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Fox News cancels show of pro-Trump host over conspiracy theories

Facing $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit over false voter fraud claims, right-wing network drops Lou Dobbs; ex-president ‘watching closely for his next move’

Lou Dobbs, left, speaks with Bill O'Reilly during taping a segment for Fox News channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," in New York, November 16, 2009.  (AP/Kathy Willens)
Lou Dobbs, left, speaks with Bill O'Reilly during taping a segment for Fox News channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," in New York, November 16, 2009. (AP/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK — Fox News has canceled the show of Lou Dobbs, a right-wing presenter with a history of airing baseless conspiracy theories and one of the most ardent supporters of former president Donald Trump among US broadcasters.

The decision on Friday came a day after Fox News and Dobbs were sued for defamation by voting technology firm Smartmatic, which is claiming $2.7 billion in losses from the network for promoting false claims that the company was involved in fraud in November’s presidential election.

“As we said in October, 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,” a Fox News spokesperson told AFP.

The cancellation of Lou Dobbs Tonight “is part of those planned changes,” the spokesperson said. “A new 5pm program will be announced in the near future.”

Dobbs’ show had the highest viewership on Fox News’ affiliate channel, averaging more than 300,000 viewers every night.

Lou Dobbs, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), on February 24, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Maryland. (AP/Alex Brandon)

After the presidential election won by Joe Biden, the presenter tirelessly relayed the accusations of massive election fraud made by the Trump camp, including claims of “corruption” and “irregularities” without any supporting evidence.

He notably invited lawyer Sidney Powell to guest on his show, a member of Donald Trump’s legal team who has falsely claimed that voting machines had flipped votes for Trump to Biden.

Workers sort and stack ballots in preparation for scanning during a recount, November. 24, 2020, in Lithonia, Georgia (AP/Ben Gray)

The right-wing presenter was also an early backer of the “birther” conspiracy theory that claimed former president Barack Obama was not born in the United States, making him ineligible for the job.

The 75-year-old had been presenting for almost four decades, including 10 years on the Lou Dobbs Tonight show.

“Lou Dobbs is and was great,” said former president Trump in a statement.

“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,” he said.

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