Lou Dobbs has always been one of outgoing president Donald J. Trump’s most stubborn cheerleaders, sticking with him through thick and thin. The Fox Business commentator has been on his side for the last month and a half, loudly parroting baseless conspiracy theories about voter fraud, even scolding high-up minions he feels have been insufficiently supportive. But on Friday night’s show, Dobbs did perhaps the wildest thing he’s done yet: He aired a segment that utterly debunked some of his most recent allegations about voting machines.
Dobbs’ most recent bête noir has been the Florida-based company Smartmatic, which has found him claiming, among other things, that they were in cahoots with Dominion, which has taken the brunt of the Trump team’s incoherent attacks. Friday’s segment began with what seemed like more of the same, before taking a hairpin turn.
The Dobbs segment debunking his own election fraud lies ended without any commentary from Dobbs himself. They just cut to a commercial. pic.twitter.com/eAjwNB7wIh
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 19, 2020
“There are lots of opinions about the integrity of the election, the irregularities of mail-in voting, of election voting machines and voting software,” Dobbs told viewers. “One of the companies is Smartmatic, and we reached out to one of the leading authorities on open source software for elections, Eddie Perez, for his insight and views.”
The show then cut to an interview with Perez — not done by Dobbs, mind you, but by an unseen interviewer. Perez was asked point blank about many of the Trump team’s claims — that they were altering votes, that it had connections to Dominion, that ballots were counted outside the U.S. And Perez shot them all down, one after another.
When it was over, Dobbs didn’t come back. Instead, the show cut directly to commercial, with no further commentary.
What’s more, as per Mediate, the exact same fact check video will air during shows by Maria Bartimoro and Jeanine Pirro, who have also repeated similar claims.
So what happened? Why was Lou Dobbs setting up a segment that utterly contradicted and debunked his tall tales? Mediate reports that, after numerous Fox News segments linked Smartmatic to Dominion, the former threatened legal action, demanding not only a retraction from Fox but also the even more pro-Trump OAN and Newsmax. Will this change hearts and minds, convincing the many Republicans that their questions about election security are bogus? If history is any indicator, almost certainly not.