Fox Business suddenly cancels 'Lou Dobbs Tonight,' its highest-rated show
Friday night was his final broadcast, a Fox spokesperson told The Los Angeles Times. Fox representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but a source close to Dobbs confirmed that he has been benched by the network.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Dobbs "remains under contract at Fox News but he will in all likelihood not appear on the company's networks again."
Dobbs, a veteran financial news anchor, became known at Fox Business for his sycophantic pro-Trump programs.
He was one of the former president's biggest boosters on television, and Trump regularly thanked him in return.
The pro-Trump propaganda bent helped make the daily airing of "Lou Dobbs Tonight" at 5 p.m. ET (it also re-aired at 7 p.m.) the network's most-watched program - so a sudden cancellation would ordinarily make no sense at all.
But Fox is under enormous legal pressure from a pair of voting technology companies, Smartmatic and Dominion, because Dobbs and other hosts made false claims about the companies while perpetuating Trump's lies about election fraud.
Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox on Thursday. The lawsuit also named Dobbs and two other Fox hosts as defendants.
Legal experts have said the case against the conservative cable channel is strong. CNN legal analyst Ellie Honig described it as a "legitimate threat" to Fox and added, "There is real teeth to this."
The lawsuit accused Dobbs of having been "one of the primary proponents" of a "disinformation campaign" against Smartmatic.
Smartmatic's lawsuit identified multiple instances in which Dobbs' program promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 election results and said that his behavior was "contrary to his public persona" of being a "provider of factual information" to his viewers.
Not only did Dobbs allow guests to defame Smartmatic, the lawsuit said, but he "took the initiative and contributed additional falsehoods to the narrative."
A Fox spokesperson said in a statement on behalf of the network and its hosts Thursday that it was "proud" of its 2020 election coverage and said it would "vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court."
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