Fox Business abruptly canceled its highest-rated show, Lou Dobbs Tonight, just one day after voting software company Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News that named Dobbs and other Fox hosts, claiming they were part of a “disinformation campaign” against the company.
Los Angeles Times writer Stephen Battaglio broke the story and reported that even though Dobbs “remains under contract at Fox News… he will in all likelihood not appear on the company’s networks again.” Fox anchors Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro were also named in the suit.
During the Trump presidency, Dobbs was a loyal sycophant, and since November, he has frequently backed up the president’s outlandish claims that the election was “rigged” and stolen from him. According to Smartmatic’s suit, Dobbs not only interviewed guests who would spread lies about the election like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, but he also “took the initiative and contributed additional falsehoods to the narrative.” The suit also quotes Dobbs as using the words “cyber Pearl Harbor” to describe the alleged election conspiracy.
As damaging as the suit might be, the LA Times, citing “people familiar with discussions,” reported that Fox was already considering canceling Dobbs’ show before the Smartmatic lawsuit was filed.
“Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes, and plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate post-election, including on Fox Business,” the company said in a statement to the paper. “This is part of those planned changes. A new 5 p.m. program will be announced in the near future.”
Former president Donald Trump issued a statement of support for Dobbs in reaction to the news, saying, “Lou Dobbs is and was great. Nobody loves America more than Lou. He had a large and loyal following that will be watching closely for his next move, and that following includes me.”
Dominion, another voting systems company, has also filed defamation suits against Trump lawyers Giuliani and Powell, seeking $1.3 billion in damages for the lies they spread alleging election fraud.
In regards to the Smartmatic suit, a spokesperson with Fox News Media said in a Thursday statement that they are “proud” of their “2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend against this meritless lawsuit in court.”
This article has been updated.