As President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election have veered into embarrassing farce, many of Fox’s biggest stars have begun to hedge their support of Trump’s delusional claims of an election fraud conspiracy. Not Lou Dobbs.
Dobbs, the top-rated host on Fox Business and a fervent Trump ally, has been unwavering in his support of the president’s baseless allegations that President-elect Joe Biden and his supporters stole the election. Dobbs has declared that Trump should take “drastic action” over the vote. He’s hosted guests making unfounded claims of election fraud, and raged at Republican officials accepting the legitimate results of the election.
This makes Dobbs one of Fox’s last true holdouts denying that Biden won the election. While far-right media outlets have largely detached themselves from reality, many mainstream conservative personalities have been more subtle: raising conspiracy theories, but not fully backing them. The savvier Fox News hosts, such as Tucker Carlson, have carefully walked a line of appealing to pro-Trump audiences while claiming some veneer of independence. Dobbs, whom Fox touts as having the most watched program on business television, has instead gone all in on trying to delegitimize the election.
Dobbs started this week by giving pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell free rein to spout groundless allegations of voter fraud while presenting no credible evidence. Powell, who was abruptly kicked off Trump’s legal team last week, claimed on Monday that the election represented “the most massive and historical, egregious fraud the world has ever seen.” Meanwhile, Dobbs called on Trump to take action against “the crimes that have been committed against him and the American people.”
The next day Dobbs was at it again, suggesting that Attorney General William Barr was “compromised” and part of the “deep state” after Barr (belatedly) acknowledged there has been no proof of widespread election fraud. Dobbs attacked Barr, himself a close Trump ally, as “a liar or a fool or both” who “joined in with the radical Dems.” Dobbs continued to espouse unfounded allegations and bizarre conspiracy theories throughout the show.
“Could it be that antifa was running the election for Democrats in that room?” Dobbs asked a guest during a segment about Michigan vote tallying.
On the same episode, Dobbs interviewed Jesse Morgan, a truck driver who claimed to have witnessed massive voter fraud but who has provided dubious evidence for his allegations. Morgan previously claimed in a series of YouTube videos that his family was being haunted by ghosts and that he caught a “shadow person” on camera.
On Thursday, Dobbs is slated to host former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who this week tweeted out a call for Trump to declare martial law in order to hold a new election. In addition to his calls to suspend the Constitution, Flynn ― whom Trump pardoned last week for twice pleading guilty to lying to the FBI ― has been promoting a groundless conspiracy that China somehow rigged the election for Biden to win.
It’s been this way for weeks. Throughout November, Dobbs featured guests like Powell on his show while trying to delegitimize the election and call on Republicans to rally around Trump’s attempts to overturn the vote.
“This is an attempt to take over the country and deny this president what is rightfully his, a second term,” Dobbs said in mid-November.
Dobbs’ relentless fealty to Trump, whom he has called “arguably the greatest president in our history,” has made his show more reminiscent of programming on far-right conspiracy outlets such as One America News Network and Newsmax than most of the other marquee Fox hosts at this point. Although Fox News hosts such as Sean Hannity are still deeply in the tank for Trump, most of the network’s programming now conveys a sense of inevitability about Biden’s inauguration in January.
Even informal Trump advisers such as hosts Carlson and Laura Ingraham have started to distance themselves from the president’s most egregious falsehoods, and have at times been critical of the lack of evidence for his claims.
But thanks to Dobbs, the Trump campaign still has an immense mainstream platform to promote its wildest election conspiracies to millions of viewers.