Nevada Republicans just nominated a Fox-promoted Big Lie candidate for U.S. Senate

Adam Laxalt’s primary campaign benefited from friendly Fox News appearances — and campaign donations from Fox Corp. executives

Republican voters in Nevada nominated former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, picking a candidate who was endorsed by Donald Trump and who played a public role in the former president’s efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election — and who has also received extensive support in his campaign, both financially and in terms of publicity, from Fox personalities.

Media Matters previously documented that multiple Fox Corp. executives, including one of CEO Lachlan Murdoch’s closest advisers, have given the maximum individual donations of $2,900 to Laxalt’s primary campaign. During the network’s coverage of Tuesday’s primary, correspondent Aishah Hasnie reported from outside Laxalt’s voting location, where she briefly spoke with the candidate as he arrived to cast his ballot.

The on-screen chyron carried a “Fox News Alert” that the “Trump-backed Laxalt” had arrived to vote, a seemingly melodramatic bit of news for a midterm primary.

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Citation From the June 14, 2022, edition of Fox News’ America Reports

Laxalt was previously one of the top public faces of the Trump campaign’s attempts to overturn the election result in Nevada with baseless claims and innuendoes of mass voter fraud. Perhaps most infamously, Laxalt and American Conservative Union chair Matt Schlapp held a series of press conferences promoting cases of alleged voter fraud, including a claim by Nevada resident Donald Hartle that someone had voted illegally under the name of his deceased wife. This turned out to be one of the few genuine instances of fraud out there — perpetrated by Hartle himself, as he later pleaded guilty to doing it.

Laxalt has kept up the political attack on election integrity since 2020, as The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent has also documented. Laxalt has already stated his intention to get a team ready to contest the voting process in this year’s election in November, even if his campaign has to spend less time and resources on traditional voter outreach as a result. He has also simultaneously insisted that voting in the state’s Republican-leaning rural counties is “legitimate,” while claiming the state’s main population center of Clark County has “major problems.” (As a further sign of how deeply the Big Lie has permeated Republican politics, Laxalt’s main opponent in the primary, Afghanistan War veteran Sam Brown, attacked him for not having done enough to overturn the 2020 election result.)

Laxalt appeared the weekend before the primary on Sunday Morning Futures hosted by Maria Bartiromo, a longtime conspiracy theorist who coordinated with the Trump White House in trying to overturn the 2020 election. (Bartiromo is known to become oddly tongue-tied, however, when it comes to instances of election fraud involving Republican campaigns.)

Bartiromo and Laxalt did not discuss any conspiracy theories about election fraud this time around; he instead attacked billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

Laxalt also appeared on Monday’s edition of America’s Newsroom, and co-anchor Bill Hemmer introduced him as a “Trump-endorsed candidate” and later asked him, “What do you think that endorsement does in Nevada now?”

“Look, he has received more votes than any Republican ever in the history of our state,” Laxalt replied, a talking point eerily similar to Trump’s public insistence that he could not have lost after receiving so many votes in a high-turnout election. “And so, people love our former president, and I’m honored to have his endorsement.”

At the conclusion of the interview, the program transitioned seamlessly to Fox’s coverage of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Co-anchor Dana Perino noted that the committee’s hearing that day was expected to “focus on President Trump’s claims of voter fraud and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election result.” Perino failed to note that Trump’s claims of mass voter fraud were demonstrably false and that Laxalt, who had just been on the program, had been a prominent local voice in those very efforts to overturn the election result in Nevada.

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Citation From the June 13, 2022, edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom

Laxalt also appeared on Monday night’s edition of Hannity just ahead of the primary, during which host and Republican political operative Sean Hannity reminded viewers of Laxalt’s endorsements, saying, “I’m supporting you, I’m endorsing you. I know President Trump endorsed you. Mark Levin has endorsed you, and some other people.”

Hannity was previously involved with the Trump campaign’s pushback against the election results — with text messages revealing that he had been “at war with” elements among Fox News’ on-air personalities who had acknowledged Biden’s victory. (They were distinctly in the minority at the network.) Hannity also mentioned Laxalt’s endorsement from Fox News host Mark Levin, who in turn communicated with John Eastman, the disgraced former law professor who formulated many of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, while acting in a “dual role” of promoting those efforts on the air.

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Citation From the June 13, 2022, edition of Fox News’ Hannity

Fox News has been struggling with its messaging strategy as it runs counterprogramming against the January 6 committee hearings, which have detailed both Trump’s conspiracy to steal the last national election as well as Fox’s own duplicity throughout that process. Meanwhile, the network’s favored political candidates still continue their march toward November, as foot soldiers in Trump’s strategy to steal the election next time around.