatic, J. Erik Connolly, said the network’s reporting had led to death threats against employees and executives for the elections company. He demanded that the network preserve documents and communications related to its reporting in case Smartmatic chooses to file a lawsuit.

A Smartmatic spokeswoman told the Miami Herald that Newsmax and OANN received similar letters. The company has also said that letters would also be sent to Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani and to Sidney Powell, a lawyer who appeared with Giuliani during a rambling press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington last month.

Newsmax responded Monday by saying the network — a pro-Trump outlet also based in Palm Beach County — “has never made a claim of impropriety about Smartmatic, its ownership or software.”

“Individuals, including plaintiff’s attorneys, Congressmen and others, have appeared on Newsmax raising questions about the company and its voting software, citing legal documents or previously published reports about Smartmatic,” the statement said. “As any major media outlet, we provide a forum for public concerns and discussion. In the past we have welcomed Smartmatic and its representatives to counter such claims they believe to be inaccurate and will continue to do so.”

Attempts to reach OANN were not successful. Irena Briganti, Fox News’ senior executive vice president for corporate communications, did not respond to two emails seeking comment.

Though they have presented no credible evidence to support it, Trump and attorneys working with or on behalf of his campaign have claimed for weeks that Smartmatic worked to manipulate the 2020 election. The allegations revolve around an unsupported conspiracy theory that Smartmatic worked with Hugo Chavez, the late Venezuelan strongman, to create an election software that allowed for the manipulation of results, and then used that software to prevent Trump from winning a second term.

The allegations have been submitted in recent weeks on behalf of losing lawsuits seeking to overturn results in swing states that voted for Democratic nominee and President-elect Joe Biden. U.S. authorities have publicly confirmed the security of the election and said investigations into fraud allegations have produced no evidence.

Furthermore, according to Smartmatic, the company’s software was used in only one local jurisdiction in the U.S. this year, in Los Angeles County. But the claims have been repeated by guests and hosts on the three networks. And in his 20-page letter to Fox News, Connolly highlighted dozens of statements by hosts and by Giuliani and Powell claiming that Smartmatic’s software included a “backdoor” to rig election results.

“The damage your disinformation campaign has done, and will do, to Smartmatic’s revenue and business valuation will be measured in the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars,” Connolly wrote to Fox, noting the importance of reputation to an elections vendor. “Your false and defamatory statements undermine the reputation for reliability that Smartmatic has spent almost 20 years building.”

Connolly demanded that Fox publish a retraction by Tuesday. A Smartmatic spokeswoman said Monday that the company had not yet received a response from any of the media outlets.

___

(c)2020 Miami Herald

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Media

Voice of America Director Accused of Financial and Media Self-Dealing
In The News
Voice of America Director Accused of Financial and Media Self-Dealing
January 14, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The Trump-appointed chief executive who oversees Voice of America is facing an onslaught of crises only days before the president is scheduled to leave office. First, the attorney general of the District of Columbia last week sued U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael... Read More

DC's Top Federal Prosecutor Condemns Violence Against Journalists at Capitol Riot
Media
DC's Top Federal Prosecutor Condemns Violence Against Journalists at Capitol Riot
January 12, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The top federal prosecutor in Washington said Tuesday investigators are aware of multiple reports of reporters being assaulted and otherwise abused during last Wednesday's siege at the U.S. Capitol and vowed to bring the guilty parties to justice. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker said... Read More

Lincoln Project’s Ads in Palm Beach County Aimed at Vacationing, TV-watching Trump
Political News
Lincoln Project’s Ads in Palm Beach County Aimed at Vacationing, TV-watching Trump

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Lincoln Project, which spent much of the year trolling President Donald Trump with TV ads aimed directly at him, is deploying the tactic in South Florida. Starting Wednesday, if Trump turns on the TV at the two locations he’s spent time... Read More

Report: Gov't Spyware Targets Phones of Al-Jazeera Reporters
Media
Report: Gov't Spyware Targets Phones of Al-Jazeera Reporters

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dozens of journalists at Al-Jazeera, the Qatari state-owned media company, have been targeted by advanced spyware in an attack likely linked to the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a cybersecurity watchdog said Sunday. Citizen Lab at... Read More

Florida-based Elections Vendor Demands Conservative Media Retract Rigging Reports
Media
Florida-based Elections Vendor Demands Conservative Media Retract Rigging Reports

MIAMI — A global elections vendor founded in South Florida is threatening to sue Fox News and other conservative media outlets for defamation unless they prominently retract unfounded reports alleging a conspiracy to rig the 2020 vote against President Donald Trump. Smartmatic, which keeps its U.S.... Read More

Time Magazine Names Biden, Harris 2020 Person of the Year
Media
Time Magazine Names Biden, Harris 2020 Person of the Year
December 11, 2020
by Dan McCue

NEW YORK - Time magazine has named Joe Biden and Kamala Harris 2020's Person of the Year. The two made history on November 7 when they beat Donald Trump after an election marked by a surging public health crisis and an incumbent president who questioned the... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top