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Newsmax issues sweeping ‘clarification’ debunking its own coverage of election misinformation

Online and on the air, the network said it ‘would like to clarify its news coverage and note it has not reported as true certain claims made about’ two election technology companies.

The conservative news channel Newsmax, as seen during a pro-Trump rally in December, has issued a clarification about its election coverage. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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The conservative news channel Newsmax joined its much larger competitor, Fox News Media, in attempting to “clarify” inaccurate comments that have been made on the network about election technology company Smartmatic.

Newsmax, which is attempting to outflank Fox News from the political right, posted a notice on its website Sunday night and then had a host read the full two-minute statement on the air Monday.

The clarification came after Smartmatic sent legal demand letters to Newsmax, Fox News Media and the much smaller One America News (OAN) demanding that they correct inaccuracies and innuendos in their coverage of the presidential election and any role Smartmatic may have played in the voting process.

As host John Tabacco conveyed to viewers, Newsmax “would like to clarify its news coverage and note it has not reported as true certain claims” made about Smartmatic as well as another election technology company, Dominion Voting Systems.

Lou Dobbs debunks his own claims of election fraud — after a legal demand from Smartmatic

Newsmax then ran through some of the claims that have been made about the company and essentially debunked them. In particular, Newsmax said the network has found “no evidence” of a relationship between Dominion and Smartmatic, as has been alleged in commentary. “No evidence has been offered that Dominion or Smartmatic used software or reprogrammed software that manipulated votes in the 2020 election,” the network said.

Newsmax also clarified that Smartmatic is a U.S. company that is “not owned by the Venezuelan government, Hugo Chávez or any foreign official or entity,” as has been alleged, and has no connection to the financier — and conservative boogeyman — George Soros.

“It is anticipated it will also air subsequently,” a Newsmax spokesperson said of the clarification.

In a similar fashion, Fox News Media shows hosted by Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro and Maria Bartiromo aired the same, short segment debunking claims made about Smartmatic throughout the weekend.

The segment, which included analysis from an outside expert, began airing after Smartmatic sent the Fox News Channel a 20-page letter on Dec. 10 demanding “a full and complete retraction of all false and defamatory statements and reports published by Fox News.”

The letter cited accusations of wrongdoing and fraud made about Smartmatic by Fox’s on-air personalities as well as comments made by guests, including Trump campaign attorneys Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

Asked for a response to Newsmax’s “clarification” and Fox’s debunking segment, an attorney representing Smartmatic, Erik Connolly, said, “We cannot comment due to potential litigation.”

Newsmax hopes conservative anger at Fox News and a few Trump tweets can boost the much smaller network

Initially, Newsmax responded to the legal demand letter by countering in a statement that the network “provides a forum for public concerns and discussion” by external guests, arguing that “Newsmax itself has never made a claim of impropriety about Smartmatic, its ownership or software.”

Although Smartmatic sent a letter demanding retraction to OAN, the network does not appear to have issued any sort of clarification to date. Requests for comment from company executive Charles Herring have not yet been returned.

Smartmatic has not decided whether it plans to take additional legal action against the three television networks.

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