The Tail, It Goeth Between the Legs: Newsmax Settles, Apologizes to Dominion Employee
The list of folks trying to get out of legal trouble for their accusations over the 2020 presidential elections is getting longer with Newsmax settling and apologizing for accusations made on-air.
“There are several facts that our viewers should be aware of,” Newsmax’s statement read. “Newsmax has found no evidence that Dr. Coomer interfered with Dominion voting machines or voting software in any way, nor that Dr. Coomer ever claimed to have done so. Nor has Newsmax found any evidence that Dr. Coomer ever participated in any conversation with members of ‘Antifa,’ nor that he was directly involved with any partisan political organization.”
Newsmax also noted that “many of the states whose results were contested by the Trump campaign after the November 2020 election have conducted extensive recounts and audits, and each of these states certified the results as legal and final.” The statement ended with an apology for any harm caused to Coomer and his family.
In exchange, Coomer has dropped Newsmax from his defamation lawsuit, the Associated Press reported. Representatives for Coomer did not respond immediately Saturday to requests for comment. NPR and Forbes reported that Coomer had reached a settlement with Newsmax, but his attorneys did not disclose the details.
“Newsmax doesn’t comment on litigation matters. Our statement on the website is consistent with our previous statements that we have not seen any evidence of software manipulation in the 2020 election,” Newsmax spokesman Brian Peterson said when asked for details of a settlement.
Dominion voting machine firm sues Giuliani for more than $1.3 billion
In his lawsuit, Coomer alleged that Newsmax, along with other right-wing news outlets and public figures, had “elevated Dr. Coomer into the national spotlight, invaded his privacy, threatened his security, and fundamentally defamed his reputation across this country.” Other defendants include the Trump campaign, former Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani, conservative podcast host Joseph Oltmann, conservative political commentator Michelle Malkin and the right-wing One America News.
The suit argued that the defendants in the case had been “integral” to spreading false claims about Coomer, which quickly put his and his family’s safety in jeopardy.
“As intended, Defendants’ fabrication quickly spread throughout various media sources. Within days, the hashtags #EricCoomer, #ExposeEricCoomer, and #ArrestEricCoomer were trending on social media,” the complaint stated. “The President began publishing numerous false statements to his millions of followers alleging Dominion interfered with the election; the President’s son and campaign surrogate, Eric Trump, tweeted a photo of Dr. Coomer alongside this false claim; and the President’s Campaign lawyers identified Dr. Coomer in a nationally televised press conference where they described him as a ‘vicious, vicious man’ who ‘is close to Antifa.’ ”
Dominion, whose voting machines have been at the center of some of the wildest election-related conspiracy theories, has filed several lawsuits against Trump’s lawyers and right-wing media outlets, as well as such other allies as MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. In late March, Dominion sued Fox News $1.6 billion over the network’s hosts and guests repeatedly making false claims about fraud in the 2020 election.
When threatened with legal action, a number of Trump’s media allies have apologized for perpetuating the former president’s false claims of voter fraud. The conservative magazine American Thinker retracted several pieces in January that had falsely accused the company of conspiring to steal the election from Trump. Thomas Lifson, the magazine’s editor and publisher, acknowledged those pieces had relied on “discredited sources who have peddled debunked theories” that had “no basis in fact.”
Here is Newsmax’s statement in full:
Since Election Day, various guests, attorneys, and hosts on Newsmax have offered opinions and claims about Dr. Eric Coomer, the Director of Product Strategy and Security at Dominion Voting Systems.
Newsmax would like to clarify its coverage of Dr. Coomer and note that while Newsmax initially covered claims by President Trump’s lawyers, supporters and others that Dr. Coomer played a role in manipulating Dominion voting machines, Dominion voting software, and the final vote counts in the 2020 presidential election, Newsmax subsequently found no evidence that such allegations were true. Many of the states whose results were contested by the Trump campaign after the November 2020 election have conducted extensive recounts and audits, and each of these states certified the results as legal and final.
There are several facts that our viewers should be aware of. Newsmax has found no evidence that Dr. Coomer interfered with Dominion voting machines or voting software in any way, nor that Dr. Coomer ever claimed to have done so. Nor has Newsmax found any evidence that Dr. Coomer ever participated in any conversation with members of “Antifa,” nor that he was directly involved with any partisan political organization.
On behalf of Newsmax, we would like to apologize for any harm that our reporting of the allegations against Dr. Coomer may have caused to Dr. Coomer and his family. For more on this, please go to our website at Newsmax.com, and read “Facts About Dominion, Smartmatic You Should Know.”
Hopefully he forces the same and then some out of the other clowns.Report
I kinda hope not, I want to see some big nasty judgements.Report
I’m just guessing here but I suspect this is a strategy. The poorer and smaller fish will be forced to retract and apologize repeatedly which builds momentum for really sticking the knife into the bigger fish with the deeper pockets.
The right wing media is discovering that going after public figures and organizations is not the same as going after private ones and organizations.Report
Maybe. It’s always worth keeping in mind that the purpose of civil litigation is to compensate for or correct a wrong done to the plaintiff, where merited under the law. It isn’t necessarily so great at vindicating larger principles, and it isn’t designed to be. Coomer will need to win or force settlement on the merits on each defendant, and what works with one may or may not be relevant to the claims against the others.
However, much like the complete and embarrassing evisceration of Trump’s fraud challenges, the more factual reality is forced into the right wing media ecosystem the more likely it is to eventually fracture and implode. That’s worth applauding, as is the reminder that the courts aren’t the bastions of ideology they’re often made out to be. There are some institutions where facts and evidence still matter.Report
Newsmax issued a statement and post an apology on their website. That’s pretty weak. If they’re serious about apologizing, they need to do it on air, and some large fraction of the number of times they repeated the slander.Report
I have seen reports that the apology will be read on-air multiple times in the coming week, in prime spots. The apology and other statements so far have included that the vote counts were certified as “legal and final.” It would have been nice if they were required to include the word “accurate” in there.
Meanwhile the farce in Arizona continues. Cyber Ninjas has returned the early-voting counting machines to the county, but declined to tell the county what had been done to/with the machines.Report
Were I the county, I’d treat those machines and criminal evidence and bag and tag accordingly. The fact that they are back this early does suggest Cyber Ninjas didn’t find anything, because if they had it would be advantageous to hold on to them for a big splashy press conference.Report
““As intended, Defendants’ fabrication quickly spread throughout various media sources. ”
The key words here are “As intended” because the lie has done its work effectively. At this point, a majority of Republicans believe the lie, and refuse to be persuaded otherwise, even by the same sources they accepted in the first place.
Because they want to believe it, and the lie was only ever intended to assist them in that. The lie is now a permanent litmus test in Republican Party selection system.
So American democracy is still in a very dangerous place, where the party that holds about half the power is deeply committed to its destruction.Report
Yes indeed. Newsmax apologizing in a written statement doesn’t change that. And even IF the statement is read on air, it will be dismissed by the audience who are primed to toss out any information that doesn’t fit with their narrative.
This will not end well.Report