Former News Corp. President: Fox News' Opinion Shows Aren't Meant To Be "Factual"

Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

Former News Corp. President Peter Chernin admits in a new TV special on Rupert Murdoch that some Fox News shows are not meant to be "factual."

The newest episode of Bloomberg TV's Game Changers, slated for 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, profiles News Corp. Chairman Murdoch, whose media empire includes Fox News, and interviews several former News Corp. employees. Promotional material for the program quotes Chernin as saying of Fox News:

"There's news on Fox News, which I happen to believe is very neutral and moderate and presented fairly. And then there's the talk and opinion shows which no one ever pretends are news and factual. And Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity are clearly people on the right side of the spectrum but they are always presented as such."

While Fox News has tried hard to draw a distinction between its "opinion" and "news" programming, Media Matters has noted that the line doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

From Bloomberg TV's promotional material:

Peter Chernin, former President and COO of News Corporation:

"One of the great things about Rupert, which is in a crisis, he is the coolest, calmest and if he supports you and he believes in you, he'll back you all the way to the wall. He's not a guy who sort of starts worrying about it or starts wringing his hands. If he believes in you and you're being straight with him, and you convince of the appropriateness of your decision, he's the best guy you could ever want in the foxhole with you."

[On Fox Television] "Rupert always loved setting the network schedule more than anything. He was like a kid in a candy store. And I used to joke 'cause he'd jump up and start putting squares up on the board and sort of say, how's that? And we'd go, well, that's really not that good. And he'd go, okay, okay. And then he'd move it and put something else up. Um, but Rupert jumped up at one point and took Simpsons and put it on Thursday night against The Cosby Show."

"You know, he's talking about putting this tiny little show that we're just getting started up against the number one show on television. And at first, honestly, we all thought he was crazy. We said you can't do that. We'll get killed. We'll get annihilated. And he kept saying, you know, trust me. I think it'll work. And I think his view was that we would get so much attention. First of all, he believed in the show. That move of The Simpsons against Cosby was 100 percent Rupert's idea."

"There's news on Fox News, which I happen to believe is very neutral and moderate and presented fairly. And then there's the talk and opinion shows which no one ever pretends are news and factual. And Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity are clearly people on the right side of the spectrum but they are always presented as such."

"[Murdoch] is so focused on the present that it's like, once you win it's not a time for celebration. It's like, let's get on with it. Let's start fixing it. Let's start doing it. Let's start running it."

"Rupert is justifiably very proud of what he's built. I don't think he sort of goes home at night and says, isn't it wonderful what I've achieved. I think he goes home at night and says, what am I gonna do tomorrow?"

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