Leaked Email Shows Fox News Producer Sounded Alarm on Jeanine Pirro’s False Election Claims: Report
In November 2020 a Fox News producer sounded the alarm on the false election claims being made on the network, particularly calling out host Jeanine Pirro and urging she not be put back on the air, according to an internal email obtained by NPR.
NPR’s David Folkenflik first reported on the producer’s email, which appears to have been leaked from the discovery of evidence acquired by Dominion voting systems – the company suing Fox News and its parent company for $1.6 billion in damages.
Folkenflik’s article does not quote directly from the email, which the article notes was “confirmed by two people with direct knowledge of it.”
“The producer warned: Fox cannot let host Jeanine Pirro back on the air. She is pulling conspiracy theories from dark corners of the Web to justify then-President Donald Trump’s lies that the election had been stolen from him,” writes Folkenflik of the email.
Pirro has since been made a co-host on cable news’s most-watched show The Five.
NPR notes that Pirro “was far from alone” on the network in broadcasting false claims regarding the 2020 election and notes that after the network called the win for Joe Biden some viewers moved over to far-right networks loudly voicing former President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud.
“In the weeks that followed, key network stars’ embrace and validation of the Trump camp’s lies about the existence of election fraud contradicted some of their Fox colleagues’ reporting that disproved it. Top leadership passively acquiesced in the star hosts’ rhetoric, and took no meaningful steps to stop it, according to seven current and former journalists there. And the audience started to return,” Folkenflik writes.
A Fox News spokesperson argued to NPR that at the time Fox News hosts “were covering the most newsworthy story of that period — the president of the United States claiming election fraud.”
Additionally, Dan Webb, Fox News’ attorney on the Dominion lawsuit, also argued that Fox News was covering Trump’s allegations.
“I don’t know how anything could be more newsworthy than the president of the United States making the allegation, and his lawyers making the allegations in court, because that’s so fundamental,” Webb told NPR.
“The Dominion Software System has been tagged as one allegedly capable of flipping votes,” Pirro said on air on November 14th, 2020, the same day Fox News officially called the election for Biden. Pirro’s comments regarding Dominion were based on widely discredited Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell’s “findings,” noted Folkenflik.
Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo, Pirro, and former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs have all been scheduled for depositions in the Dominion lawsuit regarding their comments.
CNBC reported last week that the lawsuit has piqued the interest of first amendment activists around the country as “Dominion’s lengthy list of examples that Fox network hosts repeatedly made false claims, even after the facts came to light. Libel lawsuits are often centered around one falsehood, and media companies are broadly protected by the First Amendment.”
Fox News said of the lawsuit: “We are confident we will prevail as freedom of the press is foundational to our democracy and must be protected, in addition to the damages claims being outrageous, unsupported and not rooted in sound financial analysis, serving as nothing more than a flagrant attempt to deter our journalists from doing their jobs.”
Dominion has also filed hefty suits against One America News Network and Newsmax, while Smartmatic voting systems has filed similar lawsuits against Fox News, OAN, and Newsmax.
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