Fox Business Network has canceled the show of Lou Dobbs, the ardent Donald Trump supporter with a history of espousing misinformation who promoted baseless conspiracy theories of voting fraud after the election.
Friday evening marked the final airing of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs’ regular weeknight program. The Fox host was a major contributor to the false narrative that the election was stolen and continued espousing those views on his program even after admitting that they lacked actual proof.
“Eight weeks from the election and we still don’t have verifiable, tangible support for the crimes that everyone knows were committed,” he said on air in January.
Dobbs, 75, has hosted the program since 2011. Trump considered it must-see TV and even reportedly patched the host through during key policy meetings.
Dobbs is still considered the highest-rated host on the Fox Business Network, and he has remained under contract even though he is not expected to reappear on a new show. His show’s slot, which airs twice on weeknights, will now be filled with a show called Fox Business Tonight, which will feature Jackie DeAngelis and David Asman as hosts.
News of the cancellation came one day after Dobbs, 75, was named as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit filed by Smartmatic, an election technology company and voting machine maker, which accuses Dobbs and other Fox News anchors of promoting unfounded claims that Smartmatic was involved in a scheme to hand the presidency to Joe Biden.
Citing the fabricated reporting, Smartmatic sued to the tune of $2.7bn. The 285-page lawsuit, filed in New York state supreme court, claims the network launched a “disinformation campaign” against the company, whose voting machines were only used in Los Angeles county. Trump’s former lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell who appeared as guests on the network, were also named in the defamation suit.
Fox said the move to end Dobbs’ show had been in the works before the lawsuit.
“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 said. “This is part of those planned changes.”
On the Smartmatic lawsuit, Fox said on Thursday the network was “proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court”.
Dobbs said he had no comment on Friday.