Home News Truth Matters: Huge Fox News Settlement Raises Stakes for Christian Influencers Who...

Truth Matters: Huge Fox News Settlement Raises Stakes for Christian Influencers Who Made Similar Statements

587
SHARE

Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with permission from Ministry Watch, an independent donor advocate that profiles public charities, church and parachurch ministries. 

By Steve Rabey

Lies have consequences, as Fox News confirmed when it agreed to pay Dominion Voting Systems $787.5 million for repeatedly broadcasting election fraud falsehoods that defamed the company. Fox faces more lawsuits.

So do five Christian influencers who used their public platforms to make statements similar to the ones that cost Fox hundreds of millions of dollars.  Attempting to hold these Christian influencers accountable is  Dominion executive Eric Coomer, who was doxed, faces death threats, and repeatedly changes residences to protect his family’s safety.

MinistryWatch has confirmed that Coomer’s defamation lawsuits against 15 people and entities continue, but have been slowed by pre-trial jockeying.

“They’re ongoing,” said Steve Skarnulis, an attorney with the Colorado law firm Cain & Skarnulis. He declined to offer further information.

Coomer’s lawsuits against those he claims personally defamed him are separate from defamation lawsuits from Dominion and a second voting machine company, Smartmatic.

Here’s a look at five Christians who publicly attacked Coomer but later admitted they had no evidence for doing so.

Eric Metaxas

“It is the job of the church to speak the truth,” author, speaker and radio host Eric Metaxas told TBN. But under oath, Metaxas admitted that he doesn’t verify the truth of allegations aired on his show.

Metaxas went after Dominion’s Eric Coomer on the Nov. 24, 2020 edition of the Eric Metaxas Show, carried on Salem Broadcasting. In lengthy rants, Metaxas called Coomer “evil” and “Satanic,” comparing him to the Unabomber:

There’s some people that they’re learning or rather their brains can really, they’ll flirt with insanity and violence and it sounds like you’re dealing with somebody who at least begins to fall into that category…to have a man with this kind of power, the director of strategy and security at Dominion, huge, powerful international company. This is big news.

In his deposition, a much quieter Metaxas admitted he had conducted zero fact-checking on his  claims:

I’m kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants guy…We don’t have the budget, bandwidth or time to do anything like that. I don’t see that as my job…I am usually taking my guest at their word… If I ever thought anyone were blowing smoke, especially on an issue this important, I think I would ask them some hard questions.

“I’m not playing the role of a journalist,” Metaxas testified.

Sidney Powell

Metaxas echoed claims first aired by attorney Sidney Powell on Fox News Nov. 8, 2020.

Powell told a Christian Television Network host that she is a Christian and a woman of prayer.

“God hates deceit, and truth is the armor of God,” she said, “so I’ve always felt like as long as I stand for truth and all I want is truth, then I’m definitely wearing the armor of God.”

Powell, who is also being sued by Dominion, claimed that Coomer programmed Dominion machines to use algorithms that switched millions of votes from Trump to Biden. Like Metaxas, she testified under oath that she never sought to verify her wild claims.

The following exchange was typical of her testimony:

Attorney: Okay. What is it specifically that you contend Eric Coomer did that influenced the outcome of the election?

Powell: I don’t have a lot of specific knowledge about what Mr. Coomer personally did.

In her deposition she blamed a previously little-known Colorado political activist and conspiracy theorist named Joe Oltmann.

Joe Oltmann

Oltmann’s Nov. 9 Conservative Daily podcast wasn’t subtle: “Exposing the Treasonous Eric Coomer the ANTIFA Member and the Director of Strategy and Security at DOMINION Voting Systems.”

“Eric Coomer, you are a traitor,” he said. “We are coming for you and your s***bag company.”

Oltmann founded Colorado’s FEC United (which stands for faith, education and commerce) and leads a rightwing militia.

He claimed he listened in on Dominion meetings (“…we infiltrated their conference calls, we got information about what they were planning to do next…”) and that Dominion rigged elections in Mongolia and Venezuela.

Oltmann has not produced evidence. He skipped out on a scheduled deposition to attend an election fraud rally organized by Michael “My Pillow” Lindell, a Christian who is being sued by Dominion for $1.3 billion.

Michelle Malkin

Oltmann’s lack of evidence didn’t bother Malkin, who called Coomer “an unhinged sociopath” using the hashtag #ExposeDominion.

Malkin claims 30 years of journalism experience but didn’t check Oltmann’s wild claims before hosting him on her Nov. 13 livestream show. She said she was taking election fraud claims “from conspiracy theory to conspiracy truth!”

Her Nov. 28 “Hacking the Vote” segment was part of her short-lived “Sovereign Nation” show on the right-of-Fox network Newsmax. The segment was accompanied by a disclaimer admitting the network had “no evidence that Dr. Coomer interfered with Dominion voting machines or voting software in any way…Nor has Newsmax found any evidence that Dr. Coomer ever participated in any conversation with members of Antifa.”

This exchange was typical:

Attorney: Do you believe that you have a responsibility as a journalist to put verifiable facts out, facts that can be verified?

Malkin: I believe that I have an imperative to broadcast stories that are not being covered and to give a platform to people who are being censored for disseminating what is considered dangerous or dissident information but that is of high public interest.

Chanel Rion

Rion had no journalism training or experience before working as White House Correspondent for One America News Network. The homeschooler and graduate of Patrick Henry College did stories on “Dominion-izing the Vote” that aired Nov. 12-17.

Trump retweeted one of her claims: “REPORT: DOMINION DELETED 2.7 MILLION TRUMP VOTES NATIONWIDE.”

Rion testified that she never sought to confirm her claims.