The company, Smartmatic, said Fox News, One America News and Newsmax have helped spread false and defamatory claims that are not supported by actual evidence and could easily have been debunked by basic research.
“They have no evidence to support their attacks on Smartmatic because there is no evidence,” Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica said in a statement. “This campaign was designed to defame Smartmatic and undermine legitimately conducted elections. ”
As President Donald Trump continues to attack the integrity of the electoral system, some of his allies have turned to Smartmatic because of the services he provided to Los Angeles County for the 2020 election.
The baseless conspiracy theories peddled about Smartmatic, which mimic those pushed against Dominion Voting Systems, mistakenly suggest that the company’s technology helped rig the November vote against Trump. Some strains of the conspiracy theory were aimed at linking the company to late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez and George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist who is described as a boogeyman in right-wing media.
In its legal opinion to Fox News, Smartmatic identified several instances in which such theories were broadcast by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani or former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell. The legal opinion, which said the claims made about Chavez and Soros had no truth for them, also identified cases in which pro-Trump propagandists in the network, such as Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo, contributed to spread false information.
“Fox News launched a disinformation campaign against Smartmatic shortly after the election closed and continues today,” the statement read. “During the campaign, Fox News published and republished dozens of false and misleading statements regarding Smartmatic. ”
The legal opinion said it believed Fox News had “no evidence or credible source to support” the misrepresentations made on its airwaves and said the network “would have easily discovered the falsity of the statements and the implications made. about Smartmatic with at least a minimum of investigation. ”
“Smartmatic demands a full and complete retraction of all false and defamatory statements and reports published by Fox News,” the legal notice added. “This retraction should be done with the same intensity and level of coverage that you used to defame the business in the first place. ”
Smartmatic, which has said it reserves its legal right to pursue possible libel suits against Fox News, One America News and Newsmax, said its response to the conspiracy theories was “more than Smartmatic or any other company.”
“This campaign is an attack on electoral systems and election workers in an effort to dampen confidence in future elections and potentially counter the will of voters, not only here, but in democracies around the world,” Mugica said.
A Fox News spokesperson did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A representative of One America News, the small right-wing channel to which Smartmatic also sent a legal notice, did not either.
Newsmax said in a statement that he himself had “never made a claim for irregularity regarding Smartmatic, its property or its software.”
“Individuals, including lawyers for the plaintiffs, members of Congress and others, have appeared on Newsmax, raising questions about the company and its voting software, citing legal documents or reports already posted on Smartmatic,” Newsmax added in its statement. “Like any major media, we provide a forum for concerns and public discussion. In the past, we have welcomed Smartmatic and its representatives to counter such claims that they believe to be inaccurate and will continue to do so. ”
Smartmatic isn’t the only electoral technology company that has been forced to forcefully push back against baseless conspiracy theories that target it.
In November, election security firm Scytl poured cold water on conspiracy theories on the matter that had been aired about it by right-wing media and a Republican congressman.