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The week

Pro-Trump media appear to be trying to fend off lawsuits after promoting election conspiracies

Last week, Fox Business created a pre-recorded segment during the Lou Dobbs show that appeared to dispel baseless claims made by some of the network’s hosts about damaged voting machines in the November election. The segment was re-broadcast by Jeanine Pirro during the show on Sunday. And Newsmax, one of President Trump’s most popular outlets, has recently started blurring its tracks. Much to the chagrin of some of its fans, the network has put a page on its website that “clarifies” coverage of the election conspiracy theory and is broadcasting a similar segment on television.> This is very bizarre. Lou Dobbs led a segment tonight exposing his own lies about Smartmatic voting machines (after threatening a major lawsuit). It’s something https://t.co/to5dvw9Uzq pic.twitter.com/ABNefKn1ji >> – David Mack (@davidmackau) December 21, 2020Ben Smith, The New York Times media columnist and others have suggested that the shift is with legal threats from the voting machine manufacturers Smartmatic and Dominion, who accuse defamation. Fox, writes Smith, should take the threat seriously, but it can likely handle lengthy, expensive litigation, and – despite the opinions of certain hosts – the network as a whole doesn’t seem too keen on staying in Trump’s well-being, however, the lawsuits could be “existential” for smaller sales outlets like NewsMax or One America News Network that want to transform themselves into a kind of “Trump TV” in the future, writes Smith. They need large investors to do that, but legal action could put off potential buyers. It’s too early to say how the potential cases would play out, but legal experts spoke to Smith to believe they had legitimate status. Read more in the New York Times. More Stories from theweek.com Democrats wanted a tax credit for low-income families. Republicans wanted a “3 Martini Lunch” tax break. Are the worst days of the Trump presidency yet to come? Texas is deviating from national vaccination guidelines and will prioritize over 65 age groups over key workers