“Where pigs have wings” —
The networks created “an alternate reality where up is down, pigs have wings.”
Dominion Voting Systems filed another round of lawsuits today, alleging that the company was defamed by conservative news channels Newsmax and One America News Network when they aired segments that claimed the 2020 US election was rigged. Dominion also filed a defamation suit against Patrick Byrne, the founder and former CEO of Overstock.com, who has peddled election-fraud conspiracy theories.
In each lawsuit, Dominion is seeking more than $1.7 billion in damages for lost profits and expenses incurred by the election-rigging claims. The new lawsuits come on top of several more filed earlier this year against other parties, including Fox News, Rudy Giuliani, and Sidney Powell, who are all defending themselves.
Dominion’s lawyers didn’t pull any punches in today’s filing.
“Newsmax helped create and cultivate an alternate reality where up is down, pigs have wings, and Dominion engaged in a colossal fraud to steal the presidency from Donald Trump by rigging the vote,” Dominion’s lawyers said. “Newsmax created an entire brand out of defaming Dominion.”
Newsmax countered by saying it had merely been reporting on claims made by public figures, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Dominion’s action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press,” the company said in a statement. Fox News made a similar argument in May when it asked a judge to dismiss Dominion’s $1.6 billion lawsuit against it.
One of Newsmax’s main competitors for the MAGA set is One America News Network, also known as OAN. The upstart conservative channel was founded in 2013 by Robert Herring and has risen to notoriety despite its relatively small audience, estimated at only 14,000 viewers per day.
Limited reach hasn’t spared the network from Dominion’s scrutiny, though. In their filing, Dominion’s lawyers wrote, “During and after the November 2020 election, OAN saw a business opportunity. Spurred by a quest for profits and viewers, OAN—a competitor to media giant Fox—engaged in a race to the bottom with Fox and other outlets such as Newsmax to spread false and manufactured stories about election fraud.” The OAN lawsuit also names network owners Charles Herring and Robert Herring and reporters Chanel Rion and Christina Bobb as defendants.
OAN is notable for a January 27 interview with one Edward Solomon, who claimed he was a mathematician who had found evidence that an algorithm had rigged the election.
Yet according to the lawsuit, Solomon was anything but a mathematician. He does not appear to have earned a degree in mathematics, bachelor’s or otherwise, and he seems to be employed as an installer for a swing set company. What’s more, in 2018, he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of “criminal sale of a controlled substance” and was incarcerated for over seven months.
The blockchain connection
Dominion’s third lawsuit singles out Patrick Byrne. Byrne is the founder of Overstock.com and served as its CEO for 20 years before resigning after having an affair with a Russian agent and posting a bizarre statement on the company’s site. Like the other lawsuits, the filing in the Byrne suit is similarly acerbic.
“After blowing up his career at Overstock by having an affair with a Russian spy, Patrick Byrne soon found himself a new pet project: promoting the false narrative that the 2020 election had been stolen,” Dominion’s lawyers wrote. “[D]espite being put on notice of the facts by Trump’s own senior advisors and Dominion itself—Byrne continues to stick to his manufactured, inherently improbable, profitable, and demonstrable lies. In televised appearances, a blog series, a book, and a film, Byrne continues pushing the election fraud myth about Dominion to this day.”
Earlier this summer, Byrne called for an overhaul of the US voting system by replacing it with a blockchain-based system. As CEO of Overstock.com, Byrne pushed for the site to accept bitcoin as a form of payment and oversaw investments into blockchain, including an angel investment in a controversial blockchain voting company called Voatz. Today, Byrne is largely bankrolling the partisan audit of the Arizona ballot count that one Republican state senator called “botched” and “irrecoverable.”